Music for the opera expresses emotions and ideas in significant forms with rhythm melody, harmony and colour elements contributing to creating an art of sound.
It creates camaraderie and an atmosphere wherein calm can prevail in our very busy world.
Opera is and remains a significant tradition in western culture because it is all about love and life, while reflecting our attitudes and philosophies, fashions and passions.
One of my favourite remembrances of that lovely operatic gem Au fond du temple saint (In the Depths of the Temple) from the opera Les Pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) is a stirring version performed in 1996 on The Metropolitan Opera stage in New York by two of the world’s much-admired singer’s French-Italian Tenor Roberto Alagna with bountiful bass-baritone Bryn Terfel.
A consummate performer, Roberto Alagna superstar tenor, is coming to Australia for the first time in 2016. Born of Sicilian parents in Clichy-sous-Bois, Seine-Saint-Denis, France, he obtained French citizenship aged 18, while retaining his previous Italian citizenship
When I first heard his wonderful voice during the mid 90’s I thought it was thrilling, warm, graceful and full of timbre, as he painted a colourful picture of paradise with a voice of gold.
To say it is beautiful is not enough; poetic, stirring and powerful it has a depth of emotional intensity that can make the hairs on your arms and neck stand up, ready to offer wild applause
Arts patron and philanthropist, Lady Southey AC is bringing Roberto Alagna down under for debut performances. He will be giving three concerts, in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
His Australian appearances follow on from a three month season in the role of Canio (Pagliacci) and Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) for the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
He will be performing a diverse program, including operatic arias and songs that are integral to his Sicilian, Neapolitan and French cultural and musical background.
Australian lyric coloratura soprano Siobhan Stagg who offers a “ravishing tone” and a “radiant” on stage presence is a versatile performer much in demand internationally.
She will be Roberto Alagna‘s special guest artist. Increasingly in demand, Siobhan Stagg‘s musical career began with a scholarship from the Dame Nellie Melba Trust, which allowed her to begin private training in New York, London and Europe.
Winning competitions along the way, today Siobhan Stagg appreciates the ‘value of experience.
Roberto Alagna’s story has read like a fairy tale ever since he helped introduce a new generation of audiences to the compelling world of timeless music of love and life, opera.
As a young man he sang in Parisian cabarets and released a pop album.
Like many before him, he grew to love opera Influenced by the glorious singing in Hollywood films by American tenor Mario Lanza, who blazed like a meteor whose light lasts a brief moment in time”, dying at the age of 38.
Seeking to make the switch to that genre in the late eighties, he took a bold step. When one of the world’s three most famous Italian tenors and the titan of pop culture Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007) arrived in Paris, Alagna pushed his way through all those waiting to see him to advise his idol that he wanted to be an operatic tenor.
Undoubtedly bemused by the young man, his confidence and ability to put himself forward, Pavarotti invited him to sing one note. From accounts, Pavarotti was so astounded he invited Roberto Alagna to audition and earn a ticket to the finale of the Pavarotti Competition in Philadelphia, which he did.
It is history now that Alagna won the prestigious competition and overnight, aged only 24, his operatic career took off and he quickly made his mark.
Pavarotti for the rest of his days I am sure, enjoyed being his discoverer and mentor.
His delight in the young man’s voice is evident in a You Tube recording of a concert they were involved in with other famous opera singers, celebrating Pavarotti’s 40 years in the world of operatic music.
In Sydney and Melbourne Roberto Alagna will enjoy the support of the Australian Sinfonietta under the baton of conductor Stefano Miceli and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) will accompany his performances in Brisbane.
A brilliant pianist, New York based conductor Stefano Miceli travels the world working with many of the great orchestras at the most important festivals and theatres, making beautiful music.
The Queensland Government has also provided Queensland vocal and instrumental music students from various tertiary institutions with funding so that they too will be able to enjoy attending a rare Open Rehearsal with Roberto Alagna and the QSO.
Pavarotti was the first singer to make a ‘live from The Met’ telecast and when A day later, people recognising the singer stopped him in the street, he realized the importance of offering an experience of opera to everyone, an experience I know that he passed on.
Opera is not an easy career to embrace, for while remaining open to new ideas, vulnerable enough to express the many moods that make up most of its characterizations, while handling criticism and rejection may be ‘character building’ but it is also a tough road to follow.
It is all about offering an experience that delivers great works of music into the lives of people of all ages and interests, contributing to their well-being
Today a youthful dream of a life in music, especially opera has become a reality for Roberto Alagna.
He performs on the world’s foremost opera stages, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden at London, The Metropolitan Opera, New York and at the wonderful La Scala in Milan.
Australian music lovers all are in for a rare and great treat.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2016
Watch the Trailer
Venue: Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall
Date: Thursday 21 July
Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall
Date: Wednesday 27 July
Venue: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
Date: Saturday 30 July