In Aida there are two father-daughter combos. The obvious one is Aida and her warrior-king father Amonasro. The other pair is the Pharaoh and his rebellious teen-age daughter Amneris. The Pharaoh is a minor character and not a whole lot goes on between him and his daughter. But the third act encounter between the Ethiopian royals is one of Verdi’s most affecting depiction of the dynamics between a father and daughter.

Amonasro wants his daughter to get her lover, Radames, the Egyptian general to disclose his army’s line of march against the Ethiopians. Understandably, Aida is reluctant to follow her father’s wish. He gets violently angry with her forcing her to comply. Then the music moves far beyond the words in an expression of parental tenderness unsurpassed on the lyric stage. This is Verdi at the zenith of his powers – at a stage in his career where, as Benjamin Britten remarked, he seems to have discovered the secret of perfection.

This performance was recorded at the Met in 1953. It feature two of the greatest singers of that era – Zinka Milanov and George London.

Ciel, mio padre Milanov London 1953