Perhaps someday someone will explain why the vast majority of today's leading tenors hail from Spain or Latin America. Think of it: Plácido Domingo, José Cura, Ramón Vargas, Marcello Álvarez, and Juan Diego Flórez. Now, add to this starry list the wiry, handsome Mexican Rolando Villazón. Villazón actually has a sound that's remarkably similar to Domingo's. It's burnished, baritonal, with a yearning ache that's directly emotional, and a bright gleam on the high notes that provides a stab of excitement. The collection here (Villazón's solo recording debut) touches on central roles: Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore and Lucia di Lammermoor; Verdi's Don Carlo, Rigoletto, and Traviata; and Puccini's Bohème and Tosca. But Villazón also offers some less familiar fare, including arias from Cilea's L'Arlesiana, Verdi's I Lombardi, and Mascagni's Nerone. Veteran conductor Marcello Viotti elicits warm playing from the Munich Radio Orchestra, and Virgin's recording flatters everyone involved. This disc may turn out to be something of a sleeper, but Villazón is not going to remain under the radar for long. In fact, he's already appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and is currently making the rounds of the world's great opera houses. This superbly satisfying recital will likely be the first of many. Let's hope so, in any case.
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- L'Arlesiana, opera: Act III. Lamento. È la solita storia
- Le duc d'Albe (Il duca d'Alba), opera: Act IV. Recitativo e romanza. Inosservato...Angelo
- L'elisir d'amore, opera: Act I. Aria. Quanto è bella
- L'elisir d'amore, opera: Act II. Aria. Una furtiva lagrima
- Lucia di Lammermoor, opera: Act III. Recitativo ed aria. Tombe degli avi miei.
- I Lombardi alla prima Crociata, opera: Act I. Cavatina. La mia letizia
- Don Carlo, opera: Act I. Aria. Io l'ho perduta...Io la vidi
- Macbeth, opera: Act IV. Aria. O figli...Ah! La paterna mano
- Rigoletto, opera: Act II. Scena ed aria. Ella mi fu rapita...Parmi v
- Rigoletto, opera: Act III. Cazone. La donna è mobile
- La Traviata, opera: Act II. Scena, aria e cabaletta. Lunge da lei...De
- La bohème, opera: Act I. Aria. Che gelida manina
- Tosca, opera: Act III. Aria. E lucevan le stelle
- L' amico Fritz, opera (commedia lyrica) in 3 acts: Act III. Aria. Anche tu Beppe giungi...O amore
- Nerone, opera in 3 acts: Act III. Aria. Vergini, Muse...Quando al soave ane
Performance CreditsRolando Villazón Primary Artist
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Impressive! Tenors who sound like baritones are always a joy! Rosenwege might become as appropriate a comparison as Domingo. One would like to see better support, more openness, and fuller resonance, especially in the softer passages. If that comes, he may very well dominate all who appear in this century!
Welcome, Rolando Villazon! Finally, with the issuing of this excellent CD, we have take-home treasures by the young Mexican tenor who is lighting up opera houses and opera videos around the world. As is so often with "instant stars" one wonders if in the intimacy of the home that the stage product will bear comparison. Fret not, Villazon is the real thing! Although many are finding the need to compare him to other tenors, Villazon stands squarely on his own distinctive style - that style being intelligent, passionate, well-produced and well-utilized vocal technique. Not since Fritz Wunderlich or Jussi Bjorling (there, I did it, too) have we had a tenor who places emphasis on the composers' intentions, being able to produce fireworks when high notes are needed and yet breathe into legato lines with sotto voce and with no apparent seams. He truly understands pianissimo - and that is rare. His voice has a rich and supple color and he is able to move from composer to composer on this disc of Italian Arias like a tenor to the manner born. This initial CD gives us the expected Puccini, Verdi, and Donizetti but it also includes less familiar fair from Cilea and Mascagni. Villazon is a true lyric tenor and is able to step into the spinto sound with complete ease. This is a major new talent and with this recording it sounds as though he is intelligent enough to use his wondrous instrument correctly. He should be around for a long time and doubtless will gain an adoring public to match that of any of the Great Tenors.