Social Paradigms in Verdi's "AIDA" Analytical Essay by scribbler

Social Paradigms in Verdi's "AIDA"
Looks at Giuseppe Verdi's "AIDA" as a representation of the paradigms of race and colonialism of the 19th century.
# 152104 | 2,580 words | 9 sources | APA | 2012 | US

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This paper relates the life and works of Giuseppe Verdi and the story and composition by acts of his opera AIDA. The paper further relates the interpretations of the Egyptians and Ethiopians that indicates Verdi's race perceptions and the dehumanization typical of colonialism, which have present day issues in contemporary performances of this opera. Additionally, the paper points out that this and many other operas are not meant to be factual representations of anything historical but rather a means of entertainment. Musical scores and footnotes are included.

Table of Contents:
Giuseppe Verdi
AIDA - The Story
AIDA - The Composition
Aida Interpretations
Race and Colonialism in AIDA
Ethnic Perception
Performance Issues

From the Paper:

"Aida is typically parodied as large people screaming high notes above each other. In fact, other than a few scenes, it is quite an intimate, more chamber-music type opera. Much of the dialog and emotive scenes occur as duets or trios. Of course, the end of Act I and the Triumphal Scene in Act II are grand opera at its best. However, the emotive conversations between Amneris and Aida, Amneris and Radames and most particularly between Aida and Radames in Acts III and IV speak of Verdi as a lyrical composer. One might ask, though, how does this view fit in with Aida as an example of racial bias and colonialism? In fact, it is the very nature of the chamber music effect that brings out the juxtaposition and conflict that Verdi and the libretto place before the audience. Amneris and Radames are Egyptian - the conqueror, Aida the conquered. Each has a different type of musical flavor, and to score Amneris as a mezzo and Aida as a dramatic soprano allows the slave to musically exceed the drama and range of the princess. This is most apparent at the end of Act IV in which the lyrical tenor and soprano weave a magical theme that moves ever upward into what can only be described as the ethers while the mezzo echoes a lower ostinato theme of rueful despair."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • "Aida - Opera Library." (2005). Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.
  • Bergeron, K. (2002). "Verdi's Egyptian Spectacle: On the Colonial Subject of Aida." Cambridge Opera Journal. 14 (1-2): 149+. Cited in:
  • Exploration and Colonization. (2010). Facts on File.
  • Glessner, T. (2008). The Emerging Brave New World. Highway Press.
  • Guarracino, S. (2010). "An Ethiopian Princess' Journey." California Italian Studies.1 (1): Cited in:

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Social Paradigms in Verdi's "AIDA" (2012, December 30) Retrieved March 01, 2024, from

MLA Format

"Social Paradigms in Verdi's "AIDA"" 30 December 2012. Web. 01 March. 2024. <>