Aida is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni commissioned by Isma'il Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, to celebrate the opening of the Khedivial Opera House.
The premiere was delayed because of the Siege of Paris (1870–71), during the Franco-Prussian War, when the scenery and costumes were stuck in the French capital, and Verdi's Rigoletto was performed instead. Aida eventually premiered in Cairo in late 1871.
This epic tragedy is set in the Old Kingdom of Egypt. The Egyptians have captured and enslaved Aida, an Ethiopian princess. An Egyptian military commander, Radamès, struggles to choose between his love for her and his loyalty to the Pharaoh. To complicate the story further, the Pharaoh's daughter Amneris is in love with Radamès, although he does not return her feelings.
Aida has seen some of the most lavish productions of all opera with some including a cast of several hundred and a host of animals including elephants in the procession.