Check it out above! Roberto Alagna hits the big screen on 9 November in a new film by Jean-Louis Guillermou. Celles qui aimaient Wagner blends contemporary and historical narrative to recount episodes from Richard Wagner's life story through the eyes of a modern day fan.
Roberto plays the celebrated Josef Tichatschek, principal tenor at the Dresden court opera during Wagner's conductorship, and creator of the title roles of Rienzi and Tannhäuser.
Tichatschek was renowned for his naturally beautiful voice, superb musicianship and expert sight-reading - all of which were fatally undermined by his dreadfully wooden acting. Wagner considered Tichatschek's lack of dramatic insight so devastating that he privately blamed the tenor's performance for the initial failure of Tannhäuser in Dresden.
But the two men remained friends, and Tichatschek proved a faithful supporter to Wagner through all his trials. By the time Wagner met his great patron King Ludwig of Bavaria, Tichatschek was 60. Despite his advanced years, the composer insisted his old chum should take the title role in the royal command performance of Lohengrin. King Ludwig dismissed him the aging tenor as too old to be convincing, an episode covered in the movie and seen in the clip above.
Roberto is evidently so eternally youthful that no cosmetics on earth could make him look 60. But his acting is better than you might expect. He's certainly more convincing than 50-ish TV host Stéphane Bern is as the teenage King Ludwig. As for the singing, if Robert Dean Smith can tackle Tristan, why not Roberto the heldentenor?
More video and photos below.