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Alagna dazzles with magical performance at ROHM.

Muscat: Even after four encores, the audience didn't want to leave the Royal Opera House Muscat following a stellar performance by tenor Roberto Alagna.

The Italian-French opera star, accompanied by the fabulous National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia under the direction of conductor Filipe Aguirre, brought down the house with his luxurious voice and captivating stage presence.

It was a concert that left many speechless and in awe of Alagna's talent and charm. With songs in Italian, French, Russian, German and Spanish, he showcased his ease with different types of opera and a couple of lighter Spanish and Italian songs in the encores.

Powerful tenor

From the first notes he sang, Alagna's powerful tenor had a warm vibrato and emotional quality that, when combined with his dramatic body language and facial expressions, penetrated the souls of those listening.

While singing a very challenging German aria, 'Magische Tone', from Karl Goldmark's Die Konigen von Saba, he did choke and had to stop for water, but the audience applauded him warmly and he sang it again from the beginning. The mistake was actually a nice one, because his interpretation of the aria was so exquisite that it was a joy to hear it again.

German isn't as poetic as other opera languages, like Italian and French, but Alagna made it sound like the most beautiful language possible.

While Alagna's performance was magical, no less credit is due to the super National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia. The Bogota-based orchestra is rather young, but incredibly spirited and filled with highly gifted musicians.

Passionate performance

Conducted by Filipe Aguirre, who is also Colombian, they gave a very intense, passionate performance. Perhaps because they are from a country in which conflict and uncertainty are a constant part of life, these musicians put all their emotions into their music. Whatever the case is, it certainly works, because like Alagna, the orchestra was mesmerising.

Their high point was 'Meditation', the orchestral interlude from Thais by Jules Massenet. Concertmaster Richard Christian Biaggini Barrios played the violin solo with tenderness that could bring tears to one's eyes. He was so moving that even Alagna stepped onto the stage to applaud him.

Thunderous cheers

Alagna, Aguirre and the orchestra all received thunderous cheers and repeated ovations, which included an impromptu Italian song at the request of someone in the audience.

After the third encore, the artists had run out of prepared material, but Alagna couldn't say no to an audience who showed so much adoration, so he ran to the back of the orchestra and taught one of the percussionists a simple drum beat to which he sang a traditional Sicilian song, bringing the audience to their feet one last time.

Roberto Alagna's concert was definitely one which people will remember for years to come, and one can only hope this was the first of many appearances by this amazing tenor at the ROHM.

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2012

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Nov 1, 2012
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