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Monday, June 27, 2022

“How wonderful to be back! I have great memories of Buenos Aires”

“The first time I arrived in Argentina I had a toothache that I can’t explain (laughs). I was dying of pain. I remember it because I suffered from it on the plane. It was a martyrdom. This terrible pain I spent three-four days in the song, even during the performance, but the incredible thing was that when I started singing I forgot about the pain.

After the show, the pain returned and intensified (laughs). It was torture but I remember theatres, very generous and kind people. He was splendid. We did a little tour of Buenos Aires, we saw a private tango show, just for us. I have great memories,” he says. Robert Alagna from ParisBefore taking the stage at the Teatro Colón ten years after his debut.

The French tenor excuses himself that his Spanish is not very good as he went long hours without speaking, but the truth is that his Castilian is impeccable. He has just returned to Paris via Poland, where he left his young daughter with her grandparents, the fruit of his last marriage to Polish singer Alexandra Kurzak.

Despite a few hours of rest, Alagna’s voice on the other end of the phone sounds very refreshed and happy, and ready to talk as she prepares to take her next plane that will land her this Tuesday (June 14). Will bring his presentation to Buenos Aires. On the stage of the Teatro Colon.

With a refugee and his daughter at home

How is your current professional and personal life?

-fantastic. Now I am a mature person and I am fortunate to have a little girl who gives me incredible pleasure. But I want to take care of her because I didn’t have much time with my first daughter, I was too young and I worked a lot. Now I work but always a little less than before. I like to stay at home, go to school with my daughter, take care of her.

At the moment it is not easy as with the war in Ukraine many Ukrainians are taking refuge in Poland. At home we meet a lady with her little girl. This is a very difficult situation, it is not known whether Putin will attack Poland. Everyone’s scared. And me too.

My wife is now in Dresden for a concert, I am in Paris and my daughter is in Poland with her grandparents. It’s not easy. Right now I prefer to be with my daughter.

However, this year has a very complete agenda…

-Yeah as always…

As always, but not so much because things are not normal after covid, lockdown and situation in Ukraine. I guess there must have been some change in the way you think about your career, right?

"I have been in the opera for 39 years. I sang in the cabaret, at the age of 17 I was already a professional" photo Jacqueline Douxois

“I have been in the opera for 39 years. I sang in the cabaret, at the age of 17 I was already a professional” photo Jacqueline Douxois

-Yes you’re right. I’ve changed a lot. Now I understand what a normal life is like. Earlier I was scared of it because I was used to being in a function all the time. I started very young in opera, I was 20. I’ve been in opera for 39 years now. Before that, he sang in cabaret, and at the age of 17 he was a professional.

I have spent my whole life singing and always doing a show. But now that I love being at home, being like everyone else, I am not afraid to be at home peacefully.

You have just mentioned your experience with popular music in cabaret when you were young, what gave birth to the world of poetry from that experience?

only one. Only Cabaret explains to you the dialogue that exists with the public because we are so close. Your face should also be graceful, you should not try too hard.

He found naturalness, spontaneity in that world …

-Yes, and it also gave me the opportunity to feel the immediate feelings, to improve. It’s splendid. And look for the simplicity of speech, of emotion, of energy. It’s all given to you by the cabaret. And, later, you give all of that to the world of song. It helped me a lot. I always liked to give to the public, be generous and honest, without being deceitful. I love the simplicity and truthfulness of the voice.

About “Technique”

Sometimes the technique is misused a lot in the song. It reminds me of a phrase from an Argentine singer, “Technique should only be used for bad days.”

(laughs) And I’ll add something: Technique is like makeup. Every day you feel like you’re a little older, and you put on makeup so that it’s not visible. That is the technique. But technology can’t protect you from everything. And there is some mental as well. Thank god I’m in good health, because you may very well be but after five minutes something happens to you and you don’t know what to do. We are human. This is a very difficult profession.

They become very weak by carrying the Yantra on their body.

