Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Roberto Alagna - new interview is coming, new CD is here

          
   
    Bookmark and Share
  1. #1
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    9,308
    Post Thanks / Like

    Roberto Alagna - new interview is coming, new CD is here

    Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Roberto Alagna for more than one hour via FaceTime, and then I met him in person backstage two days later at the Met and had a long chat with him.

    It was a very interesting interview, in which Roberto disclosed quite intimately various aspects of his life and his personality. I was left with an extremely positive impression of the man underneath the singer. He is curious, intelligent, well-read, passionate, and full of emotions and energy. He is also extremely friendly and personable, and very attentive to his fans (I sat for several minutes in his dressing room and kept observing how he interacted with a large crowd of fans who came to see him and to take pictures with him - he was very nice to everybody). After this interaction, Roberto grew enormously in my respect as an artist and as a person (I had always thought of him as a great singer, but now I'm even more impressed with him).

    Among various other topics, Roberto talked extensively about his new CD "My Life Is An Opera." The CD has just been released in America, on February 10 (three days after our interview and one day after our backstage meeting).

    I am very curious to listen to it and have purchased my copy (it is coming in the mail in three days).

    Stay tuned for the interview; it was done in French and so it will take longer to be published (it's just been transcribed but it still needs editing and translating, and then it needs to be sent to the singer for revision and approval therefore it will only be released in a few weeks). I thought it was one of the best Opera Lively interviews to date, very humane and revealing. We'll place it in our French section as well so that his fans back home can have access to it too.

    Here I'll reproduce the part of the interview where Roberto talked about his CD:

    ----------

    Luiz Gazzola for Opera Lively - Your new album, My Life is an Opera, was just released in France a few months ago. Can you give those of us on this side of the Atlantic a bit of a preview before it’s released here, and tell us about the arias and duets you recorded on this disc and why you picked them?

    Roberto Alagna – It's been ten years since I recorded an opera disc in studio. This means that all that I've done in opera for the last ten years was live - videos, DVDs, concerts, all live. In studio I've only done crossover CDs over the past ten years. So, I was coming back to an opera disc, and it wasn't easy. I asked myself, what should I do? I've done already many beautiful opera discs, so I didn't know what else to add. I told myself, since today I live another life with Aleksandra [Kurzak, the singer's new partner], it's a new beginning; it's like a chapter was finished and a new one started, and I got the desire to tell a little the tale of all this career by the means of operatic arias. It's true that when I think retrospectively about my life, it's like an opera. Yes, there are happy moments, drama, tragedy, comedy, love, fairy tale, fable, there is all that in my life. Triumph, fall, treason, everything. So it's like a true opera, and then I told myself, that's it, if I make a disc, it will be with arias that will illustrate moments of my life.

    OL - Yes.

    RA - But on the other hand it wasn't easy, because I told myself - those who don't know me personally, it's OK, they will buy the disc, but they'll think "why is he singing this again?" So I needed to find means to tell what I have done, but with arias that are also new, or else I'd have to replace them with something new. For example, when I sing The Condemned Man [from his brother's contemporary opera The Last Day of A Condemned Man which has two characters, male and female, both in death row; Roberto sang the title role and also co-wrote the libretto with another brother] I picked the aria of the Condemned Woman, because that, I've never sung, given that with my brothers I've always done the role of the Condemned Man, so there is something new. It's beautiful, because in reality these words were for the Condemned Man. We modified the words to suit her, so we're coming back a little to the original.

    When I sang Orfée, it was in French, so now I sing it in Italian, because it's a tribute to Pavarotti, and also it is to tell that I was Orfée as well, because I lost my first wife and I had the impression that the ground was taken away from under my feet, and I also wanted to go look for my wife in the beyond, because I thought it was unfair to die at 29 years of age, when she just had our child.

    I start with Manon Lescaut, "Ah, Manon mi tradisce" [Manon has betrayed me], because I was supposed to sing Manon Lescaut and I got sick and couldn't do this Manon. It was like she had betrayed me. So it's always with allusions and images, but one needs to read between the lines.

    OL – Formidable.

