Archive for the ‘Roberto Alagna’ Category

Beck, Roberto Alagna, Pentangle: least loved gigs of 2008

January 1, 2009
Having raved about some great gigs I saw last year, it’s only fair to add that there were a handful which I didn’t enjoy – not one jot.

Notable among them were:

* Beck

* Roberto Alagna

* Pentangle

I’ll resist the temptation to go into detail – preferring to praise great music rather than whine about it when it doesn’t come off – but these three were among the least enjoyable live shows I’ve ever attended. In all three cases, I’m keen on the artists/legacy but was underwhelmed by the performances.

Gerry Smith

Roberto Alagna, Barbican: disappointing

May 5, 2008

Well, you can’t win ‘em all. 


After a run of outstanding gigs, I expected another at London’s Barbican on Friday.  After all, Roberto Alagna is one of my favourite tenors.  And the programme was entirely Verdi.  The omens were good.


And if you went by the delirious reaction of the pension-age faithful, this was an Earth-shattering gig.  As the doe-eyed fan proudly confessed to me after the gig: “Roberto’s marvellous … he can do no wrong… “.


Despite my predilection for the singer – I’ve always been impressed by Alagna at Covent Garden, and warm to his easy, affable Sicilian  manner (he acts more like a Palermo midfield ball-winner than a precious keeper of the operatic flame) I felt Friday’s concert gig was well below the standard of other recent concert stagings I’ve seen, notably Bartoli and Fleming.




1.    setlist – some poorly chosen Verdi

2.    use of full orchestra and choir – Alagna had to compete with well over 100 other musicians on stage; at times, he was drowned out

3.    orchestra and choir had too many songs, sans Alagna

4.    performance – some of his tempi and pitch were hit and miss; he seemed to pull out of a few top Cs

5.    the singer’s shameless guying to the crossover popopera audience

6.    the fourth encore – a Sicilian pop song devoted to his lovely wife Angela, seated in row 10 – he will love her till he dies, apparently.  FerChrissakes, Roberto!


I really wanted to dig this gig, but it left me disappointed, despite four encores. It won’t stop me booking for Alagna every time he appears at the Royal Opera House, though.



Gerry Smith

Lovely gigs in 2008

April 4, 2008

After a couple of years in which my gigging became a bit narrowly focussed and predictable – mainly opera, with a bit of jazz, world and rock – 2008 is promising to be rather more richly eclectic. 

Having already seen three compelling gigs – Morrissey at the Roundhouse, Dorothea Roschmann singing Lieder at Vienna’s Musikverein, and Salome at Covent Garden, I’m keenly anticipating lots more varied shows, including several key musicians for grown-ups who’ve been on my must-see list for years:


April: Bjork     


May: Roberto Alagna; John McLaughlin


June: Don Carlo; Ariadne; Pentangle


July: Leonard Cohen; Marriage of Figaro


Dec: Cecilia Bartoli


Having re-found the taste for eclectic gigs, I’m eagerly looking for others – top live music for grown-ups is one of the greatest thrills of all.

   Gerry Smith