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AIDA - SYNOPSIS

 


Act I

In the Egyptian wing of a modern museum, a man and a woman touring the exhibit catch each other's eyes. A statue of Amneris, a female Pharaoh, comes to life ("Every Story is a Love Story"). Amneris transports us to ancient Egypt, where Radames, captain of the Egyptian army, is returning from an expedition through the land of Nubia, Egypt's long-time enemy ("Fortune Favors the Brave"). When his soldiers capture a group of Nubian women, he finds himself captivated by the fierce and majestic Aida, the only woman who makes any attempt to resist ("The Past is Another Land"). After arriving in Egypt, Aida is saved from death in the copper mines by Radames, who sends her as a handmaiden to his betrothed, Princess Amneris. Radames' father, Chief Minister Zoser, greets his son with news that the Pharaoh is dying, and Radames must prepare to become the next ruler of Egypt ("Another Pyramid"). Unbeknownst to Radames, his father is poisoning the Pharaoh in order to accelerate Radames' ascension to the throne.

Radames' Nubian servant, Mereb, is a young man who has learned the tricks of survival in Egypt. While delivering Aida to the princess, Mereb recognizes her as the daughter of the Nubian king under whom he'd served during his days in Nubia. She commands him to keep her identity a secret, lest the Egyptians kill her ("How I Know You"). Presented to Amneris, Aida is liked immediately, and she perceives that the Princess' love of fashion only serves as a mask of her insecurities ("My Strongest Suit"). At a banquet Amneris and Radames learn from the Pharaoh that they are to marry in seven days, leaving the captain distraught that his days as an explorer have ended ("Fortune Favors the Brave (Reprise)"*). Together, he and Aida share their dreams and regrets ("Enchantment Passing Through").

Later that night, Amneris worries about her father's illness, and finds in Aida someone who understands and encourages her ("My Strongest Suit (Reprise)"). Bursting into his fianc閑's chamber, Radames steals a moment with Aida to share his growing attraction to her. Aida is taken by Mereb to the Nubian camp, where she submits to her people's pleas to lead them ("Dance of the Robe"). When she implores Radames to help the Nubians, he opens his heart by giving his possessions to them ("Not Me") and declaring his love for her ("Elaborate Lives"). Unable to fight her feelings any longer, she falls into his embrace. Their bliss is interrupted by news that Radames' armies have captured Amonasro, king of Nubia and Aida's father. Unable to comfort her, Radames leaves Aida in distress. Rallying her people, Aida assures them that Nubia will never die ("The Gods Love Nubia").

Act II

Aida, Amneris, and Radames are entangled in conflicted loyalties and emotions ("A Step Too Far"), Aida and Mereb bribe their way into Amonasro's prison cell, where she's reunited with her father. Mereb hatches a plan to escape with the king during the commotion of Amneris' wedding. To save her father and her nation, Aida must betray the man she loves ("Easy as Life"). Meanwhile, Zoser discovers Radames' affair and warns his son that it could cost him the throne, but Radames no longer shares his father's ambitions ("Like Father, Like Son"). After an emotional bout with his son, Zoser orders his men to find Aida and kill her.

At the Nubian camp, Aida receives a written apology from Radames for the thoughtless way he acted upon hearing of Amonasro's capture ("Radames' Letter"). When Egyptian soldiers arrive seeking Aida, another Nubian, Nehebka, sacrifices herself so that the princess can live. Now even more determined to leave Radames forever, Aida goes to say good-bye to him over Mereb's objections ("How I Know You (Reprise)"). Radames informs Aida that he's calling off the wedding. Aida knows that this would ruin her father's escape and tells him he must go through with it ("Written in the Stars"). Radames agrees, on condition that she escape to freedom on a boat he will provide. The heartbroken lovers part, but Amneris has overheard their entire conversation and tries to face the fact that her upcoming marriage is a sham ("I Know the Truth").

News of Amonasro's escape disrupts Amneris' wedding. Radames learns the truth of Aida's identity when he arrives at the docks just as she's about to board his boat with her father. In the chaos, Zoser slays Mereb and Radames makes possible Amonasro's escape. Then he and Aida are arrested for treason. At the ensuing trial, Pharaoh sentences both Aida and Radames to be buried alive. Amneris reprises her role as future Pharaoh by convincing her father to let the lovers die in the same tomb, an act of mercy for two people she has come to love. Facing death, Aida looks to Radames for strength ("Elaborate Lives (Reprise)"). As they are slowly deprived of light and air ("Enchantment Passing Through (Reprise)"), Radames swears he will search through a hundred lifetimes to find her again.

Back in the contemporary museum, the spirit of Amneris watches as the modern man and woman are strangely drawn to each other. They are the reincarnations of Aida and Radames, finding in each other a new beginning ("Every Story is a Love Story (Reprise)").

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