    RA - There is also a little allusion that is funny. I do a duet with Aleksandra, my partner, and we picked Roberto Devereux. Why Roberto Devereux? Because for her, it indicates the path that she will take next with her voice, but for me, thanks to her who is younger, I am a father again [the couple has a baby daughter, Malena] it's like she gave me a second youth. So I restart with the name Roberto, who is me, and I restart with new youth a role that I sung when I was young. Do you understand? So, that's it, everything has a bit of imagery like that, and is charming, at the same time.

    -----------

    This is the Amazon link for the CD "My Life Is An Opera" - [clicky]



    Talking about the singer in his youth, let's listen to this very beautiful clip in which a young Roberto sings spectacularly "Che Gelida Manina" - it's one of the best versions of this aria I've ever heard.

    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); February 23rd, 2015 at 02:36 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  2. Likes MAuer, Clayton, Ann Lander (sospiro) liked this post
  3. #2
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    9,308
    Post Thanks / Like
    I've received the CD, in its version for English-speaking countries. The insert has a very interesting, long, and charming text detailing various aspects of Roberto's life, including some personal pictures of his years as a child and as an adolescent, as well as others with aspects of his career. Unfortunately the translation into English of the original French text is very inaccurate with many striking errors (such as using "infamous" instead of "famous," calling his on-stage presence "corrosive" -- what exactly did they mean by that? I'd love to check the French text to see what word was there -- mentioning his ascension as "meteoritic" instead of "meteoric," in addition to a number of broken and/or awkward sentences, as well as some rather big grammatical and spelling mistakes. So, Deutsche Grammophon needs to hire a better translator.

    Sound engineering is very far from ideal. The stereo effect is troubled in some tracks with Roberto's voice swinging back and forth from the left to the right speaker and at times becoming muted in the process. Also, there is a background humming, audible anytime the orchestra or the singers pause, and there are sound artifacts in track 15. So, this, coupled with the poor English text gives the impression of a sloppy job, which is surprising, given that this is a Deutsche Grammophon release, not some amateur operation's. Roberto deserves better than that.

    Soprano Aleksandra Kurzac, Roberto's partner, is featured in duos on tracks 5, 8, and 9, courtesy of DECCA. Again, in terms of sound engineering, Roberto's voice tends to smother hers in certain passages of track 5, and then it happens the other way around: it's Roberto's voice's turn to get a bit muted while she sings, in parts of tracks 8 and 9.

    None of the above should take away the enjoyment of the CD's artistic merits, given that Roberto's singing in this album is passionate and beautiful, and the selection of songs and arias is extremely nice.

    Here is the track list:

    1. Ah, Manon, mi tradisce... from Puccini's Manon Lescaut
    2. Donna non vidi mai... from Puccini's Manon Lescaut
    3. Pour moi ce jour est tout mystère... ( Kuda, Kuda..) - from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin
    4. Faiblesse de la race humaine. Inspirez-moi, race divine... - from Gounod's La Reine de Saba
    5. A la Luz de la Luna - song by Anton and Michelena
    6. La Danza - a Neapolitan tarentella by Gioacchino Rossini
    7. Esprits gardiens de ces lieux... - from Reyer's Sigurd
    8. Un tenero cuore (Part 1) - from Donizetti's Roberto Devereux
    9. Cabaletta: Un lampo, un lampo orribile... (Part 2) - from Donizetti's Roberto Devereux
    10. Addio Fiorito asil - from Puccini's Madama Butterfly
    11. Ne pouvant réprimer... Adieu donc - from Massenet's Hérodiade
    12. Che faro senza Euridice - from Gluck's Orphée et Euridyce
    13. Magische Töne - from Goldmark's Die Königin von Saba
    14. Il est dix heures... Encore six heures... - from David Alagna's Le Dernier Jour d'un Condamné
    15. Introduction - from Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci
    16. Recitar... Vesti la Giubba - from Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci

