Aida was initially a commissioned work for the Egyptian viceroy Ismael Pascha that was meant for the festivities on the occasion of the Sues Canal’s inauguration. The first night was held at the newly built opera house of Cairo but due to time-related delays and, above all, the adversities of the Franco-Prussian War, it had to be postponed to December 24, 1871. Giuseppe Verdi himself did not attend this event but enjoyed only in February 1872 the triumph of the European premiere at La Scala where he took 32 curtains.
The impressive scenery of the Roman quarry in St. Margarethen provides the perfect backdrop for the colourful open-air staging from 1997 that is documented on the DVD in hand. Aida was the second monumental production of the Opera Festival St. Margarethen, which since then has become one of Europe’s most important open-air festivals. Today, the festival is visited by almost 100.000 spectators per year.