Melbourne has waited a long time for this. The re-opening of the State Theatre after more than a year in darkness. Nearly 18 months since Opera Australia’s last performance down south. Three years since the company started presenting digital productions in Sydney, beginning with this Aida. The curtain went up at last, and Melbourne finally saw what those big LED screens can do, and experience opera on an epic scale once again.

Leah Crocetto as Aida in Opera Australia's 2021 production of Aida at Arts Centre Melbourne. Leah Crocetto as Aida in Opera Australia’s 2021 production of Aidaat Arts Centre Melbourne. Photo © Jeff Busby

First performed at Cairo’s new opera house in 1871, Verdi’s Aidawas always intended to be an aural and visual spectacular. It tells of the titular Ethiopian slave who serves Egyptian princess Amneris. Both women love the Egyptian army’s leader, Radamès, but Aida has another secret: she’s the daughter of Amonasro, the Ethiopian king, who arrives in disguise among some prisoners of war. Ultimately, the conflict between Egypt and Ethiopia is merely backdrop...