Aida Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and soloists Conducted by Zubin Mehta Mann Auditorium January 26 A concert version of an opera is, by definition, less attractive than the real thing. Especially when it comes to Verdi's Aida, which usually calls for a monumental setting. But visual aspects aside, this production at the Israel Philharmonic proved superb. Led by Zubin Mehta in his best form, it featured some excellent soloists at a level which the Israeli opera could hardly ever afford. Of the top-notch cast, two soloists decidedly stood out. Dolora Zajick made an amazing Amneris, with a huge voice that was also tender and moving when necessary. Marco Spotti made an equally impressive Ramfis, presenting a sturdy, commanding voice. Michaela Carosi (Aida), Stuart Neill (Radames) and Alberto Mastromarino (Amonasro) all had their moments throughout the evening, but they were slightly less overwhelming than their colleges. One should also commend the two choirs and the orchestra for their colorful, sonorous presentation. But my loudest kudos this time goes to Zubin Mehta, who led the entire performance by heart with great zeal and good taste. The concert form indeed proved deficient in some of the numbers (especially the dances), but on the other hand, it allowed one to focus on the music of the more expressive, personal parts.