<< -- 2 -- Tess Crebbin IT'S IN YOUR BLOOD
TC: After abandoning the idea of priesthood, you almost became a history teacher. Again, your wife was a determining factor in giving up that career also.
RV: There was one time I recall in our early times when we were in the car, driving along the streets of Mexico, and I had taken up work as a history teacher to finance my voice studies. I said to her: 'Singing is such a difficult career, I don't know if I stand a chance. I don't know how to get out of Mexico and become an international artist, so why don't I stay a history teacher and do singing as a hobby?' And she replied: 'You have made me dream your dream and I am willing to go all the way with you in order for you to fulfil that dream. But you have to be willing to put the courage and strength behind it that I do, too.' So she wouldn't let me give up on myself.
TC: How did she react to your Echo Award? She must be so proud of you ...
RV: There is this special way that she gets very happy and you can see that in her eyes, the way they light up when I say 'We won this or that'. She just goes boom and sparkles. But I'm the opera singer so I am the one who goes jumping and screaming while she just watches me and loves me and then she'll kiss me or something like that. We are such a good team, and so it is really an award that goes to both of us. Let me give you an example. When the CD first started to come out, after Covent Garden when everything changed for the better, my life was so wonderful all of a sudden. Things started happening so fast. She came to me and asked 'How do you feel?' So I said, truthfully: 'You know, it feels like I am in the clouds but in a way I feel that I am gonna get lost in that beautiful sky.' And she told me: 'Don't worry. Just think that you are a kite and enjoy. There is a cord attached to that kite and I am holding that cord so you won't get lost.'
TC: So now you have well and truly taken your career out of Mexico and become an international artist. That can be quite difficult, crossing the international borders when you are from Mexico ...
RV: True, but not in terms of racism. In music, there are no nationalities. In opera, you just go out there and sing, and music becomes everyone's home country. You sing, and if you are good, you will be well received. On the contrary, being a Mexican adds an exotic touch to my career and it has done me good, if anything. I am very happy coming from Mexico because I love the warmth of the people, the happiness that is an intrinsic merit of the Mexican soul. The problem is a different one: I think it is still difficult for us Mexicans to accept success and to believe that as a Mexican you can be up there and you can be the first one to do something. Octavio Paz explained this very well in a beautiful book and he thinks it is because of the Spanish conquest on one hand, and also because we have as neighbor such a strong nation, the United States, on the other hand.
TC: There is something in this. Edith Gonzales, for instance, is one of the best actresses I have ever seen and yet she is virtually unknown outside Mexico. Or the pop singer Lucero, wonderful voice, looks like an angel, big star ... but only in Mexico. But you have succeeded in crossing international borders. They must be very proud of you back home ...
RV: Well, I live in Paris now, but Mexico is still my home. In Mexico, I am being very well received. What is so very nice is that everywhere I go, the Mexican ambassador usually comes to meet me. I am very good friends with the ambassador here in Germany. What was really nice is that he just came up to me and said: I want to be your friend. And let's not forget the Mexican president. We have met a couple of times by now as well.
Rolando Villazon. Photo © 2004 Phil Crebbin
TC: What intrigues me is that someone like you, for whom everything seems to go well, has a very interesting relationship to psychoanalysis. It is something you swear by, you have done it now for nine years, and yet you have a great career, a wonderful wife, and you do not seem disturbed. Why psychoanalysis?
Copyright © 7 November 2004
Tess Crebbin, Germany