Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Let me begin with the following disclaimers: I am neither Italian, an opera buff, nor an Italian opera buff.

(I'm also not a doctor, nor do I play one on television or in an opera, though I have played one in the buff on occasion.)

Ok. That being said, this story about the Italian tenor -- Roberto Alagna, the "next Pavarotti" -- who stormed off the stage after being booed mid-performance at Milan's famous LaScala opera house, is more juicy than a rubanesque soprano. Check out some o' these nuggets from Reuters' coverage:
* "The incident, a first in the 230-year history of La Scala, forced a costumeless substitute to step in and carry on singing as some in the audience shouted 'Shame on you!' Organizers later apologized to the public."

* A spokesman at La Scala told reporters that "a professional can only leave at the end of the performance or in case of serious accident. He left intentionally and therefore he broke his contract with the theater and the audience," and La Scala's artistic director Stephane Lissner said Alagna's behavior had provoked "a definitive split between the artist and the public that La Scala has no way of fixing." Instead, La Scala will not permit him to perform again.

* Alagna, in turn, said he had told La Scala he was ready to return to the show but the opera house "sent me a letter saying that the contract is annulled and that they are not going to pay my expenses. So I went to my lawyer today and we are going to sue them. I have been here for a month and I have worked very hard. This sanction is just too much."

* Alagna defended his bizarre decision to leave the stage by explaining, "They are treating me like a monster, but I have not committed a crime, I've done nothing wrong. I went there to sing, to give the audience joy and pleasure. But what was I supposed to do when some people started booing? What if they had thrown stones at me or some crazy person had attacked me? La Scala should have protected me, the show should have been suspended. Instead they carried on as if nothing had happened. After all, John Lennon ended up being killed."

I know the word Diva originated in the world of opera, describing the egoism of the leading lady, usually the soprano. So does Prima Donna, or "first lady," for the same reason. But is there an analogous word for a male opera singer with a similar set of melodramatic traits, affectations, imaginary grievences, and overblown sense of self-importance? Perhaps Alagna will soon be such a word.

And . . . straight from the mouth of the 21st Century's first true Alagna, speaking of La Scala's criticism that he doesn't properly respect the opera-viewing public:
* "They are the ones lacking respect toward the public if they don't let me go back. I have another five performances to do, and the audience is waiting for me."
Ohhhh, I'm gonna have to agree with him on that last point! They're waiting for him, all right. My heartfelt advice to the folks at La Scala: Let him go on again.



Blogger George said...

Wow. Based on the lack of comments, I guess no one else in your neighborhood is Italian, an opera buff, or an Italian opera buff.

Or maybe we're all a bit frightened by that image of you playing doctor in the buff.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I guess no one else in your neighborhood is Italian, an opera buff, or an Italian opera buff.

I know, George. Buncha philistines.

Or maybe we're all a bit frightened by that image of you playing doctor in the buff.

Yeah, could be that too.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Comandante AgĂ­ said...

Too much drama to be contained in one story! My dad is an opera fanatic - I'm going to send him this. I myself cannot stand this music.

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Too much drama to be contained in one story!

I know. What's next? They boo their World Cup champions? Then the goalie refuses to play during penalty kicks?

5:50 AM  
Blogger Ed in Westchester said...

So, he walks off the stage for being booed.
Good thing the Knicks don't like Opera.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Good thing the Knicks don't like Opera.

This Alagna guy & Isiah actually quite a bit in common. Delusions of grandeur, tone-deafness (pun intended & not), a knack for destroying famous institutions . . .

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

The word for a male diva. Hmmm. Devo?

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

The word for a male diva. Hmmm. Devo?

There's logic at work there, but I'm concerned by the possible contradiction with the lyrics:

Are we not men? We are Devo

So maybe a Devo is not a man. Perhaps a Divo? Especially fun to mix up the "E" and "I" with Evel, not "Evil" Knievel back in the news.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Ed in Westchester said...

Evel is still taking risks with his life. Now he is suing a rapper. If it were me, I'd let it slide.
(damn, I should have used that one in the weekly observations)

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

That's what I'm here for, Ed. Just try out your material here. If it flies, take it away and make your millions elsewhere.

I can take it, goddamn!

3:17 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home