Sing Like an Egyptian

New kid on the PHX’s fat-lady block mounts the Verdi great

“Torture the women!”

So said the 19th-century French playwright Sardou, when asked for advice on success in the theater. Phoenix Metropolitan Opera, the upstart kid on the Valley’s fat-lady-sings block, has taken this strategy to heart. Having launched its sophomore season with Puccini’s Tosca (based on Sardou’s play), the company, which specializes in traditional mountings of operatic favorites, continues with Verdi’s 1871 Aida, another tale of a gal who’s unlucky in love but lucky in voice.

New Zealand-born soprano Marie-Adele McArthur sings the role of the titular Ethiopian slave who’s really a princess, while tenor Todd Geer portrays Radames, who loves Aida despite the inconvenient fact that he’s the Egyptian warrior who captured her father, Amonasro, in battle. Donnie Ray Albert plays Aida’s dad, while Mikhail Svetlov sings the stern and forbidding High Priest Ramfis and mezzo-soprano Grace Echauri performs Amneris, the Egyptian princess who also loves Radames and isn’t afraid to make trouble for our hapless heroine.

The show, best known for its unforgettable and seemingly endless "Triumphal March" (in Act 2, Scene II), opens Friday, January 30, at the Orpheum Theatre.

Fri., Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 1, 2 p.m., 2009
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