You'd have to be pretty bold to believe you could improve upon one of Giuseppi Verdi's works. You'd also have to sport a brass pair to change your middle name to Hercules, so it's pretty clear Elton Hercules John has the requisite boldness to rework Aida. And aided by lyricist Tim Rice, John transformed the opera into a stage-ready musical which garnered four Tonys, by the way. Verdi's plot remains mostly intact: The current pharaoh's daughter (Princess Amneris), the man who would be pharaoh (Radames) and a Nubian slave (Aida) form the sharp points of a love triangle. But the songs that tell the trio's story draw from a broad range of popular music instead of classical opera, and flashes of John's fondness for camp are evident. But Aida lends itself to spectacle, so get in on the grandness. The Muny in Forest Park (314-361-1900 or www.muny.org) presents Aida at 8:15 p.m. Monday, June 26, through Sunday, July 2. Tickets are $8 to $60.
June 26-July 2