Blues singer Shakura S'Aida (pronounced "Shack-oora Sigh-ee-da") was born in Brooklyn and raised in Switzerland before settling in Toronto. She first began singing professionally with a Toronto band called Mystique, after which she worked with the world music band Kaleefah. Simultaneously, she pursued a legitimate stage career, appearing in Canadian productions of such shows as Ain't Misbehavin', and acted on television and in films. As a singer, she provided backup vocals for Patti LaBelle, performed in a Ray Charles tribute band, and appeared on albums by Bill King and Saturday Nite Fish Fry. Her own debut solo album, Blueprint, released by UMI on February 19, 2008, was a collection of blues songs of the 1940s and ‘50s. Two years later, the German label Ruf Records released her second album, Brown Sugar…
A musically strong and visually spectacular production…In a very traditional staging, Lee brings an enormous amount of visual detail to the opera…Aida and Amneris lead with superb performances, extracting every ounce of the psychological drama of the later acts…The orchestra, under Fogliani’s direction, play with a brilliant palette of colours. (MusicWeb International)
Originally commissioned to celebrate the completion of the Suez Canal and the opening of Cairo’s new opera house, Verdi’s Egyptian epic Aida is here seen in a spectacular new staging in the Teatro Regio Torino by the Oscar-winning American film director William Friedkin, creator of such famous movies as The Exorcist and The French Connection. The cast featuring the American soprano Kristin Lewis, who exhibits “a remarkable voice, which she uses with powerful dramatic instinct” (La Stampa), and the Georgian mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili, whose Amneris “dominates the stage with her dark, rounded, irresistible voice and extraordinary stage presence” (La Gazzetta Musicale) is first-rate. All were united in praise of Noseda: “he controls everything - orchestra, singers, chorus, dancers, acrobats – with an all-encompassing overview” (La Stampa); “he knows exactly when it’s time to linger over a timbre, a colour, an expressive chord” (Corriere della Sera).
Verdi’s epic drama of ancient Egypt comes to life in the Met’s monumental production, captured here in a breathtaking Live in HD presentation. Violeta Urmana stars in the title role of the princess-turned-slave girl, opposite Johan Botha as her lover and Dolora Zajick as her jealous rival. Maestro Daniele Gatti conducts.
Early recordings of Franco Zeffirelli's 2006 production of Verdi's opera which saw Roberto Alagna's high-profile exit during the second performance. Egypt and Ethiopia are at war. Radames is appointed commander of the Egyptian forces by the King, whose daughter, Amneris, loves Radames. It is in fact Amneris' Ethiopian slave Aida whom Radames loves. Ramades wins the war against the Ethiopians, capturing Aida's father Amonasro in the process. On his return to Egypt he faces a choice between marrying Amneris or betraying his country through his love for Aida.