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Photo: Camilla Winther


A thunderously beautiful Aida almost blows the roof off the opera, with Italian conducting scoop Paolo Carignani elevating the to international class, which, together with a powerful, international cast of singers, makes Annabel Arden’s well-conceived staging of Aida an impressive, five-star experience.

This evening, delivered by a convincing Anna Nechaeva in the title role, strongly flanked by Nora Sourouzian as the Egyptian king’s daughter Amneris and Hovhannes Ayvazyan as the slightly testoterone-bubbling commander Ramades.

It’s pompous, it’s riveting, it’s bone-crushing, it’s Verdi, dark and dramatic – a fuller, heavier musical experience than you might be used to from the master composer.

Brilliantly shaped by Carignani’s ever-vigilant, enthusiastic direction, and breathtakingly articulated by a band in top form.

Razor-sharp contributions from horns and percussion alternate with flowing, lyrical legatos, carried forward by beautiful, beautiful string and woodwind playing.

An evening where the orchestra invites you to take the lead role.

The intense drama, which you probably already know and don’t need me to explain, unfolds in a tragic triangle between the enslaved prisoner of war Aida and the marriageable Egyptian king’s daughter, whom Father has chosen as the prize for the nation’s savior.

Two strong women, set on a fatal collision course by their impossible love for the commander Ramades in a game with no winners. Death wins every time. That’s the way it is in opera. This time in a grim, living funeral for two. Love died, and the tears flow.

The tragedy unfolds in simple, tender love scenes full of poetry, soon in pompously equipped mass scenes, where the iconic triumphal procession (the one with the fanfares on the long, pointed Aida trumpets effectively placed on balconies right and left, sets off a victory party that goes wonderfully party-crazy, with the entire chorus in magnificent, sexy glittering costumes and violently ejaculating confetti cannons.

A dazzling performance in sweepingly beautiful choreography that almost takes the audience’s breath away and draws an uplifted mood out to the interval bar in the foyer. Wonderful!

Aida has left our museum show about ancient Egypt and moved into something that could resemble our own time – for once in an unusually successful version of this approach, which usually ends in predictable orange Guantanamo suits and M51 assault rifles.

Exceptionally well-rendered video scenography sets an updated mood of modern warfare, with flashy hi-tech war footage on giant screens in the Egyptians’ war cabinet, combined with abstract desert rock textures and plump faces blown up on two huge set pieces, with a canyon opening up between them for spectacular traffic.

It’s really quite simple – just absolutely well done.

British director Annabel Arden, who not so long ago created the tutely gorgeous Barber of Seville at Malmö Opera with flowery grand pianos floating in the air, has added an original, metallic layer of a handful of sombre shadow dancers who flock around the main characters in a kind of meta-expressionist embodiment and amplification of the characters’ inner lives.

On paper, a somewhat insistent add-on that you could get a little tired of, if it weren’t for the fact that it actually works so well.

Aida plays at the Opera until the end of April and is highly recommended for its energetic innovation and strong musical qualities. Five stars from Det Sku’ Du Se.


Den Vandrette is a cozy wine bar with a brilliant pre-theater location in the corner of Nyhavn right by the bike bridge to the Opera, diagonally opposite the playhouse.

In the cozy, well-appointed room, guests are greeted by friendly service and a small, unaffected menu with chic, shareable small dishes in today’s casual style.

Simple ingredients in uncomplicated preparations, beautifully served in an atmospheric setting with an exciting selection of wines that reflect the modern trend of natural wines.

The place is ideal as a pre-theater destination before Skuespilhuset or Operaen, and I took my seat already at 17:00 to refuel a little before the performance at 19:00. The place was quickly filled by a young audience and a nice atmosphere in pleasant acoustics. (I saw several guests in the opera afterwards).

Critical (old and grumpy) towards natural wine, as I am, after a constructive conversation with the sommelier, I was poured a more neutral-naturalistic white from Loire, which was really good, almost excellent, and went well with my three small dishes.

First, an excellent chicken liver parfait served with toasted brioche and pickled plum,

Then a super fresh ceviche of Zander with fermented chili, which gave a good buzz in the skirts of this delicious serving, which was the best of the meal.

Finally, a kind of kebab with braised pork and red cabbage that was tasty and humble enough in size for the upcoming theater trip.

The kitchen at Den Vandrette focuses on organic, biodynamic, locally produced ingredients. The place is a sympathetic acquaintance with everyday prices, where many other tempting small dishes were offered and must be explored in the near future.