The majestic beauty and historical significance of the rocky outcrop of Masada combine to make this great symbol of Jewish heroism a unique place. The site itself, an Israeli National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage site that was a runner up in the selection of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is worth travelling half way round the world to see. But add to its very real natural attractions and historical associations the fact that the site is to serve as the open-air stage for a first-class performance of Verdi's great opera Aida, and the temptation becomes overwhelming.
Overlooking the Dead Sea, the great rocky plateau stands aloof in the Judean desert, home to a complex of ancient palaces and fortifications built by King Herod. And this is the site where Aida – a tragic tale of love, jealousy and divided loyalties, and one of Verdi’s' greatest works – is to be performed as part of the Masada, Dead Sea and Jerusalem Opera Festival in June 2011. The internationally-renowned Israeli conductor Daniel Oren will conduct the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, and the production will feature such impressive names as Micaela Carosi as Aida, Marco Berti as Radames and the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, the biggest-selling solo artist in the history of classical music.
The dates to mark in your diary are June 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th. Tickets are already on sale and can be purchased as part of a seven-night tour package or a weekend deal that includes accommodation at the Dead Sea or in Jerusalem. Last year over 40,000 people saw the Masada production of Verdi's Nabucco, placing Israel firmly on the international circuit of summer opera festivals.
Aida at Masada