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THE NEXT DOMINGO?

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TESS CREBBIN spotlights
the young Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon

 

When writing about classical music one always gets sent CDs of promising new tenors and each time someone claims: you have to hear this one, he's the new Pavarotti. Usually, these new tenors are people with either good voices or good looks or a combination of both, who may be here to stay one day, perhaps even two. Then the hype dies down, sometimes they lose their high Cs, and before too long the 'hot new tenor' has ruined his voice and we hear nothing more of them.

But here is one young man who will not disappear. While he may not be the next Pavarotti there is a hell of a good chance that he could be the next Domingo. They are of the same nationality and his vocal timbre is identical. If any of the young tenors is certain to go the distance then it is this young Mexican, Rolando Villazon.

'This one you must hear', someone told me recently, and from the first note that came out of this young man's mouth, I was hooked. Now, that is a voice! His phenomenal début CD, Italian Opera Arias, keeps selling like hotcakes and until the year 2008, this young man is now completely booked out.

Rolando Villazon - Italian Opera Arias - Münchner Rundfunkorchester - Marcello Viotti. VC 5 45626 2. CD cover © Virgin Classics
Rolando Villazon - Italian Opera Arias - Münchner Rundfunkorchester - Marcello Viotti. VC 5 45626 2. CD cover © Virgin Classics

His recent Covent Garden début in Les Contes d'Hoffman caused The Daily Telegraph to write: 'History may well end up ranking him as one of the great 21st century opera singers.' And The Times [London] wrote: 'Villazon is the real thing, a tenor with star potential and striking individuality.'

'I wanted him for the Fenice in Venice', says conductor Marcello Viotti, 'but there was no chance'. Viotti is only one of many people to recognize the truly phenomenal talent of the young Mexican whose voice is so close to the young Domingo that one hardly hears the difference between them.

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Copyright © 31 May 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany

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