Roberto Alagna (French pronunciation: [ʁɔ.bɛʁ.to a.la.ɲa]; Italian pronunciation: [roˈbɛrto aˈlaɲɲa]; born 7 June 1963) is a French tenor. He was born in Clichy-sous-Bois, Seine-Saint-Denis, France and obtained French citizenship at age 18, while also retaining his previous Italian citizenship.
Roberto Alagna in 2004
|Born||7 June 1963|
|Occupation||Opera singer (tenor)|
Florence Lancien (died 1994)
(m. 1996; div. 2013)
Aleksandra Kurzak (m. 2015)
Alagna was born outside the city of Paris in 1963 to a family of Sicilian immigrants. As a teenager, the young Alagna began busking and singing pop in Parisian cabarets, mostly for tips. Influenced primarily by the films of Mario Lanza and learning from recordings of many historic tenors, he then switched to opera, but remained largely self-taught. He was discovered by Gabriel Dussurget, the co-founder of the Aix-en-Provence Festival.
After winning the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition, an initiative backed by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, that started in Modena in 1988, Alagna made his professional debut as Alfredo Germont in La traviata with the Glyndebourne touring company. This led to many engagements throughout the smaller cities in France and Italy, mainly again as Alfredo, a role he would eventually sing over 150 times. His reputation grew and he was soon invited to sing at major theatres such as La Scala in 1990, Covent Garden in 1992 and the Metropolitan Opera as Rodolfo in 1996. His performances of Roméo in Roméo et Juliette by Charles Gounod at Covent Garden in 1994 (opposite Leontina Vaduva) catapulted him to international stardom.
Alagna opened the 2006/07 season at La Scala on 7 December 2006 in the new production of Aida by Franco Zeffirelli. During the second performance on 10 December, Alagna, whose opening performance was considered ill-at-ease, was booed and whistled from the loggione (the least expensive seats at the very back of La Scala), and he walked off the stage. The tenor's reaction to his public criticism was denounced as immature and unprofessional by La Scala management and Zeffirelli, who said, "A professional should never behave in this way. Alagna is too sensitive, it is too easy to hurt his feelings. He does not know how to act like a true star." The role of Radames was taken over successfully for the rest of the performance by his understudy Antonello Palombi, who entered on stage wearing jeans and a black shirt.
In 2007 while at the Metropolitan Opera singing the role of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Alagna replaced the indisposed tenor Rolando Villazón as Romeo in Roméo et Juliette opposite soprano Anna Netrebko for two performances in September and two performances in December. His wife had flown to New York to be with him for the September engagements, and as a result was fired from the Lyric Opera of Chicago for missing her rehearsal dates for La bohème. Alagna was also engaged by the Metropolitan Opera at the last minute to cover for the indisposed Marco Berti in a 16 October 2007 performance of Aida. After the performance, the audience gave him a standing ovation. The 15 December performance of Roméo et Juliette starring Alagna and Netrebko was broadcast by the Met into 447 theatres worldwide in high definition and seen by about 97,000 people.
Alagna was scheduled to make his debut at the Bayreuth Festival on opening day, 25 July 2018, in the title role of a new production of Richard Wagner's Lohengrin. Alagna withdrew from the festival on 29 June 2018 citing failure to learn the role in time.
In recent years, Alagna has been an advocate of restoring to prominence neglected French operas – Alfano's Cyrano de Bergerac, Massenet's Le jongleur de Notre-Dame, Lalo's Fiesque, and new works – Vladimir Cosma's Marius et Fanny and his brother David Alagna's Le dernier jour d'un condamné. He has also recorded light music with an homage album to Luis Mariano, Sicilien, and Pasión.
Alagna's first wife, Florence Lancien, died of a brain tumour in 1994; they had one daughter, Ornella, who was born in 1992. In 1996, he married Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu. The couple announced a divorce in 2009, but had reunited by 2011. However, in January 2013, the couple mutually agreed on a formal divorce. Alagna and the Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak had begun a relationship, and their daughter, Malena, was born on 29 January 2014. Alagna and Kurzak married in 2015.
