The Italian Almanac

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Roberto Alagna

Italian News / Music - December 12

Famous tenor Roberto Alagna, who quit La Scala on Sunday night after being booed by the public, said that he would be back singing at the Milan opera house later this week. In an operatic twist, Alagna said at a press conference that he would show up on Thursday to resume the lead role of Radames in director Franco Zeffirelli's lavish production of Verdi's Aida.

Alagna marched off stage minutes into the opening of his second performance as Radames after his first aria met with a chorus of boos and whistles from the back seats of the opera house. Stunned Hungarian mezzo Ildiko Komlosi in the role of the Pharaoh's daughter Amneris was left to sing a duet "on her own", as she later put it. Understudy Antonello Palombi then leapt in to replace Alagna, singing the rest of the opera in a pair of jeans and a black shirt.

La Scala's artistic director Stephane Lissner said the opera house was considering legal action and that Italian tenor Walter Fraccaro would replace him. Lissner said the incident with Alagna was "very regretful" and that the tenor had shown an "evident lack of respect for the public and the opera house". But he also appeared to criticise the hecklers, saying that "I always maintain that the artist should be at the centre of the project and we are here to support them and guarantee the best conditions for carrying out their job".