Commissioned by the khedive of Egypt to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal, Aida was first performed at the Cairo Opera Theatre on the 24th of December 1871. The following year it received its Italian premiere at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Antonio Ghislanzoni’s libretto, which is set in the ancient Egypt “during the epoch of pharaonic might”, tells a tale of ill-fated love between Radamès, captain of the guards, and the Ethiopian slave Aida. Verdi set this narrative with a variety of theatrical and musical solutions that effectively illustrate the love story in all its intricate excess, resulting in unavoidable tragedy when the volatile and entangled dimension of persona! passions clashes with the power of patriotic conscience.