The self-taught Argentine tenor, star of David McVicar’s new Aïda, talks to Emma Pomfret of the Times.

He is in town for Verdi’s Aïda, directed by David McVicar. It is Alvarez’s debut as Radames, the heroic Egyptian general caught in a love triangle between Aïda, a prisoner, and the scorned princess Amneris.

“I’m very engaged with the production,” Alvarez announces, explaining that this Aïda is no “earthy” Egypt but a mix of evocative ancient traditions: Aztec Mexico, Ancient Greece and samurai warriors. “It looks a little like Stargate.”

“Normally Radames is sung with a big warrior voice: ‘Wah, wah, bah, bah!’ ” Alvarez barks like an hysterical seal.

“I don’t have the body of a young man, but I’m athletic. I can move well on stage.”

“The audience think we are capricious billionaires; 20 or 30 years ago, yes, but not now. It’s not true.”

His greatest vitriol is reserved for opera bloggers, whose continual criticism and sniping gossip, he says, damages singers. “Perhaps you sing one bad performance and these websites attack and blow it out of proportion. They always write: bad, bad, bad!” he rants, drowning out the translator in English. “Some artistic directors read these sites and a lot of contracts go.” This hasn’t happened to him, and he cannot give me a direct example but, he says: “I know it has happened. This is the real cancer of our opera world.”

They know who they are.

Advertisements