|Anna Netrebko will be Aida. Courtesy DW.|
New York-based Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat is known for her photography, video installations and films. Her work has largely dealt with women's issues in Iran, exploring taboos and touching on gender and cultural conflicts.
At this year's Salzburg Festival, she is the stage director for a new production of Verdi's opera "Aida" starring Russian soprano Anna Netrebko. The 19th-century work tells the story of a Nubian princess captured and enslaved by the ancient Egyptians. Radamès, a military commander, finds himself forced to choose between his love for Aida and his loyalty to the powerful Pharaoh.
DW spoke with Neshat ahead of the premiere of "Aida," conducted by Riccardo Muti, on August 8.
DW: Ms. Neshat, how would you describe your interpretation of "Aida?" How do you see the opera?
I have the feeling that there is a lot to interpret with "Aida," both from a Western and non-Western perspective. I know that many Middle Eastern critics have complained about how "Aida" exoticizes Egypt and portrays it as a barbaric society.