Browsing around blogland, I was surprised to see that the Alagna story had visibly spread outside the music/opera blog ghetto. To be sure, most posts there were of the short note and link variety, but there seems to be something to the story to catch a blogger's eye, as indeed it's caught the eye of the regular press.
Part of it is, maybe, old stereotyping about opera and its stars, but why do people even care? The interest, I think, isn't unique to opera: a star acting against his public is news almost by definition, as a politican is when doing the same. He makes his own privileged position the issue, leading usually to one of the classic dramatic resolutions: either he becomes the folk hero (that is, pop star) who is actually beloved for getting away with such things, or he's brought down a peg (or two, or a dozen) for his transgression. (Or, sometimes, the whole affair complicates into pure farce...) In any case, the public is satisfied.
What will result here? A bit of everything, I think. Joe Volpe routed Kathleen Battle, whose career petered out fairly quickly after the famous firing. But pure name recognition seems valued more than ever, and in an ever-more crowded field of tenors, Alagna's done a good job of getting his own name press. Is there still such a thing as bad publicity? Perhaps. At any rate, the wild accusations, threats of lawsuit, and claims of conspiracy are keeping the buffo strand no less spotlit than the tragic or popular.