It has long been said that the first impression is always the most important. The wisdom of that axiom is clearly not lost on the folks at the Nashville Opera as they prepare to open the 2006-2007 season with a mammoth production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aïda, easilly one of the most complex and ambitious projects ever staged at TPAC.
The lavish production features one of today’s preeminent dramatic sopranos of her generation, the internationally celebrated Michéle Crider in the title role of Aïda in her Nashville debut.
"I am enjoying myself immensely," said Crider from her room at the downtown Sheraton Hotel during a recent phone interview with O&AN. "Everyone here has been so nice and supportive I am reeally looking forward to the production."
Renowned tenor Michael Hayes, who starred in the 2005 Nashville Opera production of Faust, portrays the Egyptian General Radames and acclaimed mezzo-soprano Luretta Bybee portrays the Egyptian princess Amneris. The production is directed by John Hooms and features the Nashville symphony under the direction of Maestro Tyrone Paterson.
Well known for her vast repertoir that includes the roles of Leonora both in Il Trovatore and La Forza del Destino, Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, Elvira in Ernani the title roles in Aida and Luisa Miller, Odabella in Attila and title role in Madama Butterfly among others, Michele Crider has distinguished herself by performing some of the most challenging soprano roles in many of the world’s greatest opera houses and .
"One has to decide how to approach one’s character in order to give them as many facets as possible," stated Crider, "Once one has made those decisions the rest is all in just going out and doing one’s best."
Stellar international talent aside, the Nashville Opera presentation is truly a community-wide effort requiring a cast of more than 100 performers–including 6 principle artists, the renowned 60 member Nashville Opera Chorus, a troupe of principle dancers from the Nashville Ballet, and 30 supernumeraries in non-singing roles. The famous "Triumphal March" will include a rare white camel from Missouri, andseveral exotic animals indigenous to Africa from the Nashville Zoo’s Education Department. In addition, two Nashville personalities, television anchorwomen Vicki Yates and Demetria Kalodimos will appear as Egyptian princesses.
The company will offer two performances: Thursday, October 12 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, October 14 at 8 p.m. Both performances will be in TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall located at 505 Deaderick Street. Tickets range from $17-$80. For tickets call (615) 255-ARTS or online at www.nashvilleopera.org. Aïda is sung in Italian with projected English translations.