It’s unfortunate that at 51, French tenor Roberto Alagna is probably best remembered for walking off after being booed by the La Scala claque, all captured on YouTube. And then there were tempestuous years with second wife Angela Gheorghiu, which prompted the nickname “the Ceausescus” and for Jonathan Miller to dub them the Bonnie and Clyde of opera. But there have been triumphs as well.
From his earliest days, listening to his Sicilian dad singing Italian songs on building sites around Paris, and cathartic moments when he saw Mario Lanza in The Great Carusoand later met Luciano Pavarotti at a record signing, eventually auditioning for him, Alagna’s life has resembled the synopsis of an operatic potboiler.
Hence the title of his latest album, My Life Is An Opera, which comes with the most excruciating liner notes I have read for a while and on which he forsakes his earlier crossover hits for some mainly bel cantoand verismoarias. In among them he includes a couple of surprises – Ernest Reyer’s Esprits, gardiens des ces lieux...