LSM-ONLINE-LOGO2JPG.jpg (4855 bytes)

Back Issues
LSM Issues
LSV Issues
Throat Doctor
Concert Reviews
CD Critics
Books Reviews
PDF Files

About LSM
LSM News
Guest Book
Contact Us
Site Search
Web Search

The Lebrecht Weekly


Visit every week to read Norman Lebrecht's latest column. [Index]

Why Alagna walked out - he says

By Norman Lebrecht / April 11, 2007

The errant tenor Roberto Alagna has been telling BBC Radio 3 why he walked out of Aida at La Scala in December, ahead of this Saturday’s (April 14) broadcast of the opera’s incident-free premiere. Alagna quit on the second night, after being booed at the end of his great aria, Celeste Aida.

Four months later, has no regrets. It was everyone else’s fault, apparently. He blames the conductor Riccardo Chailly for not holding the right tempo and the orchestra for playing ‘so-so’. The director, Franco Zeffirelli, he says, is ‘a great artist but not a great man. After the first performance he came to me crying and said “I never heard such a beautiful Radames in my life”. He wrote that dedication in his book. Then he changed.’

‘La Scala made a lot of mistakes,’ he declares. ‘They start to boo me before I open my mouth. It was not against me, it was against the new direction at La Scala. You have a name for that in England, you call it hooligans.’

‘I left the stage because I was not well. I had hypoglycaemia. . When I have pressure I lose my sugar. I have a problem with my metabolism. It is the contrario of diabetic. Before the performance I told Chailly and (La Scala director Stephane) Lissner that if something happens I will take a glass of sugar water and I will return.

‘Tell me why I had to stay on stage? To break my voice? To be in hospital? My instinct as a singer was to protect myself. A lot of people continue to sing (after being booed), but after that they never return to La Scala. It was the same for Fleming, for Pavarotti, for Scotto. I think my gesture was fantastic. I made a real revolution for myself and my colleagues because today singers are treated as slaves.’

The performance is being released on DVD, with Alagna’s exit edited out. ‘I am very glad everybody can see this DVD,’ he proclaims ebulliently. ‘I sang Radames in a very easy way, I was the easiest I have ever sung.’

To be notified of the next Lebrecht article, please email mikevincent at scena dot org

Visit every week to read Norman Lebrecht's latest column. [Index]


(c) La Scena Musicale 2001-2006