Opera to bring camels, horses and elephants to Jamsil stage

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Opera to bring camels, horses and elephants to Jamsil stage

For two days -- Sept. 18 and 20 -- Verdi’s opera “Aida” will be performed at Jamsil Olympic Stadium.
“Aida” is the quintessential outdoor opera, having been performed at Luxor, amid the great pyramids of Egypt, at the Arena di Verona, in Italy, and at gargantuan sports stadiums the world over.
It’s on a scale more massive than Puccini’s “Turandot,” with a range of characters including soldiers, dancers, slaves, prisoners of war, priests, court ministers, royal guards and commoners.
At Jamsil, the elaborate setting of large sphinxes, pyramids and exotic garb and scenery is bound to impress the audience. The elephants, camels and horses that clomp out in the triumphal processional marks the climax of the opera. This is one opera that combines all manner of extravaganza: parade, ceremony, ballet and more.
The highlight of the performance is the100-meter by 25-meter (328 by 82 feet) moving stage with a 17-meter obelisk. With electromotive equipment, the stage will move and change as the story unfolds.
All told, 1,500 human performers, along with 90 elephants, camels and horses will make an appearance, and 600 chariots will be used. The production costs are estimated at 6 billion won.
The opera’s co-producers, CnA Korea and Munwha Broadcasting System, have arranged an exclusive contract with Italy’s Parma Royal Opera House.
Eight years ago, CnA Korea sought to invite Italy’s Verona Opera House to perform “Aida” in Korea to commemorate Korea’s 50th year of independence. Due to budgetary restraints, however, the project never materialized. But with the recent success of “Turandot” the prospects for staging “Aida” look good.
Donato Lanzetti, who was at the helm of the 1987 Luxor performance, is the director. The extravaganza will be rounded out with performances by Parma Royal Opera’s orchestra and chorus, the Universal Ballet group and the chorus of the National Opera of Korea.
Tickets range from 30,000 won to 600,000 won ($25 to $500). For those who buy tickets before June 30, a 15 percent discount is applied. For more information, call (02) 1588-7890 or visit www.aida2003.co.kr. Tickets go on sale starting today.

by Lee Jang-jik
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