The latest in an acclaimed series of ground- breaking ‘concert stagings’ of large-scale operas came to the Philharmonic Hall.

More please.

A packed Phil audience welcomed Opera North’s pared down but very stirring and powerful version of Verdi’s majestic Aida.

Last year the country’s top movers and shakers in the opera world promised a united approach to bringing performances to Liverpool. Opera North have been as good as their word.

This epic four act tale of emotional and political struggles in ancient Egypt and Ethiopia sung in Italian with English subtitles is set in a stark war-torn Middle East with characters in modern costume.

A simple glass table and iron door frame become focal points as does a ship’s sail eerily hanging high above the stage becoming a projection screen for striking imagery.

The Opera North creatives behind the concert staging of Turandot have triumphed again.

Theatre director Annabel Arden, designer Joanna Parker and leading conductor Sir Richard Armstrong.

They have taken storytelling to bold new heights with this radical production. There’s so much else to look at and hear in two hours and forty five minutes - itself a major accomplishment.

It is the classic story of two countries at war preformed by a host of international stars:

Aida (Colombian soprano Alexander Zabala) secretly loves an enemy general, Radames (Mexican tenor Rafael Rojas).

The feeling from the ill-fated characters is heart-wrenchingly mutual.This is international conflict is mirrored in the intense relationships and pleas for peace.

The doomed lovers provide two of Verdi’s greatest arias in Celeste Aida and O Patria Mia.

Betrayal and loyalty make for compelling bedfellows themes that ooze passion as shown here by Amneris (Alessandra Volpe) - Aida’s rival for the love of Radamès.

Director Annabel puts the singers in the same space as the audience, and she succeeds in ensuring the orchestra becomes the ‘landscape’ of the piece.

I am still savouring the magic of two harps in ethereal harmony.

A ‘must see’ and ‘must hear’ production.

Four stars - An Awesome Aida

It will be on tour at Leeds Town Hall (May 30); Bridgewater Hall, Manchester (June 4); Hull City Hall (june 7) and Birmingham Symphony Hall (June 11).

For more information visit

or call the box office on 0113 223 3600.