Alagna has worked together on several projects with his brothers Frédérico Alagna and the stage director and composer David Alagna. The three brothers recorded an album of light music, Serenades, and worked together on the younger brother David's opera based on Hugo's Last Day of a Condemned Man. Alagna has often sung Alfano's Cyrano opposite his sister-in-law Nathalie Manfrino as Roxane.
The government of France named Alagna a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 2008.
|2001||Puccini: Tosca||Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna and Ruggero Raimondi||—||89||—||—||—|
|2002||Donizetti: Lucie de Lammermoor||Natalie Dessay, Roberto Alagna, Ludovic Tézier and Evelino Pidò||—||150||—||—||—|
|2003||Bizet: Carmen||Gheorghiu & Alagna||—||59||—||—||—|
|2005||Chante Luis Mariano||14||4||—||89||—|
|2007||Credo – Airs sacrés||56||18||—||—||—|
|2009||Le jongleur de Notre-Dame||—||198||—||—||94|
|Sicilien – Live||72||56||—||—||—|
|2010||Hommage à Luis Mariano – C'est magnifique!||53||27||—||—||—|
|Les stars du classique||—||191||—||—||—|
|Ma vie est un opéra||50||33||—||—||—|
|2016||Malèna||Yvan Cassar, London Orchestra & Roberto Alagna||—||47||—||—||—|
|2018||Puccini in Love||Roberto Alagna / Aleksandra Kurzak||160||—||—||—||—|
|2019||Caruso 1873||Roberto Alagna||—||40
- "Roberto Alagna" by Amanda E. Fuller, Encyclopædia Britannica
- R. Alagna, Je ne suis pas le fruit du hasard, Paris, Grasset, 2007, Chapter "Canonnier Alagna !", ISBN 978-2246685418.
- Clare Colvin (11 November 2012). "Roberto Alagna: I want to sing everything but there is no time". Daily Express. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- "Current Biography – Roberto Alagna". H.W. Wilson Company. 1997: 8. Cite journal requires
- "Matinee Idol". The Metropolitan Opera News. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
- Duffy, Martha; Denbigh, Dorrie (29 April 1996). "So Happy Together". Time. pp. 83–84. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
- Aix-en-Provence Historical Society: Gabriel Dussurget
- Cummings, David M. (2003). International Who's Who In Classical Music 2003. London, England: Europa Publications. p. 9. ISBN 1-85743-174-X.
- Waleson, Heidi (18 November 1995). "Alagna Slated For Tenor Stardom". Billboard. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
- Owen, Richard (12 December 2006). "Tenor who stormed off La Scala stage vows he will return". The Times. UK. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
- "Booed tenor quits La Scala's Aida". BBC News Online. 11 December 2006. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
- Deseret Morning News, 21 October 2007, page E9, Associated Press/Verena Dobnik, "Once-booed tenor wows the Met"
- "Metropolitan Opera's broadcast is a digital gift", Newport News Daily Press, 23 December 2007
- Brug, Manuel (30 June 2018). "Star-Tenor sagt "Lohengrin" ab – Text nicht gelernt". Welt (in German). Retrieved 3 July 2018.
- Fuller, Amanda E. "Alagna, Roberto, and Gheorghiu, Angela". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
- Harriet Alexander (2 July 2013). "Opera's most famous couple divorce: Angela Gheorghiu accuses Roberto Alagna of violence". Telegraph. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- Judith Hecht (20 September 2014). "Roberto Alagna: "Es ist schlecht, über jemanden zu urteilen"". Die Presse. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- Merrin Lazyan (14 February 2018). "A Powerful Elixir". wqxr blog. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
- Robert Alagna Discographie
- "Top Albums (Week 47, 2019)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
- Roberto Alagna at universalmusic.fr (French)
- Roberto Alagna on Facebook
- Roberto Alagna on IMDb
- Reviews, articles, photos and future schedules from The Opera Critic
- Discography at SonyBMG Masterworks
- Concert photos
- Metropolitan Opera, Alagna, Roberto (Tenor), performance record from MetOpera database