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Raymond Gubbay and the Royal Albert Hall present AIDA

20 October, 2011

20 October 2011
Press Release

Raymond Gubbay and the Royal Albert Hall present

• Casting announced for new production of Verdi’s operatic masterpiece at the Royal Albert Hall in February 2012

• Chiara Taigi, Claire Rutter, Catrin Aur share title role, alongside Marc Heller, Joseph Wolverton and Jonathan Stoughton

• Staged in-the-round in spectacular Ancient Egyptian setting

• From the producers of the hugely successful Madam Butterfly, which sold its 300,000th ticket this year

Hot on the heels of the huge success of the fifth revival of their smash-hit success production of Madam Butterfly in a water-filled Royal Albert Hall, Raymond Gubbay and the Royal Albert Hall today announced the cast for a brand new production of Verdi’s AIDA, with an exciting new creative team, in the Royal Albert Hall in February 2012.

This epic work explores the devastating consequences of a classic love triangle between Aida, the Ethiopian slave girl, the King’s daughter, Amneris, and Captain of the Guard, Radames. Culminating with the final entombment as the opera draws to its tragic close, this intense drama gave Verdi the perfect opportunity to compose some of his most poignant arias and powerful music.

Italian soprano Chiara Taigi will play the lead role of the slave girl Aida. Taigi has played lead roles for some of the world’s leading conductors including Riccardo Muti (Otello) and Claudio Abbado (Simon Boccanegra), and has performed at La Scala and the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome. She also appeared at the Cortona Festival under Antonio Pappano.

Sharing the role of Aida with Chiara Taigi will be English singer Claire Rutter, who has recently sung Norma and Tosca for Grange Park Opera, and the Welsh soprano Catrin Aur.

Marc Heller will play Radames opposite Chiara Taigi. Heller has appeared at major opera houses across the United States and Europe, including the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and many others in such rôles as Rodolfo, Pinkerton, Cavaradossi, Duca di Mantova, Alfredo, Riccardo, Don José and others. He originated the pivotal role of Gao Jian-li in the Shanghai workshop of Tan Dun’s opera The First Emperor.

Sharing the role of Radames with Marc Heller will be the American tenor Joseph Wolverton and Jonathan Stoughton.

AIDA received its world premiere in 1871, the same year that the Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria.

An international cast will be directed by Stephen Medcalf with designs by Isabella Bywater. Andrew Greenwood will conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with lighting design by Andrew Bridge and sound design by Bobby Aitken. The opera will be sung in Italian, with surtitles in English.

Producer Raymond Gubbay and the Royal Albert Hall’s co-production of Madam Butterfly in 2011 sold seventy thousand tickets, with 50% of those tickets booked by people who had not been to operas at the Royal Albert Hall before. The total number of tickets sold for this show since its premiere in 1998 has now risen more than three hundred thousand.

Aida will run from Thursday 23 February to Sunday 11 March 2012. Tickets from £21.50.

Press night will be held on Thursday 23 February at 7.30pm.


1. Press contact:
Stephen Pidcock at The Corner Shop PR: 020 7494 3665 /

2. Listings information:

By Giuseppe Verdi
Directed by Stephen Medcalf
Designed by Isabella Bywater
Conducted by Andrew Greenwood

23 February – 11 March 2012

Thursday 23 February at 7.30pm
Friday 24 February at 7.30pm
Saturday 25 February at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday 26 February at 2.30pm
Wednesday 29 February at 7.30pm
Thursday 1 March at 7.30pm
Friday 2 March at 7.30pm
Saturday 3 March at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday 4 March at 2.30pm
Tuesday 6 March at 7.30pm
Wednesday 7 March at 7.30pm
Thursday 8 March at 7.30pm
Friday 9 March at 7.30pm
Saturday 10 March at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday 11 March at 2.30pm

Box Office
Phone 020 7838 3100
Booking fees apply except to personal visitors at the Box Office.

