In parterre box #26, La Cieca expressed concern over a reported "homophobic" remark by tenor Roberto Alagna. According to the April 7, 1997 London Daily Telegraph, the tenor viewed a television documentary in which New York opera fans offered criticism of his Met debut as Rodolfo. On that occasion, Alagna snapped to a reporter, "It's not reality, what they showed on television. Those women who said I was not good. They were prostitutes. From the street. Hah! And that man who said I didn't hit the top C. I know he is a homosexual. It's outrageous, outrageous!"

We sent several messages to Alagna's manager, Levon Sayan. After a couple of months of playing fax tag, we received the following response:

Although there are many compensations in being a performing artist, one of the less pleasant sides to a public career is the impotence felt when unable to respond to unjust, unfair or inaccurate criticism. Such was the case with the Oxford Television film about me.
The person that was filmed during the intermission at Metropolitan Opera House during my performance of "La Bohème" accused me to have missed in my aria the high B note. In that aria any informed or serious critic would have know that this is a high C.
I am hurt and indignant over the incorrect interpretation of my words during the course of my interview with The Daily Telegraph on that subject. Under no circumstances did I wish to cause offense to homosexual people, many of my closest friends being themselves homosexual.
It must be stressed that the interview was carried out in English, which I am not completely fluent in, thus rendering it easy to misinterpret my words. This causing a misunderstanding.
I would be most grateful if you feel generous enough to set the record straight by printing this statement.
Yours sincerely,
Roberto Alagna
We congratulate Mr. Alagna for doing the right thing and apologizing for words no doubt uttered in anger, and offer him best wishes for his return to the Metropolitan this spring in Romeo et Juliette.

parterre box, the queer opera zine