Have you ever heard Nessun Dorma sung to the tune of Funiculì, Funiculà? No? Well people who attended the Roberto Alagna concert at the Sydney Opera House last night are one up on you.
After a successful and quite lengthy programme of opera arias, orchestral interludes and Neapolitan songs including the aforementioned Funiculì, Funiculà, Roberto Alagna and his collaborators, including the delightful Aussie soprano Siobhan Stagg who is making a name for herself in Europe, gave us an encore that got a great reception. In fact the audience gave Alagna a great reception from the word go, clapping furiously as soon as there was the smallest gap in the music. That was not surprising as Alagna is an engaging performer and, after all, who wouldn't want to be wooed by a tenor with a magnificent voice who is good fun into the bargain.
Anyway, after the first encore there was a short discussion between the performers and conductor as they decided about a second, and probably unplanned for, encore. Then as the conductor held up his baton for a repeat of Funiculì, Funiculà,, a voice was heard from the audience calling 'Nessun Dorma!' The public laughed, the orchestra began and then we heard a very novel performance of Funiculì, Funiculà. As each line ended, Alagna (and later Stagg) added the words 'Nessun Dorma' to the end. It caused a great deal of merriment in the hall. Perhaps this version of the Neapolitan classic could be named 'the Sydney version'.