    I thought that Roberto's voice is rather flawless throughout the disc with only the rare exception. Tracks 1 and 2 are especially passionate. While 3, 4, and 7 are less remarkable, tracks 5 and 6 are very interesting and pleasant. 8 and 9 are beautiful although they are marred by sound engineering problems. Track 10 contains the singer in great form with fully resonant delivery. Track 11 is especially good in regards to Roberto's singing - very exquisite timbre with nice range, colors and phrasing. Unsurprisingly now that we know the background story, track 12 has very pungent feelings, but maybe also because of the intensity of feelings (one would be a bit choked-up) the singing is a bit less good than on track 11. Track 13 again brings back the melodious phrasing and the pleasant dark timbre of the singer's more mature voice, matching 11 to be part of my two favorites. Track 14 contains an aria from the fabulous contemporary opera his brother wrote, and Roberto does justice to the difficult music with wide range. This track does showcase the merits of this piece - I encourage everybody to listen to the full opera which has been released both on CD and DVD. Track 15 is instrumental only, featuring the London Orchestra under Yvan Cassar (like in all tracks) and it is a sound engineering disaster. The recording captures the orchestra very flatly and the lower notes suffer sound artifacts at the end of the track. Track 16 closes the album with again a very passionate and powerful delivery (but not my favorite among all tracks - the ones I liked best are 11, 13, and 14; next, 10, 1 and 2).

    The verdict is mixed given that while the singing is phenomenal and reaches A+ level, and song/aria selection is really compelling (A++), and the pictures of the singer's early years are precious, sound engineering is atrocious, and the packaging is sloppy with a strikingly bad translation of the original French text (otherwise in terms of content the text is very interesting), which would bring these aspects down to at least B- if not lower, so the average would have to be at most an overall B+ (or "barely recommended" in our classification). This said, the singer's merit in selecting and performing this material still warrants a verdict of "recommended" or higher to this product, if one can overcome the production and technical flaws. Given that I'd guess that musical aspects are generally much more important to most opera lovers than production/engineering aspects (which appeal more to the audiophile types), I'd say that this product is a solid buy for most fans, and it is very well priced at $14.59. Personally I'm very glad that I own this product and will be listening to it many times.

    Now, of course, for those buying the French version instead, one of the aspects that brought down our overall rating won't apply, so that version will have a higher verdict. The bottom line is, this is a very good album, and the flaws are not the singers' fault.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); February 28th, 2015 at 03:13 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  4. Likes Floria, MAuer liked this post
  5. #3
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Midwestern U.S.
    Posts
    2,697
    Post Thanks / Like
    Those translation problems really are egregious, and not the sort of thing one expects from a major label. It's really an embarrassment.

  6. #4
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    9,308
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Those translation problems really are egregious, and not the sort of thing one expects from a major label. It's really an embarrassment.
    I emailed Roberto's team about the translation problems. They said it's unacceptable, and they will complain to Universal/DG, so hopefully we'll see subsequent batches of this product with a corrected text.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  7. Likes MAuer, Clayton liked this post
  8. #5
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    9,308
    Post Thanks / Like
    Our exclusive interview with Roberto Alagna has been published in French. In a few days we'll have an English translation. For now, those among us who speak French will already be able to enjoy this interesting interview by clicking [here].
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  9. #6
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    9,308
    Post Thanks / Like
    Cute, look at Roberto Alagna's tweet:

    Name:  RobertoAlagnaRetweet.JPG
Views: 97
Size:  58.7 KB
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

Similar Threads

  1. Article: The Exclusive Opera Lively Interview with Roberto Alagna
    By Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) in forum CMS Articles - Comments Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: April 17th, 2015, 02:21 AM
  2. Roberto Alagna - baritone?
    By Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) in forum Singer-oriented Forum
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: June 16th, 2012, 02:11 PM
  3. Short Exclusive Interview with Anna Netrebko is coming soon
    By Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) in forum Announcements from Staff to Members
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: January 2nd, 2012, 08:17 PM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: December 23rd, 2011, 09:07 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


free html visitor counters
hit counter




Official Media Partners of Opera Carolina

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Opera Carolina

Official Media Partners of NC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of North Carolina Opera

Official Media Partners of Greensboro Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Greensboro Opera

Official Media Partners of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute and Piedmont Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute
of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Piedmont Opera

Official Media Partners of Asheville Lyric Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Asheville Lyric Opera

Official Media Partners of UNC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of UNC Opera
Dept. of Music, UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences

www.operalively.com

VISIT WWW.OPERALIVELY.COM FOR ALL YOUR OPERA NEEDS