English National Opera Guides are ideal companions to the opera. They provide stimulating introductory articles together with the complete text of each opera in English and the original. Aida is, for most of us, the quintessence of Ancient Egypt but it is certainly not just for archaeologists! Michael Rose points out that it is really about patriotisman issue of burning importance to Verdi and his contemporaries. Music critic William Mann reflects that even a short look at the score reveals subtleties that repay careful listening. And Verdi's own letters show the germs of the opera grow from suggestion to creation.