OMG OPERACHIC EXCLUSIVE OMG PLEASE CREDIT OPERA CHIC
ALAGNA THREATENS TO COUNTERSUE TEATRO ALLA SCALA, CITING IT AS A, “HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT”; ALSO ALLEGES THERE WAS A CONSPIRACY PLACED AGAINST HIM.
I’m back from a beautiful and thrilling night at Teatro alla Scala’s Temirkanov Benefit (a.k.a. Red Dawn at Dusk), which I’ll review tomorrow for all you Tchaikovsky/Temirkanov fans, including tales of Swan Lake, batonless-conducting, and free Salvatore Ferragamo swag.
So, let's get to the good stuff now, shall we? Okay. Game. Set. Match: Although I’ve only been in Milan for a bit, I’ve already met some very trusted and high-placed sources. Tonight, before the show, in a dark corner of the theater’s secret sub-terrain concourse (doesn’t everyone know that there’s a secret tunnel running between Teatro alla Scala and Il Duomo? Yes, yes…it was built by Toscanini to escape jealous sopranos’ husbands), I’ve been informed that Alagna has "jumped the shark", and here is why:
Alagna’s temper tantrum the other night has been followed by Teatro alla Scala’s General Manager Stéphane Lissner’s decision to simply fire Alagna from the remaining run of Aida. Word of the dismissal got back to Alagna, who is now scared absolutely s**tless that no one is playing along with his diva-tantrum.
Teatro alla Scala have “washed their hands” of Alagna, and told him now legally, he will have to deal with an extremely pissed-off Decca alone (who had already bought the entire Aida/LaScala/Zeffirelli/Alagna/Urmana/Chailly package). Decca threatens to sue Alagna, and so does Teatro alla Scala.
Alagna has fired-back, furiously back-pedaling, and is telling everyone that he intended always to return to the stage for this upcoming Thursday, December 14, 2006 performance in Aida as Radames, regardless of his storming-off-the-stage drama. The fact that Teatro alla Scala has already substituted every single upcoming performance (there are four more) with alternate tenors has apparently not resonated with Alagna.
So there is currently a huge show-down between Alagna and the Teatro alla Scala board. Alagna has stated clearly that he will show up this Thursday afternoon at the theater to take his part as Radames in the Aida that is scheduled for December 14, 2006. If management won’t allow him to sing (although Lissner has already made public his decision to fire Alagna) he will then counter-sue the theatre.
There are a few more delicious points to be gleaned:
- Alagna is arguing he shouldn’t be held accountable for leaving the stage after singing the aria, “Celeste Aida”. The reasoning? Alagna told the theater’s management that he is willing to go forward, and sue Teatro alla Scala for reasons of them promoting “a hostile work environment”. To make his case credible, he is attacking Chailly for not stopping his conducting after “Celeste Aida” to check on the singer’s health after he stormed-off the stage. He is upset at Chailly for not coming to check on him, and is blaming the conductor of negligence.
- Alagna spoke to the Teatro alla Scala management, and alleged that he is convinced that he is the victim of a huge conspiracy against him…a conspiracy to drive him off the stage during this particular run of Verdi’s Aida. Alagna claims to have received an anonymous phone call, and the anonymous person warned Alagna that he would be getting booed at Sunday night's performance. He wasn’t ready to believe it, and it was only after he saw his replacement, tenor Antonello Palombi, warming-up his voice on Sunday night that he got suspicious. Therefore, Alanga is convinced that Palombi is in on the plot, and has something to do with the hecklers who booed him on Sunday night. He goes on to attack ballet-dancer Roberto Bolle, saying that Bolle had such an insignificant role in the opera, but received the most applause.
- Curious also is that Alagna has blamed everyone for his disastrous run, except for Zeffirelli, most likely because Zeffirelli doesn’t put up with anyone’s s**t. In fact, Zeffirelli has already gone on record in a few newspapers, and has picked-apart the smattering of music-critics who dared pan his new Aida…and Zeffirelli clearly has no problem with naming names.
So there it is! Is there something in the water in Milan? Has Alagna completely lost his mind? There are also a few other yummy issues brewing...but Opera Chic has to wait to report until further confirmation the next few hours. I for one cannot wait until Thursday night's performance. I WANT FISTICUFFS!