Between Castle Green’s ornate salon and the balmy summer night’s breeze, Verdi’s timeless music was gifted with an added immediacy by the exquisite work of musical director and pianist Brian Farrell. The show opened with Greg Vorst’s billowing baritone voice, commanding as the Egyptian high priest, Ramphis. Steve Grabe, wearing multiple hats on this evening, gave us Radames, with the soaring high notes of a love-struck soldier eager to conquer in both love and battle, while Erin Murphy’s mezzo-soprano voice gave life to Amneris with a fearless strength.
In the title role, Laurice Simmons Kennel captured the anguish of princess-turned-slave, heart torn between duty to her people and the love for Radames. Meanwhile, Michael Margulies’ commanding bass leant the King of Egypt a regal presence. Rising above the mighty chorus singers, Dabney Ross Jones’ soprano voice rang clear and strong as the High Priestess, invoking Phta in act three. And of course, Richard Fredricks did not disappoint as Aida’s calculating father, Amonasro. A true highlight of the evening took place through Amonasro and Aida’s father-daughter duet, between Mr. Fredricks and Ms. Simmons Kennel; an elegant vocal partnership with haunting foreshadowing of Aida’s sacrifice. Overall, all participants in this Aida gave a wonderful, well-sung gift.