In front of a small audience at the Royal Opera House last night, Roberto Alagna revealed the reason he's unlikely to pair up on stage with the missus in the near future. Apparently, it's all about making her job easier. When Angela performs with Roberto, he says it's twice as much work, because it's like being on stage with two people at once - the character and the husband. Whereas with other tenors, she can just forget they're there [shocked laughter all round] and get on with her own thing. Oh, and he also admitted she can be 'rude'. OK! Cleared that one up!
The main conclusion to be drawn from Christopher Cook's gently teasing interview was that Roberto just loves to talk. Preferably about himself. But he does so with such self-deprecating charm that it's impossible not to warm to him. What might come across as vain and self-serving in print simply sounds frank in person.
Roberto cannily deflected any too probing lines of inquiry in favour of amusing anecdotage, but we did get a little more on the legendary 2006 La Scala Aida walkout.
According to Roberto, all the trouble started because 'four people' warned him they would boo when he sang the line 'Un esercito di prodi da me guidato', as a protest against Romano Prodi, who would be in the audience. So Roberto substituted another word for prodi when he sang, and that turned the conspirators against him. There was another five minutes of paranoid dog-ate-my-homework theorising involving sugar and policemen and Stéphane Lissner, but I got completely lost. Though Roberto seems to have it straight in his own mind, I can't help suspecting he was just jelz of the thonged-up assets of Roberto Bolle.
He has, he says, now been invited back to La Scala. But he turned down the chance to do Carmen and Simon Boccanegra with Plácido. "I'd rather sing here" - at Covent Garden - he said, "or in my shower".