"But more about Antonello later"

BREAKING! La Cieca has been informed that a stray RAI microphone in the wings of La Scala picked up an emotionally heated conversation between Roberto Alagna and Franco Zeffirelli immediately following the tenor’s angry walkout on Sunday night. A translated transcript follows:

FZ: Calm down. The gong rang. The fight’s over.

RA: I will not calm down! And I will not be plotted against! Such nonsense, what do you all take me for — little Nello from the country? Been my understudy for over a week without my knowing, shows up when everyone knew I’d be here, and gives a performance! Out of nowhere — gives a performance!

FZ: You’ve been all through that with Lissner…

RA: Full of fire and music and what-not, carefully rehearsed I have no doubt, full of those Franco Zeffirelli touches!

FZ: I am sick and tired of these paranoiac outbursts! I didn’t even know Antonello Palombi was your understudy until half past two this afternoon!

RA: Tell that to Dr. Lombroso, along with the rest of it!

FZ: No, I’ll tell it to you! For the last time, I’ll tell it to you! You’re a beautiful and intelligent artist…

RA: A body with a voice!

FZ: Well, perhaps not the voice for Radames. You have every reason for happiness, but due to some strange, uncontrollable, unconscious drive you permit the slightest action of a ragazzo…

RA: Ragazzo!

FZ: Ragazzo like Antonello to turn you into a hysterical screaming divo! Now once and for all, stop it!

RA: It’s obvious you’re not a tenor.

FZ: I’ve been aware of that for some time.

RA: Well, I am.

FZ: I’ll say. Now come on Roberto, let’s get out of here. I’ll buy you a drink.

RA: I’ll admit I may have seen better days, but I am still not to be had for the price of a cocktail like a bruschetta.

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