Written By: Natalia Di Bartolo for L’Idea Magazine, 23 June 2014|
The famous tenor was performing as part of the 20th edition of the “Fez Festival of World Sacred Music “, which is held each year under the patronage of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
The show, called “Mediterraneo”, masterfully set and directed by David Alagna, was created to bring in Morocco the acoustic tones characterizing the music of the countries bordering ‘Mare Nostrum’ and all what they have in common, despite the wide range of continents and various Eastern nations it represents. Many regions which are evoking sand and deserts, oases and palm trees, but also the sea waves reflecting the silhouette of Vesuvius, olive and almond trees and the harsh and sunny Sicily.
Southern Italy, with its centuries-old history of domination and various invasions, but also its own unique culture and tradition, is a legitimate and full part of it. By its genuine nature, this folk music has integrated sounds and Arabic-Andalusian influences in particular, both in the music itself as well as in the manner of vocalizing the lyrics.
Here, the blend of all of that, magically balanced and mixed, gave the concert a very special atmosphere, making the happy synthesis of the sacred and the profane. The whole was performed in a full consistency with the Festival’s theme, resonating with the depth of feelings and human soul’s sensations in which peoples of the Mediterranean basin fully recognize.
Everything was perfectly rendered by the great Alagna and highlighted by the refined arrangements of the Khoury Project, an Ensemble formed by Basil, Elie Khoury and Osama. They accompanied the tenor with ethnic and unusual music instruments, alongside other musicians forming on this occasion a rare and stunning orchestral mix.
The beautiful voice of Roberto Alagna captivated the crowd in Bab El Makina, while expressing their feelings, the ones that any “Mediterranean”-born is carrying in his own genes. He revealed himself and opened up with an irresistible passion through each note and each word. His emotion was palpable, his joy of singing obvious, his presence and stage performance truly charismatic.
A swirl of notes, dialects, Neapolitan and Sicilian, coupled with the elegant presence of the French language, a true Ghibli of sounds, extended by the solo performances of the musical group, in a demonstration of their outstanding technical virtuosity.
The concert began with an Aria of “The Pearl Fishers” by Bizet, “De mon amie”, which immediately created the right atmosphere, followed by “Marechiare”: the oriental charm of the French Opera thus extended by a traditional Neapolitan song, into a parallel which certainly owes nothing to chance.
Then came the beautiful “Our Father” prayer, composed and written in French by Roberto Alagna, and “Panis Angelicus” by Cesar Franck: the sacred atmosphere properly installed, the concert continued with a new French Opera excerpt, with an Aria from “Marouf” by Rabaud, then in a still consistent style, came the “heart” of the concert i.e. a succession of Sicilian and Neapolitan songs alternately: “O Sarracino” and “Maruzzella” by the smiling and romantic Renato Carosone, “Napulitanata” by Costa, as well as Sicilian songs, traditional or not, such as “Amuri Carritteri”, “Cu ti lu dissi” and “Mattinata Siciliana”, the latter particularly dear to the heart of the singer whose own family origins are rooted in the Ancient Greece, in the legendary and great Syracuse.
Each sound has its own color and its own captivating charm. Every word has its own poignancy and perfect pronunciation, providing the audience with a wave of emotion, especially with the new song written in Sicilian by his brother Frederico Alagna, “Amuri feritu”, he delivered with a special intensity.
As long as the show progressed, the main protagonist announced the program in French, with all the clever charm, sensitiveness and tactful sense of humor that characterizes his way of addressing the people: that, coupled with his incomparable voice, did not fail to delight the public too. Many “Encore”, requested by an enthusiastic audience, concluded an unforgettable evening under the African sky, in a picturesque setting, definitively rare and lovely.
The show was both TV and web-broadcasted and a DVD is also expected