Tenor Roberto Alagna, born on June 7, 1963, is one of the world’s most famous tenors, renowned not only for his passionate singing but also his incredible dramatic ability on stage. Few tenors can immerse themselves in a character quite like the French-born tenor can.
Alagna was born in France to Sicilian immigrants and spent his youth singing pop in Parisian cabaret. He eventually switched to opera, his training mostly self-taught. He was eventually discovered by the co-founder of the Aix-en-Provence Festival, Gabriel Dussurget.
From there he went on to the win the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition and made his professional debut with the Glyndebourne touring company. In no time, the tenor was singing at the top companies in the world and becoming one of the most famous tenors on the planet.
Alagna has had a knack for working closely with family, including his brothers, his former wife Angela Gheorghiu, and his current wife Aleksandra Kurzak.
The tenor has done it all when it comes to the Italian and French repertoire. And while he has scored some solid showcases in the Italian repertoire, he has never been better than in French opera. His Roméo remains one of the high points of his early career, the tenor’s passionate style a perfect complement to the youthful energy of the Shakespearean hero.
But his Don José is perhaps, through and through, the finest role he has ever put together. Alagna’s signature acting and vocal skills simply suit the soldier turned crazed lover.
Watch and Listen
Here is a production from 2004 to show you how Alagna embodies José. And for perspective, he has even deeper interpretations beyond this very good one.
Here is a young Alagna as Roméo in Gounod’s masterpiece.