The Romeo and Juliet of opera meet on stage again

Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu and French tenor Roberto Alagna, sing Verdi's La Traviata in 2002. Credit: Reuters

In a world of high drama, love stories don't come much more extravagant than that of the tenor Roberto Alagna and the soprano Angela Gheorghui.

Their own tempestuous relationship is the stuff of the operas they sing.

They are now two of the highest paid and most sought after singers in the world, and this week they will sing together in an opera for the first time since they announced their split two years ago, here in London’s Covent Garden.

When their separation was announced two years ago it was accompanied by an announcement that they would never sing together again.

Their reunion proves that some operas can have happy endings.

They first met two decades ago in London, also singing in Puccini’s La Boheme, when they were both on the verge of stardom – and it was love at first sight.

But they were married to other people, and remained loyal to them refusing to sing together again.

It wasn’t until after Roberto’s first wife had died tragically of a brain tumour - and her first marriage had ended - that they were able to unite and eventually marry.

Opera mad Rudy Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York married them in 2002 - the culmination of a decade-long romance.

They adopted Alagna’s daughter from his first marriage, and then when Gheorghui's sister and her husband were killed in a car accident, they adopted her child as well.

They went on to become the most successful opera couple in the world; headlining opera houses from Sydney to Milan and recording romantic CD’s featuring some of operas most famous duets.

They are still at the top of their game, but haven’t sung together in an opera since they announced their split.

Their artistic antics off stage are as extravagant as their Diva-ish behaviour on-stage can be, and they are both famous for their temperamental outbursts.

She is sometimes known as Draculette because of her reported aversion to direct sunlight on her porcelain skin.

He is the only tenor to have stormed off the stage in La Scala while the orchestra was still playing after he was booed.

But when I met them for ITV News they both arrived on time (the last scheduled interview she had saw her arrive 25 hours late) and they were all charm and professional calm.

Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna perform in La Boheme.

They dismissed their split – and announcement of a likely divorce - as a “midlife crisis” and re-avowed their commitment to each other and to their art form.

They spoke of their desire to continue singing as long as the passion for doing so remains and the voices stay strong.

And of their desire to sing to as wide an audience as possible to help people forget their troubles in these difficult times.

La Boheme of course is a tragedy. Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghui - sometimes known as the Romeo and Juliet of opera – are hoping they are now on course for a happy ending to their courtship; a relationship which to date has proved as romantic off-stage as on.