Renowned tenor Roberto Alagna was born in Clichy-sous-Bois, France, on June 7, 1963. Before becoming an international opera star, Alagna honed his pipes singing cabaret in Paris. He won first place in the prestigious Luciano Pavarotti Voice Competition in 1997 and made his professional stage debut in La Traviata the following year. As his reputation grew, so did his workload, eventually landing the young singer in such notable venues as Covent Garden and the Metropoltan Opera. He has starred in film versions of Tosca and Romeo & Juliet and won numerous other awards, including the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, and has been made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres and was deemed Artiste Lyrique de l'Année at the Victoire de la Musique Classique Awards in 2004.
Alagna's career continued to blossom with a number of high-profile engagements -- including covering for the indisposed Rolando Villazón as Romeo in the Met's 2007 Roméo et Juliette -- but was not without its controversies. During La Scala's 2006 production of Aïda, he walked off stage after being booed by the audience, a reaction that was condemned as unprofessional and immature by his contemporaries. Then, in 2011, a disagreement with conductor Alain Lombard at the Paris Opera led to the conductor being asked to leave. Alagna remained popular, however, and in the late 2000s turned his interest toward reviving forgotten French operas such as Alfano's Cyrano de Bergerac and Massenet's Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame. ~ James Christopher Monger & John D. Buchanan