Since 1913 operatic performances have been given in the Arena of Verona in Summer, with more than 17.000 spectators enjoying the show every evening. Aida is in fact the most popular opera of Verona Festival, the only one performed every year.

Poster of the first performance of Aida at the Arena of Verona

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Author: Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni
Première: 24th December 1871, Cairo (Opera House)

Ethiopian princess Aida is kept as a slave at the the Egyptian court. She has fallen in love with Radames, a young Egyptian warrior who returns her feelings. Amneris, the daughter of Egypt pharaoh also loves Radames who is uneasy when she realize the feelings between Radames and Aida.
When war breaks out again between Ethiopia and Egypt Radames is appointed general. All wishes him victory, Aida too, who then realizes that she is being disloyal to her father, the king of Ethiopia and her people. She cannot see any way out of her dilemma: the necessity of choosing between her father and the man she loves.
Radames with the Egyptian army defeats the Ethiopians. The Pharaoh offers Radames the hand of Amneris in marriage and succession to the throne of Egypt.
The night before the wedding of Amneris and Radames, Aida is awaiting Radames on the banks of the river Nile where they have a secret rendezvous. Aida's father, Amonasro, asks her daughter to make Radames reveal his military plans, reminding her of the suffering of her people. Aida persuades Radames to reveal the route that the Egyptian army will take in marching on the Ethiopians. Amonasro emerges from the dark revealing himself as the king of Ethiopia. Amneris, leaving the nearby temple where she was praying, witnesses Radames involuntary betrayal. Aida and Amonasro escape while Radames is taken prisoner by the priests of the temple.
Radames is then accused of high treason. Amneris promises to save him if he will renounce Aida. But Radames is prepared to die and the priests condemn him to be entombed alive under the temple of Vulcan.
Aida slips secretly into the vault under the temple to die with her lover. As the priests call on the god, and Amneris prays for eternal peace for Radames, the lovers take their leave to life together.

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