WATCH: AF Fellow Mervyn Millar creates puppet to play lead in Aida, at Opera de Paris

Mervyn Millar, our Arts Foundation Fellow in Puppetry (2010), has created the lead character for Opera de Paris’ production of Aida, designed in collaboration with Virginia Chihota!⁠

Live Streamed: Thurs 18 Feb at 1830. WATCH IN FULL HERE.

First performed at the Cairo Opera in 1871, Aida draws us into the fantasy of a reconstructed Antiquity. At the heart of the plot, an impossible choice between love and patriotic duty: A captive Ethiopian princess and an Egyptian soldier betray their people, defy a powerful rival and unite until death. Marked by the contrast between a theatrical extravaganza and the transition towards a more intimate, personal drama, Verdi’s score manages to distinguish the inner angst of its protagonists from the imposing historical setting. The work brings together several themes dear to the composer: nostalgia for a lost homeland, deliverance through death, the contrast between a dispiriting present and an idealized elsewhere, the stifling reach of religious and political power, the regulating factors in a world intentionally littered with pitfalls.⁠

For her Paris Opera debut, Dutch director Lotte de Beer has chosen to cast a critical eye on the European portrayal of colonised peoples, encouraging us to rethink our relationship with aesthetic productions of the past and present.