One of the best tenor
s of the younger generation, and husband of soprano Angela Gheorghiu
. Their love story
is a boon to publicists, and an opera
with both of them must be marvellous to behold. They often perform together both live and on record, and their starring partnership
is as Alfredo
and Violetta in La Traviata
. But they also have a reputation of demanding their own way, and high-handedness.
He is of Sicilian parentage, but born in Paris, on 7th June 1963. He studied there, and in 1988 debuted on stage as Alfredo, with the Glyndebourne Touring Opera. Earlier that year he had won the Luciano Pavarotti International Competition. In 1990 he again sang Alfredo in his La Scala debut. It was as Rodolfo in La Bohème that he debuted at Covent Garden (in 1992) and the Met.
The Mimì to his Rodolfo in London was one Angela Gheorghiu, a recently arrived Romanian who had stunned Covent Garden management with the beauty and power of her voice. This was her first major role, and it made her an instant superstar, and she and Alagna hit it off immediately. They were both married, and it was friendship at first.
Another great partnership between them has been in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, which he performed at Covent Garden in 1994 then again with her when it reopened in 2000. It was in 1994 that Alagna's wife had just died of cancer, and his friendship with Gheorghiu become love. She got divorced, and the two of them married in New York, backstage during Bohème.
His performances and recordings are too many to list, and will of course increase all the time: I refer you to the website (below) of his label EMI for what he has recorded.
Awards include: 1994 Musical Personality of the Year (France), 1995 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, 1996 Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres, 1997 Lyric Artist of the Year (France).
EMI official biography: www.emiclassics.com/artists/biogs/ralb.html
Norman Lebrecht: www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/000216-NL-alagna-gheorghiu.htm