(Update: As of Sunday, December 3, 2006, Alagna attended the first afternoon of general rehearsals at Teatro alla Scala for "Aida", and was reported to sing his role without further resorting to passive-aggressive tactics.)
Tenor Roberto Alagna has stepped-up his winter spirit, and as the snow begins to fall, he accordingly begins to flake-out. The rumor-machine is working overtime in Milan this evening concerning Alagna and his upcoming performance in the December 7th Aida La Prima, where he has been slated to sing Radames for, like, ever.
Tonight there is plausible evidence and much speculation that Alagna, with less than one week until show time, may cancel his engagement of the opening night of the Zeffirelli/Chailly Aida.
This afternoon at Teatro alla Scala, the traditional "meet & greet" was held to allow the entire cast and press to mingle, and everyone from Riccardo Chailly to Carlo Guelfi attended.
That is, except for...Alagna. /Horatio Caine
Teatro alla Scala remains quiet concerning the absence of Alagna, but the official reason was stated that the singer was in poor health, and needed a bit of repose. Alagna has previously reported that he suffers from sudden hypoglycemia, a.k.a "low blood sugar", which gives him sporadic fainting episodes.
But c ’mon. We know better. Alagna has like a million things going against him right now:
First of all, Alagna was miscast in a calculated attempt to lure audiences to Teatro alla Scala. With the wrong color to his voice, he just doesn't have the richness and power to satisfy the role of Radames. He is, after all, weakly following the flawless paradigm of Carlo Bergonzi and Luciano Pavarotti, two of the best interpretations of Radames ever.
Also suspect is the fact that there has been much trepidation expressed by Zeffirelli and others that the slight French shortie Alagna just doesn't have the physical presence to make believable the warrior façade that is required for Radames. Alagna is having difficulty making credible the chemistry between the towering, robust Violeta Urmana's physicality to his petite frame. To further confirm this, we just need to remember the recent admission from Violeta Urmana that lambasted Zeffirelli as extremely unhappy with the somatic contrast between the two leads. Zeffirelli had been accused by Urmana as recommending to her to drop weight before La Prima to make more believable the chemistry between the two lovers.
It also has been proven that Alagna has a very dedicated and elaborate track record of canceling prior high-profile performances, and last made news in Italy in January, 2006, when he canceled his highly-anticipated and greatly-publicized appearances in both Manon Lescaut AND La bohème at the Torino Teatro Regio.
More than Manon Lescaut, the opening of La bohème at the Torino Teatro Regio was hyped to be a grand affair, as it was the premiere of Jean Reno's operatic directorial debut. And even more heartbreaking is that Jean Reno had apparently only accepted the offer to direct the opera for the sole reason of having such a deep friendship with the French tenor. If Alagna cancels on his best friend, imagine the lack of consideration he will take into account with Zeffirelli, a man who has been apparently riding him relentlessly for the past several months of rehearsal.
Alagna and his hawt soprano wife, Angela Gheorghiu, were also the proud proprietors of a rash of cancellations at the NYC MET during the Fall 2001 season, that the erudite La Cieca had documented years ago:
"The Alagnas' canceling of their Met appearances at this moment is a very poor public relations move, but probably not much more than that. They do have a history of canceling, after all."[...]
[...]"So what I am saying is that the Alagnas’ have no very strong motivation *besides* a contract to come to New York. And anyone who has been paying attention knows that they don't always honor their contracts either at the Met or at other theaters either. So I don't see that their cancellation should be such a big surprise."
Zeffirelli was reportedly so infuriated and miffed at Alagna's absence at today's gathering, that he declared that he'd rather Alagna pull-out of the opera all-together, rather risk a half-assed production with an inadequate tenor. This is Milan, and La Prima is a big f**king deal. No word yet if the secondary tenors (Antonello Palombi and Yu Qiang Dai) will substitute for Alagna if he pu$$ies-out.