retold by Leontyne Price, based on the opera by Giuseppe Verdi, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
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Aida is the story of the beautiful Nubian (Ethiopian) princess who is captured by Egyptian soldiers and made a slave in the palace.

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She keeps her identity a secret, but her nobility, gentleness, and beauty shine so brightly that the Egyptian warrior, Radames falls in love with her. However, the Egyptian princess Amneris loves Radames as well.

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imageAida’s father, King Amonasro, invades Egypt to free his daughter, but is captured by Radames and his army.

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Aida and her father are determined to escape and Aida begs Radames to come with them.

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But Amneris was watching and calls the guards. 

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Radames is sentenced to be buried alive for treason.

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But Aida has hidden in the tomb. She has resolved to die with her beloved.

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The princess Amneris prays to the gods of Egypt that they forgive her and grant rest to Radames.

I have quite a few books by Leo and Diane Dillon- one of which, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” you can see here. The illustrations were done in acrylics, on acetate and marbleized paper. The metal frame was created by their son, Lee Dillon.
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The Dillons are primarily famous for their sci-fi/fantasy covers, which are spectacular. They also often portrayed black/african looking people in their art, which is a rarity on book covers, even when the characters are specifically written as darker skinned (such as in Le Guin’s Earthsea books). -Note, an illustrator is usually given the briefest synopsis to work with, or something even worse like, “a young woman in a futuristic setting.”
But, the Dillons initially flourished during a time when there was an interest in African culture and black beauty, which enabled their work to break out of the common stereotypes of sci-fi/fantasy art. I’d like to do a post soon on Afro-futurism, which is one of my favorite genres, where I go into this in a little more depth.
In the meantime, please enjoy the Dillons magnificent art.

And, the story was retold by the famous soprano, Leontyne Price. Here is a video of her, singing “O Patria Mia” from Aida~

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