Tickets £21.50-£67.50
Box Seats £62.00-£75.00

Groups 10 + Save 20% (Tuesday – Thursday)
Stalls £54.00 Front Circle £31.00 Rear Circle £28.50

Cast includes: Chiara Taigi, Claire Rutter, Catrin Aur, Marc Heller, Joseph Wolverton, Jonathan Stoughton, Tiziana Carraro, Liuba Solokova, Antonia Sotgiu, David Kempster, Ashley Holland, Robert Poulton, Stanislav Shvets, Robert Winslade Anderson, Daniel Lewis Williams, Andrew Greenan, Kristin Sharpin and Leonel Pinheiro

Fine dining packages are also available through the Box Office.

For corporate hospitality, please contact 020 7959 0609 or

3. Biographies:

Winner of the Abbiati Italian Opera Critics award, Stephen Medcalf is one the UK’s most prolific directors. Significant credits have included Le nozze di Figaro to launch the new Glyndebourne opera house (Haitink), Manon Lescaut and Die Zauberflöte for Teatro Regio di Parma, Pikovaya dama for Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Albert Herring and Ariadne auf Naxos for the Salzburger Landestheater (Ivor Bolton), A Village Romeo and Juliet, Carmen and Aida (Lorin Maazel) for Teatro Lirico di Cagliari as well as Così fan tutte for Teatro Nacional de São Carlos (Sir John Eliot Gardiner) and subsequently revived by the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, where he also directed Handel's Ezio for the Théâtre des Champs Elysées.

His highly-acclaimed production of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s The Saint of Bleecker Street for Opéra Municipal Marseille followed on from other Menotti titles including The Medium for Opera Bergen.  He directed   Britten’s The Turn of the Screw for the Kiev Festival and Mascagni’s Il piccolo Marat and Rimsky-Korsakov’s May Night (conducted by Vladimir Jurowski) for Wexford Festival.

His production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Teatro delle Muse, Ancona has subsequently been seen at the Teatro Massimo Palermo, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari and the Theatre Festival of Thessaloniki, while in the UK his mesmerising staging of Strauss’ Capriccio for Grange Park Opera as well as Luisa Miller and Roberto Devereux for the Buxton Festival have been multi award-winners.

In addition to his new production of Carmen in Lisbon (based on his original staging for the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari), future plans include Maria di Rohan for the Buxton Festival in 2011, Eugene Onegin for Grange Park Opera in 2012 and 2013.

Isabella Bywater has designed sets and costumes for over 50 productions for Opera and Theatre in the Uk and internationally. She has has had a long collaboration with Jonathan Miller and has worked with Nicholas Hytner, Deborah Warner, Robert Carsen, Francisco Negrin and  Keith Warner among others. This is her 14th collaboration with Stephen Medcalf. 

Her opera credits  include: Nabucco, Die Entführung aus dem Serail and  La Clemenza di Tito (Opernhaus, Zurich): I Puritani (sets only, Bayericshe Staatsoper, Munich); Ermione (Santa Fe) and Onegin ( Santa Fe and Seattle); Don Pasquale (Maggio Musicale, Florence, Royal Opera House, London and Teatro Real, Madrid); Falstaff and Rosenkavalier (New National Theatre, Tokyo); Fidelio (Musikhuset, Arhuus) and Jenůfa and La Traviata (Glimmerglass, USA). Isabella has also designed: The Turn of the Screw, The Flying Dutchman, Il Trittico, La Duenna, Snegourochka, King Arthur, Madama Butterfly, Cavelleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, Figaro, L’incontro Improvviso, La Finta Giardiniera, Ezio, The Makropulos Case, The Masked Ball.

Theatre Credits include Titus Andronicus (RSC), A Midsummer Nights Dream, The Tempest, Twelfth Night and The Wind in the Willows; A Dolls House; All My Sons, School for Wives and costumes for Jack and the Beanstalk (all at Salisbury Playhouse), Of  Mice and Men (Nottingham Playhouse); Hedda Gabler (Chichester), The Cherry Orchard (Sheffield Crucible Theatre)

Future Plans La Traviata (Vancouver,) directed by Jonathan Miller and A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed Claudia Solti for the Mariinsky in St Petersburg.

Contact Us

For press enquiries, please contact:

Press Executive

Rick Burin
020 7959 0531

Marketing Executive

Ellen Morgan
020 7959 0500 Ext 3004

Senior Marketing and Press Manager

Jessica Silvester
020 7959 0510

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