An international cast of opera luminaries will join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus for a concert version of Verdi’s Aida, conducted by Riccardo Muti next season.

Appearing with previously announced Bulgarian soprano Krassimira Stoyanova will be Georgian mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili as Amneris, Italian tenor Francesco Meli as Radamès, Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov as Ramfis, American bass-baritone Eric Owens as the King, Bulgarian baritone Kiril Manolov as Amonasro and American tenor Issachah Savage as the Messenger in the concert performances June 21, 23 and 25, 2019, at Symphony Center. CSC sopranos Kimberly Gunderson and Tasha Koontz will alternate in the role of the Priestess. Duain Wolfe will prepare the Chicago Symphony Chorus.

Aida will be the final program in Muti’s June 2019 CSO residency as well as the final subscription program of the 2018-19 season.

These performances will mark the fourth complete Verdi opera presented by the CSO and led by Muti, regarded as today’s pre-eminent interpreter of the composer’s music. In previous sessions, Muti conducted the CSO and Chorus and renowned soloists in concert performances of Verdi’s Otello (2011), Macbeth (2013) and Falstaff (2016). Rachvelishvili, Manolov and Savage will be making their CSO debuts in Aida. 

“The greatness of Aida lies in the intimacy of the many scenes often dominated by a single character, or two or three, who converse and collide as in the crucial Aida/Amneris relationship between two cultures, religions [and] different races,” Muti said in an interview last summer when he conducted Aida at the Salzburg Festival. “Verdi always touches on current topics concerning the past, the present and the future.”

Stoyanova, who previously performed with Muti and the CSO in Verdi’s Requiem and Otello, won acclaim for her 2017 performances as Aida at the Metropolitan Opera. At Salzburg last summer, Meli also sang Radamès under Muti, and last appeared with the CSO in Macbeth. Meli was hailed as the Duke of Mantua in the Royal Opera’s production of Rigoletto this season. Rachvelishvili triumphed as Azucena in the Met production of Verdi’s Il trovatore this season.

At the Ravenna Festival, Manolov performed the title role of Falstaff with Muti and also in critically acclaimed productions of Verdi’s Falstaff at Deutsche Oper Berlin. Abdrazakov previously appeared with Muti and the CSO in Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti (also released on CSO Resound) and in performances of Verdi’s Requiem.  Owens has performed with Muti and the CSO on multiple occasions, including the 2011 performances of Verdi’s Otello. Savage won praise for his performances in the Met’s 2015 production of Verdi’s Ernani, Verdi’s Requiem with the Detroit Symphony and Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2017 production of Wagner’s Die Walküre.

Tickets for Aida are currently available to subscribers. After Aug. 10, to single ticket buyers at, via phone at 312-294-3000, or in person at the Symphony Center box office, 220 S. Michigan.

TOP: Krassimira Stoyanova (from left), Francesco Meli and Anita Rachvelishvili are among the soloists in the CSO’s Aida next season.