Born in France of Sicilian parents, Roberto Alagna has been one of the opera world’s outstanding tenors for nearly 25 years. His musical origins are also exotic; while studying accountancy he eked out a living singing pop and folk songs to his own guitar accompaniment in pizza parlours until his flukey discovery by Pavarotti led to a plane ticket to Philadelphia and a place in the final of the Pavarotti Competition there. He won the competition; aged 24 his operatic career took off unhindered by his leading-man good looks and italianate swagger. His private life was also dramatic; his first wife died of a brain tumour leaving him with a two-year old daughter. His second wife was the beautiful Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu. Such a glamorous couple was heaven sent to agents, the record company and opera managers. The marriage ended after a decade; Alagna recently married Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak.
Roberto Alagna is now a mature artist at the height of his powers commanding the stage of the Metropolitan Opera, New York for the first three months of this year. This July, he is making his first tour of Australia, to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. He will be accompanied by symphony orchestras conducted by Stefano Miceli: his associate artist will be German-based Australian soprano Siobhan Stagg. Interestingly, Alagna is being brought to Australia by Lady Southey, an arts patron and philanthropist.
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