• Aida Synopsis

The Story

Audio tracks are embedded within each activity. A pronunciation guide and "Who's Who" chart can be found here.

Egypt, during the reign of the Pharaohs
ACT I: The royal palace in Memphis. Radamès, an Egyptian officer, loves Aida, the Ethiopian slave of the Egyptian princess Amneris. He doesn’t know that Aida, who returns his affections, is the daughter of the Ethiopian king. Amneris also loves Radamès.

When the high priest Ramfis warns Radamès of an impending new Ethiopian assault on Egypt, Radamès hopes to be made commander of the army: a victory would enable him to set his beloved free. Amneris realizes that Radamès is in love with her slave. When the king does appoint Radamès to lead the army, Aida finds herself torn between two loves: for Radamès and for her Ethiopian homeland. In a grand ceremony, Ramfis appoints Radamès the new commander.

ACT II: The palace at Thebes. News has arrived of Egypt’s victory over Ethiopia and Amneris is preparing for Radamès’s return. To confirm her suspicions about him and Aida, Amneris lets on that the commander has been killed. After observing her slave’s grief, Amneris tells the truth, that he is alive. Now, detecting Aida’s joyous relief, the princess knows her concern to be justified. She leaves for the victory celebration. Aida prays to her own gods. The victorious army enters in a grand parade before the king, its Ethiopian captives trailing behind. Radamès is honored above all. Aida recognizes her father, Amonasro, among the prisoners, but he signals her not to reveal his identity. Amonasro pleads mercy for the captives. Radamès, in turn, asks the Egyptian king to overturn a priestly decree that the Ethiopians be killed. To honor his commander, the king not only agrees, but offers Radamès his daughter, Amneris, as bride.

ACT III: On the banks of the Nile. Together with Ramfis, Amneris enters the Temple of Isis to prepare for her wedding. Nearby, Aida secretly awaits Radamès’s arrival, while dreaming of her homeland. Amonasro appears and asks his daughter to serve Ethiopia by convincing Radamès to reveal Egypt’s battle plans. He watches from the shadows as Aida asks Radamès about the military plans. When he reveals them, Amonasro emerges and Radamès realizes what he has done just as Ramfis and Amneris leave the temple. Amonasro and Aida escape. Radamès surrenders, acknowledging his treason.

ACT IV: The hall of judgment – A tomb below the temple. Amneris tries to convince Radamès that she can save him—if only he will accept her in marriage. Radamès refuses and is led off to judgment. Amneris is left in a state of love, fury, and pain as she hears the priests sentence Radamès to be buried alive. Sealed into his tomb, Radamès discovers Aida, who has hidden there, determined to die with him. The lovers meet their fate as Amneris remains behind atop the tomb, praying for them.