So when English National Opera opens its 2017/18 season with a new production of Aida, it will probably be a mistake to hope for real camels, and the audience can expect, instead, to be reminded that the opera is set against a conflict, and that Europe at the time of its composition was also embroiled in the Franco-Prussian war.
The story of a captured young woman trapped in a hostile land has many contemporary resonances, like the love story of a couple from different backgrounds.
Two sopranos, the American Latonia Moore and Morenike Fadayomi, who was born in London and raised in Nigeria and Switzerland, take turns in the title role, with Gwyn Hughes Jones as Radamès, the man she loves but may not have. Two great American mezzo-sopranos, Michelle DeYoung and Dana Beth Miller, sing the role of Amneris, daughter of the King of Egypt, as sung by the great British bass Brindley Sherratt.
Director Phelim McDermott says: 'Aida is the opera to see if you want to experience all the things that opera can give.' The production will use silk very creatively, and puppets, but – almost certainly – no elephants.
Aida is sung in English, with English surtitles. Public booking opens at 10am, 24 May
|What||Aida, English National Opera|
|Nearest tube||Embankment (underground)|
28 Sep 17 – 02 Dec 17, Times vary; 16 performances
|Price||£12 - £125|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|