Aida by Constellation Theatre

Music by Elton John, Lyrics by Tim Rice

Book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang

Directed by Michael J. Bobbitt

Based on the opera by Giuseppe Verdi, this epic spectacular by glam music genius Elton John chronicles a star-crossed love affair between Aida, a Nubian princess kidnapped from her country, and Radames, an Egyptian captain who enslaved her people. As their forbidden love blossoms, Aida must choose between her heart’s desire and her royal responsibility to lead her people to freedom. Constellation Theater has won hearts, minds, and not just a few coveted Helen Hayes awards its gem-like work making musicals and epic theater in miniature scale but no less powerful.

Per the review by John Stoltenberg in DCMetro Arts: “What makes Constellation’s show soar is its opulence of talent. Up close in small at Source, performed with artistry and affinity, it just couldn’t feel any better.”

Please contribute your own thoughts. Here are some questions to ponder and comment on:

1. For you, what important themes of the work were explored? Is it a personal or political story? What drove the development of the story?
2. How does the work help you better understand themes and intent of the original “Aida” by Verdi?
3. How does the work show the arc of character development. What evidence of this development did you see? Did the characters as performed/developed convince you?
4. How did the music move the story along?
5. How did the set design and lighting work in this space? Were there any details that you particularly enjoyed?
6. What aspects detracted from the story? Was your experience of the show compelling?


3 comments on “Aida by Constellation Theatre”

  1. Marianne Soponis

    What a wonderful evening, with fabulous music and a terrific cast giving absorbing performances! The costuming was creative and appropriate, even the shoes! The story held me close, right to the end….thank you for this experience!

  2. Robert Darling

    The Aida surprised and pleased. Surely it is the most beautifully designed production seen at Source Theater, the space seemed expanded, yet focused, grand yet intimate. The lighting and the lighting effects were excellent. The performances convinced particularly Aida and Radames. Amnesia seemed a bit weak in the beginning and her arc of development seemed abrupt at the end.

    There is a tension in the Verdi work balanced between the three characters, and the love interest is from and center from the very beginning. The tension in this version seems to veer from the love triangle and the political situation which at times seems the principle focus, particularly weighing heavily upon Aida. It seemed the concern of the writers as well, the enslaved Nubians and the Egyptians and their need to conquer the neighbors, plunder them and move on to another conquest. A viable contemporary concern certainly, moving the work however into another genre from Verdi’s simpler story, despite all the operatic grand splendor.

  3. Susan

    I enjoyed many aspects of this show: interesting music, very strong singers, fantastic costumes, making the most of limited stage area. The themes are age-old: love, hate, intrigue, revenge, politics, redemption. A wonderful way to perhaps introduce someone to opera after they see this version. The songs did seem well-placed to expand the narrative and move the story along.
    On the flip side, I think this show is “too big” for a small venue. For me, it felt crowded – and way too loud. The acoustics are not really amenable to high volume. Orchestra volume made it difficult to follow all the lyrics. (I would have benefitted from actually reading some of the lyrics ahead of time; maybe I should have looked into that myself.)

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