I promise I will post about Muti’s Don Pasquale later, but first I must report now on two interviews that have been published in today’s Italian press.
First, from La Stampa, “singer” Andrea Bocelli goes on the record, defending Alagna’s actions and calling him a great musician, with the headline, "Andrea Bocelli defends his friend Alanga”. Here Opera Chic translated a few choice quotes.
Question: "Pippo Baudo, who has been your mentor in Sanremo, has invited you to the Sanremo festival again this year."
Bocelli: "No, I won’t go. And anyway, Alagna will be there, and that’s enough [of a star presence for one festival]."
Question: "What do you think of Alagna leaving the stage at La Scala during Aida?"
Bocelli: "I suffer deeply when such things happen. Alagna is right. Singers are not protected anymore. The world that boos them is a very sad world. When an artist has studied, has trained, and has been green-lighted by a conductor like Chailly, they should not be afraid of anything. Maybe Alagna was sick that night. It’s just not civilized behavior to boo. But I don’t know what I would have done had I been in his shoes."
Question: "But is the right thing to do to leave the stage?"
Bocelli: "We all react in our own personal way. To leave may simply mean that you don’t feel like going on anymore. Behind what appears, there is always much more. Alagna is a great singer. In the United States, I have even bought one of his albums. I am quite positive that he did not deserve those boos."
Question:" What about the cancellation of Alagna’s following commitments for Aida?"
Bocelli: "Those cancellations stemmed from purely political issues."
Also in today's Corriere della Sera is a long interview with Franco Zeffirelli, that asks again for the director to speak about Alagna’s behavior the night of his booing at Teatro alla Scala. Here are some quotes:
Zeffirelli says, “Alagna’s coup de théâtre? It has really been a grave folly on his part. He is impossible to defend. It is useless that he blames other situations on his failure. Maria Callas once left Norma because she had a very high fever, and her voice was just not there. But she completed the Act anyway, and loggionisti were screaming things like, ‘You are a hen, and you get paid for it!’”
“Boos belong inherently to the history of musical theater, and almost all singers have been booed at least once. Even Carlo Bergonzi, one of the greatest Radames was booed. Radames is a terrible role, and it’s just not ideal for Alagna, who managed to pulled it off very well regardless. But some sort of dissent must always be accepted. What a shame, really.”
“In April in Rome, I will direct La Traviata with Alagna and his wife Angela. I have always loved them both, even now after everything.”
“In the meantime, Alagna will go to Sanremo where, after his sceneggiata [ed: Zeffirelli uses this word to describe Alagna’s poor actions at La Scala; the Italian word is a very popular, low-brow Neapolitan traditional, sentimental theater for the average working guy] at La Scala, he will really enjoy a triumph. But that is a different profession. If he wants to gain his credibility back in the world of opera, he will have to commit very seriously.”
“La Traviata could be the perfect occasion. I’m thinking of staging a very erotic La Traviata. It will be like the one that Verdi certainly imagined, but was not able to make explicit living in his historical times.”
“Violetta suffers from tuberculosis/consumption, and those who suffer from that sickness are famously over-sexed people. I would like Eros to be palpable on stage, and since I have two very beautiful singers who really love each other in real life, there is no better occasion to do it.”
Oh great. Now that I have washed my hands of the Alagnas, I can't wait for the Rome La Traviata.