Photo Credit: Latonia Moore as Aida in Phelim McDermott’s production, English National Opera. Photo by Jamie Williams Courtesy of Promethean Artists

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Event Details

Mon, February 22, 2021

18:30 – 20:00

Zoom Meeting

Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida had its first performance in Cairo in 1871, 150 years ago, and, with its story of Ethiopian slaves in ancient Egypt, it has always presented complex messages about race that have shifted with changing historical contexts: from Italy at the time of the Italian wars of the 1890s and 1930s, to America in the age of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, to the current global movement of Black Lives Matter.


Discussion with:

Latonia Moore, Soprano

Kevin Short, Bass-Baritone

Mary Elizabeth Williams, Soprano



Francesco Izzo, Scientific Director of the Parma Verdi Festival; General Editor of The Works of Giuseppe Verdi, Casa Ricordi/University of Chicago Press; Professor of Music, University of Southampton

Justin Thompson, Director of Black History Month Florence; Lecturer on Drawing at NYU Florence; new media artist

Gaia Varon, Radio host and commentator for La Scala on Rai Radio3; Lecturer on Opera at NYU Florence

Larry Wolff, Professor of European History at NYU, Executive Director of the Remarque Institute; Co-Director, NYU Florence


New York University Florence and the NYU Remarque Institute

in collaboration with Black History Month Florence

Featured Biographies

Latonia Moore


American soprano from Texas, has sung the role of Aida all over the world, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in London, the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Opera Australia in Sydney, and in Zürich, Warsaw, Tokyo, Dubai, Dallas, San Diego, Pittsburgh, and Detroit.

Kevin Short


American bass-baritone from Maryland, has sung with the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Basel Opera,the Vienna Volksoper, and numerous other companies. In Aida he has sung both the role of the Egyptian Pharaoh-King and the role of the Ethiopian King Amonasr.

Mary Elizabeth Williams


American soprano from Pennsylvania, living in Milan. She has sung at La Scala, with the Welsh National Opera, and with Seattle Opera, and many other companies. Verdi is very important in her repertory, and she has sung the role of Aida in the Teatro Massimo in Palermo.