An epic love story in a modern setting“Aida,” based on the Verdi opera, is a classic tale of love on a grand scale, but the musical is a truly contemporary one, with a pop rock score, rousing chorus and modern ballads.
With music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, the beloved Disney musical will begin its run in Korea next week at the LG Arts Center with an all-star cast led by pop singer Ock Joo-hyun.
Set in ancient Egypt, the epic story centers on the love between an enslaved Nubian princess, Aida, and the general Radames, her captor, who is engaged to the pharaoh’s daughter, the princess Amneris. Because of their forbidden love, Aida and the general are condemned to death.
Ultimately the two warring nations of Nubia and Egypt overcome their differences, leading to an unprecedented time of peace and prosperity, but at the cost of the star-crossed lovers. The tale transcends vast cultural differences, and in fact the show had a multicultural cast in its original version.
The musical is contemporary in its score, setting and stage effects, with elements of present-day pop culture. The red lighting shows the passion and intensity of Africa, for example, while a blue cloth across the stage represents the vibrant Nile River, where the saga takes place. The lighting is a highlight of the staging, adding dynamism to the story. The set is an almost identical replica of that used in the original Broadway production, and the main attraction of the musical is the spectacular stage effects and designs, using modern technology.
When auditions for the Korean production began in January, 560 aspiring performers showed up and were assessed by the Korean and Broadway producers, with 29 finalists chosen. They include Ms. Ock, musical actress Moon Hae-young, Bae Hae-seon, Lee Seok-jun and Seong Gi-yun, among others.
A winner of four Tony awards and a Grammy for best musical album, the score is another resounding success for the joint collaboration of Tim Rice and Elton John.
by Choi Jie-ho
“Aida” will be performed at the LG Arts Center in Gangnam starting Aug. 27 for an eight-month run. Showtimes are 8 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays. No performances on Mondays. Ticket prices range from 40,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114 or visit www.musical-aida.co.kr.