Politiche della razza all'opera. L'Aida in Egitto come caso studio

Maria Elena Paniconi


In this article I emphasize the key-role played by the representation of a racial hierarchy in Aida by Giuseppe Verdi, showing how, in its fortunate Egyptian re-edition, this Opera is still represented as a perpetual mise en scène of a racial stereotype. After tracing the genesis of Aida I explain how, since its première in Cairo in 1871, this magnificent opera has become representative of a whole set of modern symbolic values for the Egyptian ruling élite, being able of representing their own colonial project on Sudan on the one side, and evoking  - through the clashes between Egyptians and Ethiopians -  a modern extra-European and colonial context on the other. Although I move from Said's understanding of Aida as "aesthetic of separation", I show how  the character of Aida herself escapes from the rigid color division mainly proposed in the scene by virtue of her liminal nature. The last part of my article shows some examples of a series of highly racialized scenes, thanks to a selection of photos by the Cairo Opera House Archives (1999 - 2011).

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13136/2281-4582/2015.i6.297


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