-Yes. When you are nervous, poor sleep, tired, scared or stressed, everything in the voice is affected. You have to control everything. But sometimes you can’t. I always say: When everything goes well in a performance, it’s a miracle. Something can happen that you cannot control and it ruins everything for you.

at La Scala in Milan

His experience at La Scala in Milan a few years ago, when he left the stage after a blessing from the audience, bears witness to what he had just said. On the other hand, beyond that anecdote, it is a great lesson in realizing that the careers of great artists are made up of both successes and failures. How do you think about that episode, especially after a few months of singing there?

– This has happened to everyone. All the greats in La Scala or any other theater have had that kind of experience. This happened to Caruso in his hometown of Naples.

But there was no internet or social media.

-Undoubted. I think it’s a little violent. Today we all fight against violence, what they did that night is part of the violence. The only difference is that I was very ill at the time, I had a health problem, and my doctor was with me. everybody knew. So it was unfair. Even after so many years, it is still in discussion.

I had the courage not to accept the violence and to back down. Despite that, after the episode, he always called me. Even, many times in Scala. And now I’m going back with Fedora next year. We’ll see what happens. This is our profession: Ups and downs come and go. But it also gives you life lessons. An artist who does nothing is not an artist.

Not only artists, but also humans in general.

Sure, life is like that. If everything is fine all the time then you don’t learn anything from life.

Is there any difficulty in accepting the weaknesses of the artists?

-This is true. We are human and it is a blessing when all is well. When you sing really hard music in front of the public, no one can help you. you are alone That’s why I have great respect for all my colleagues. It’s very difficult, we don’t have amplification, we work like we did two centuries ago.


What will the program you are going to perform at the concert be like?

It will be a very generous and very difficult program. In the first part I’m going to sing arias from operas, but not just famous people. I don’t like it when a concert is done with only hits to win easy applause. I’m going to start with a very delicious French aria, it was very famous at that time and was sung by all the great artists, it’s from opera le roi d’yas by Edouard Lalo,

again a very dramatic aria youthby Jacques Helvey, and also an aria from Cherubini’s opera, Les Abancerages: Suspendez ces murs…A little old work. And, then, a curiosity I love to do: Opera pagliasi I’m going to sing the prelude, the aria from Harlequin and also the canio.

Three men in an interpreter. The second part is going to be lighter: Neapolitan lyrics, French tunes, and later, almost everything in Spanish. This is a bit surprising and for now I won’t say what it is.

How do you get into the character of an opera with all the drama and cargo in a matter of minutes?

You have to be honest with yourself in the situation and so will the public. If you want to play a character, it won’t work. when i sing gambling I am the character; I’m Roberto in that position with my daughter, with that problem. It is very easy because I am living a drama or a happy situation that is happening.

The same is true in the popular song. If you’re not natural and you don’t feel the music, or you sing it in the wrong style, it won’t work. You have to be very honest with the music and with yourself.

question of “feeling”

What should be the conditions for a pianist coming together?

– it is important to have Emotion, I do not know the pianist Irina Dichkovskaya who is going to perform with me, she was proposed by the theater. I think he’s a little afraid of light music, I think he’s a concert pianist, and to make songs like Neapolitan you must have Emotionlike jazz.

But I think that, since she’s Russian, she definitely has a Sicilian or Latin-like soul, and she must have known how popular music felt. I am so cool.

He likes to take risks and is quite flexible as singers usually perform with their accompanying pianists.

Yes, I love meeting new people. I have several pianists to work with, but here the theater has offered me a pianist. I don’t know him but I am sure everything will be fine. You have to feel a connection with the music and that’s what happens when you’re with a pianist. It is a couple, such as a duet or an act of love. There is an alchemy between you two. we are going to have fun.

You are an anti-diva…

– I’m always like that. very natural When I was very young I understood that the roles a character played – that of a tenor or baritone – were more serious. And all that made me very tired because a lot of energy is spent in playing that character in daily life. All that energy is better put to use on stage. So I thought it was better to be myself. this is easy.


Robert AlagnaDuration

Irina Dychkovskayathe piano

Tuesday, June 14, at 8:00 pm, at the Teatro Colón.

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Reference from clarin www.clarin.com

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