Even though Christian Thielemann conducted a lot of Italian operas during his “journeyman years” in Italy, this production at the Semperoper is his very first Aida. He tells this stirring drama by Giuseppe Verdi at the Semperoper Dresden with a great symphonic arc and a sense of detail. No blaring, no crashing: Everything is carefully balanced and lovingly modelled. With small breakes when it’s important, and otherwise a high basic pulse, Thielemann and the luxurious Staatskapelle Dresden counter the oratorical, statuesque nature of the piece with a lot of dramatic tension. Katharina Thalbach, known for her innovative and thought-provoking productions, created a classical set for the Semperoper and hence laid all the focus on the portrayal of the characters and their relationships and on the music. The “outstanding ensemble of singers” (Deutschlandfunk). “The crowning glory of this feast of voices is provided by Francesco Meli … currently the best Radamès” (Der Merkur), Krassimira Stoyanova as Aida, who beguiles with her power as well as with piani, and Oksana Volkova as Amneris, who comes up with darkly blazing passion” (Neue Musikzeitung).