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Standing ovations

Rolando Villazón performs in Munich,
appreciated by TESS CREBBIN


Standing ovations, Bravissimo calls and an enthralled audience rewarded Rolando Villazón for his 19 June 2005 performance at the Hercules auditorium in Munich, Germany, proving beyond doubt that the young Mexican tenor is well on his way to joining the league of opera immortals and living legends.

Only one year ago, when the late conductor Marcello Viotti recognized Villazón's exceptional talent and helped him to impress worldwide audiences with a smashing début CD of Italian tenor arias, he was the secret tip among classical music journalists as the next great star on the opera stage. Now he has arrived there, and how quickly and splendidly!

The late Marcello Viotti, who discovered Villazón. Photo © Johannes Ifkovits
The late Marcello Viotti, who discovered Villazón. Photo © Johannes Ifkovits

What Thomas Hampson does for baritones, Villazón does for tenors: youthful energy, coupled with great dramatic talent and an extraordinary voice. Like all operatic superstars, Villazón has his own special magic touch. In his case it is the baritonal element to his tenor voice, the way he uses all aspects of his voice by skilfully handling it like a precious instrument, and how he interacts with his beloved Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra (Bavarian Radio Orchestra). Villazón has stayed loyal after the untimely death of conductor Marcello Viotti, who took the orchestra to world-wide fame. He has just finished recording another CD with them. Villazón's début CD was still under the baton of Viotti while his second CD, Arias, was only of French arias and so was done with the Choeur et Orchestre Philarmonique de Radio France conducted by Evelino Pidò (Virgin Classics 5 45719 2). But his third CD will be with the Bavarian Broadcast Orchestra again, which many recording industry insiders, as well as audiences everywhere, consider to be one of the best.

Rolando Villazón Arias CD. © Virgin Classics
Rolando Villazón Arias CD. © Virgin Classics

The demand to see Villazón and 'his' orchestra was enormous. Tickets sold out fast, and even old ladies were left with standing room only. 'But I don't mind', said one of them before the concert, 'he is a great star and I would do anything to see him.'

Bravo calls and thunderous clapping rewarded each one of Villazón's arias, and the young Mexican impressed with a mixture of Latino charm, extraordinary vocal talent and his very own way of relating to his audience so that they were all left thinking he was their personal friend. Having wanted to become an actor at some stage, the young Mexican's dramatic talent is considerable and he brings each aria alive not just with his voice but also his expressions and body movements.

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Copyright © 10 July 2005 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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