ACT IV Scene 1

A hall in the King's palace

The first part of the scene belongs to Amneris. Verdi helps the audience remember that she is jealous and that she loves Radames. He does this through reminiscences, melodies that return from earlier uses in the opera. The two most repeated melodies represent her jealousy and her love for Radames. Radames enters and the scoring turns dark with the use of bass clarinet and English horn prior to the judgement scene. The judgement scene begins with the music of the priests, a little later the thrice repeated musical figure of death, and then his sentencing. Amneris tried to save him, but he would not renounce Aida. An interesting aside in this scene is the fact that Amneris renounces the priests and their decision.

ACT IV Scene 2

The Temple of Vulcan and a tomb
A stage in two levels is the scene for the final moments of the opera. All three--the love triangle--are in view of the audience at the end of the opera.

Aida and Radames
"O terra addio"
Oh earth, farewell; farewell, vale of tears...
Dream of joy that vanished in grief...
Heaven is opening to us
And our wandering spirits fly
To the glow of eternal day.
Placido Domingo, Aprile Millo, Dolora Zajick

Amneris
Peace, I beseech you, peace, peace!

When Verdi was working on the last act, he wrote to his librettist, Antonio Ghislanzoni in November, 1870. "At the end I would like to eliminate the usual agony...I would like something sweet, ethereal, a very brief duet, a farewell to life...When you have revised the scene...we can occupy ourselves with what little remains to be done."


Tim Cordell: 15 October 2013