Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna have been hailed as the world's most exciting young opera stars. Their CD, Duets and Arias, has just entered the classical music chart at number two. Gheorghiu, 30, studied at Bucharest Music Academy and made her Covent Garden debut in 1992. Alagna, 32, was born in France of Sicilian parents. His debut in La Traviata, with Glyndebourne Touring Opera, won huge acclaim. His first wife died of a brain tumour two years ago; their daughter, Ornella, is now four. Gheorghiu and Alagna married in New York last month and live in Paris

ANGELA GHEORGHIU: Before I met Roberto, I had seen him on television in France. Suddenly, he burst into the rehearsal room at Covent Garden and the atmosphere changed. It was so exciting - like electricity. Although something happened between us at that first rehearsal for La Boheme, and later, during the production, neither of us spoke about how we were feeling. We were simply happy to work and be together. He was the perfect Rodolfo. Now, of course, it makes a huge difference if we are together on stage. It is a reflection of our life and an extension of it which we live out on stage. Between the acts, during the intermission, we always talk a lot.

Although we didn't meet again for another two years, I knew all about his career and each of the roles he was singing. Then in 1994, we were both in productions at Covent Garden and it was like destiny. We looked at each other and it was almost like looking in the mirror. What Roberto was feeling for me was exactly how I felt about him.

Singing with Roberto is not like singing with any other partner. It's a perfect musical agreement. Sometimes you just don't have the courage to tell another singing partner that a certain phrase is not quite right, or perhaps it would be better to do something another way. Everything is so much easier between us. Now that we know each other so well, singing with Roberto is even more exciting, but always, we are working to improve.

Many people have written about Roberto, saying that he had no formal training, but he did an enormous amount of work himself. We always discuss the things I learnt at the Bucharest Academy, and I am surprised at how much he knows. Because Roberto comes from a very good culture and absorbs everything, he's read a great deal and listened to many recordings. I know just how hard he works and how sensitive he is to what the critics write.

In the beginning, knowing Roberto had suffered so much unhappiness, all I could do was to give him my friendship, to be there for him and, later, for Ornella. When we decided to get married, I took Roberto and Ornella to meet my parents in Romania. It was wonderful for all of us. As a family, we have a Latin temperament just like the Italians and French, so there was no culture difference, just the language. Since we've been together, Roberto has been learning Romanian, and now even Ornella can understand a few words. To celebrate our marriage, Roberto bought me a beautiful ring and matching earrings, but he didn't just give them to me. No, he had a different plan. We were at home and Roberto asked me if I would close the door. As I walked over, I saw that there was a little packet dang-ling from the door handle. I opened the packet and discovered my beautiful ring. After I had put it on, he said, "Angela, please will you close the window." So I went over to the window and there was another little packet. That one had the earrings inside. It was very romantic.

Because London is a special city for us, we would like to make our home there - possibly in Hampstead - as well as in Paris. Just now, our lives are so hectic that we have very little time for anything other than work. But all that will change because, apart from the singing which, of course we both love, we need to make real time for ourselves.

There is an old French saying that a rainy wedding means a happy marriage. The weather in New York had been beautiful for days, but a few minutes before we left our hotel to go to City Hall to be married, it began to pour with rain and we laughed.

When we sing La Traviata together at Covent Garden in July, it will be the first time Roberto has sung Alfredo for a long time. It's not true that he didn't want to do the part because it reminded him too much of his own tragedy. Not at all. It was just that he had sung Alfredo so often during four years that he felt stale. Having had a long break, La Traviata is now another challenge and that's what makes it exciting for us both."

Everyone talks about the terrible sadness in Roberto's life. I know that he has been through the most dreadful experience anyone could imagine, but I have honestly never seen any of that sadness. From the moment we first met I saw only a man with happiness and love in his eyes. It is absolutely true. When Roberto burst into that rehearsal room, our lives changed for ever.

ROBERTO ALAGNA: Four years ago, about to sing Rodolfo in La Boheme, I arrived at a rehearsal room in Covent Garden. From behind the door, I could hear the most fantastic voice singing one of Mimi's arias. I didn't know Angela at all and had never seen her, so I tried to imagine the physical look of the woman with such an extraordinary voice. In my mind - because of the sound I was hearing - she had to be fat. I certainly didn't expect her to be beautiful. Eventually, I had to open the door and was absolutely shocked to see Angela. She was cute, young and lovely. We just looked at each other and, somehow, I knew the feeling was reciprocal. It was love at first sight.

We were rehearsing the second act of La Boheme. As I took Angela's hand in mine I felt an actual shock. On stage, there was real emotion between the two of us. Off-stage, too, it seemed the most natural thing in the world for us to be together - talking, laughing, eating. We loved to be in each other's company. Although nothing happened between us because, at that time, our relationship was platonic, both of us knew that this was more than just two singers who were completely at one with each other. But we didn't dare talk about it.

After La Boheme, we had other commitments in different parts of the world and I didn't see Angela for two years. When we did meet again, it was also at Covent Garden, where I was singing Romeo and Angela was singing Violetta in La Traviata. This time, the feeling between us was even more intense. From the moment we were together again, we decided that we would remain together always. For two years, I'd been following Angela's career, but it was only then that I realised exactly why I'd felt so jealous each time I'd read that she was singing with someone else.

To sing love duets with the person you love is magnifique. We are natural together. Angela instinctively knows how I am going to move and I am the same with her. I am so very sure of Angela that when I have finished singing and it is her turn, I am totally relaxed.

Because we had met in La Boheme, we decided that we would marry in New York while we were singing La Boheme at the Met. But it wasn't easy to find a space in the schedule. At the same time as the performances, we were rehearsing for a huge, six-hour Gala concert. We literally had to snatch 10 minutes between rehearsals to go down to City Hall, the day before the Gala.

At home in Paris we are always singing, but I sing much more than Angela does, so, from time to time, I have to tell myself to shut up. Our ways of working and learning roles are quite different. I'm much more instinctive and like a wild animal, but Angela is totally organised, planning everything she does. Between the two of us, something happens. I give Angela my instinctive feelings and she gives me back her organisation. The results are usually not too bad.

Because both of us have such strong feelings, we argue, but they are always very good quality arguments and neither bears the other any grudges. To be honest, I try to argue as much as possible because it is always so wonderful between the two of us afterwards.

Of course, people are very happy for us, but sometimes they ask if this is all too much of a fairy-tale and, with all the pressures and the media attention, will we really live happily ever after? All I can say is that critics are much harder on me now that I am so happy. I think they were kinder when I was this sad, poor guy going through such a difficult time. I am a new man. My old story, it's not me. This is a new life. It's true I have known great sorrow, but now I am blessed with so much joy.

When my daughter first met Angela, she was very young. And so, for now, Angela is Mummy to her when she needs her. When Ornella is older, we will tell her about what happened to her real mother. Angela sings to her and plays with her. They get on very well.

Although Angela and I have two different agents, many music directors want us to work together, which is wonderful for us. Because we hate to be apart, if we're not in the same production, we try, whenever possible, to record in the place where the other one is singing. I need to be close to Angela, so I always watch her from the wings.

For the rest of this year, we have to work intensely, but we are trying to organise our lives better. In the future, our plan is to sing opera for one year and then recitals for one year. It's a question of getting the balance right - singing as much as possible but still leaving time to live as much as possible. I know very well just how precious life is. Since I met Angela, every morning I open my eyes, look to heaven, give my thanks to "upstairs" and wake up happy. !

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders