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Aida is a four-act opera by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) with an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni.

The original text

A political drama centred around power struggles and jealousies; Aida tells the tale of an Ethiopian princess (Aida) who has been kidnapped in Egypt. She falls in love with General Radames who has been chosen to lead a war with Ethiopia, and the opera follows the conflict of Aida’s love for the General and her country. Against the backdrop of war and loyalty, emotions and loyalties are tested – leading to tragic consequences.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1933: Presented by African Consolidated Theatres at the Alhambra Theatre, conducted by William Pickerill.

1965: Presented by NAPAC Opera.

1971: Presented by CAPAB Opera.

1973: Presented by PACT Opera; presented by CAPAB Opera.

1976: Presented by NAPAC Opera.

1985: Presented by CAPAB Opera (16 March – 10 April)

1988: Presented by CAPAB Opera, with soprano Virginia Davids in the title role (13–31 August)

1991: Presented by CAPAB Opera (24 April – 13 May)

1993: Presented by CAPAB Opera (27 September – 17 October)

1999: Presented by Cape Town Opera (2–17 October)

2002: Presented by Cape Town Opera (1–17 August)

2008: Presented by Cape Town Opera (2–10 October)


'Discover Aida'. ENO.

Wayne Muller. 2018. A reception history of opera in Cape Town: Tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985–2015). Unpublished PhD thesis.

Sjoerd Alkema. 2012. "Conductors of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra, 1914-1965: a historical perspective". University of Cape Town. Unpublished PhD thesis.

Alexandra Xenia Sabina Mossolow. 2003. The career of South African soprano Nellie du Toit, born 1929. Unpublished Masters thesis. University of Stellenbosch.

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