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Italian Opera Arias
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Product Description

This is a glorious debut recital by a tenor, from whom, if he sings the right roles and keeps way from jet-setting and too much singing, might just be the lyrico-spinto tenor we've been waiting for. He has the class of Carlo Bergonzi and a ringing tone which is somewhere between Domingo's big, dark sound and Pavarotti's brightness; he sings with a true mezza voce (not a falsetto); he always obeys the composer's markings and delineates character. He seems incapable of vulgarity, refusing to gulp or sob when a musically expressive gesture will do. The opening aria here--from L'Arlesiana--is so beautifully, touchingly sung that it's a heartbreaker; he doesn't take the usually opted-for high note near the end, but never fear: in the Traviata and Boh豕me excerpts, Villazon offers big, whopping high Cs. This CD is a knockout; let's hope it's only the beginning of an illustrious career, both recorded and live. --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews:

  • definitely a keeper
    I appreciate the preceeding reviews, and I add my voice because I am probably the most difficult listener to satisfy in the world. Yet this disc made me happy. If I award it 5/5 stars, this would suggest that Villazon compares to such greats as Bjorling or Smirnov, or has the vocal resources of a Del Monaco or Di Dtefano. He is none of these. But he is easily as fine a singer as the Big Three (Pav, Domingo, and Carreras) ever were. My only regret is that while on the NYCO telecast of La Boheme, he sounded a lot like Corelli (a distinctive voice I liked a lot), in this album he sounds at times indistinguishable from Domingo. This is not a bad thing, but I would have preferred his keeping the timbre I heard on the telecast. So far as technique and musicianship he is fine, though his high notes are not well supported (I am sure he will improve this), and he has little head voice to speak of (a problem with all the current tenors). I am not sure why several of his admirers specifically referenced this technique. If I were to pick the things I like best about him it is his voice, and his legato. I agree with the other reviewers that this tenor is certainly the foremost tenor of our time, FAR ahead other stars like Alagna or Alvarez, whose voices strike my ears like lemon does the tongue. Villazon is no Anselmi or Caruso, but to say he is the next Domingo or Pavarotti is not hyperbole. My most serious reservation relates not to his singing, but his management, because his career just does not seem to be corresponding to his talent, as opposed to Alvarez or Alagna or Lycetra, whose careers seems to have outstripped their voices....more info
  • New opera star
    Last February, it was a pleasure for me to assist to a recital in the Bellas Artes theater called S谷ptima Gala Latina, here in Mexico city, performing two young Mexican soloists, Francisco Ladr車n de Guevara, violinist, and Rolando Villaz車n, tenor, under the baton of Enrique Diemecke with the Orquesta Sinf車nica Nacional. What a concert!, the 15 years old violinist performing Paganini's first concert was delightful, but after the intermission came the best part, that for me was a kind of discovering the new world, on top of the waves of the ocean of the voice of Villaz車n (qu谷 mamila). It is not usual to find a singer who can deliver his voice easily and fill even the smallest interstices in the theatre, yet if the score demands a legato.
    Hearing the voices of young tenors, my favorite was, before Villaz車n's one, that of Marcelo Alvarez, great and promising singer. But now my hear is filled with the voice of this young compatriot. In the future, we would like to see this man in our National Theatre at least once a year, understanding that music offer us a kind of catharsis of the daily living in the so called third world. The CD? Unbelievable, I've bought three, one for myself, one for my 19 years old little brother, and other for my best friend. I hope we are witnessing the born of a new opera star, and I'll be attendant to new releases of recorded material.

    I hope you enjoy this CD, it's trully worth....more info

  • Another supeb tenor.
    We can be thankful that the old guard of the opera stage has been replaced by a trio of youthful artists. Villazon along with Calleja and Florez makes a great addition to the world of opera....more info
  • One for the collection
    When a new tenor comes onto the scene, why do we have to label him "the young Domingo," or "the new Pavarotti," or "the fourth tenor"? And why do we not talk about the fifth tenor, or the sixth tenor, or the seventh tenor, or ...? There are certainly enough tenors to go around. Reviewer Jeff Anderson wrote, "We are all too eager to crown the next GREAT TENOR ..."
    Why do we not just say, "Here is Rolando Villazon, a fine young tenor with the potential for making his mark on the operatic world"?
    This, which I believe is the first of his recordings, clearly shows that Villazon fits that description. His resume includes well received "Bohemes," "Rigolettos," and "Traviatas" at the Met, as well as numerous performances and concerts around the world.
    Then, unfortunately, "too much, too soon" felled him for several months. Now, he is back on the trail again, hopefully better to manage his career.
    Using this recording as a guide, there is surely the possibility of great contributions to the operatic world, IF he will schedule wisely. We hear the ringing high notes, the lovely head voice when needed, and an unusual volume range. I do agree, however, with top 1000 reviewer madamemusica that in a few of these arias, there is "a lack of discernable personality."

    ...more info
  • Wonderful!!!
    Rolando is a great singer, with a very promising future. The cd is wonderful, he transmits his love and passion for Opera and a lot of emotions. I am sure he is meant to be one of the best opera singers of the XXI Century!!!...more info
  • Polished voice
    This is my third purchase of this cd, two as gifts to family. I can't add much to how others have described villazon's voice: somewhat like Domingo's (no surprise, since Villazon spent his teen years imitating Domingo's singing from records), _extremely_ good use of piano (listen his "E' la solita storia", and the beautiful way that he tails off the ends of some of the phrases), and elegant phrasing.

    I was heart-broken that he was unable to perform at the Met in "Romeo and Juliet" in December; Roberto Alagna was excellent, but Villazon is even better. Until he recovers from his current problems (rumored to be depression), I'll have to satisfy myself with recordings such as this, and hope for his speedy recovery....more info
  • Believe the hype
    If you're as tired as I am of being disappointed by "new" tenors being touted as the next big thing Sr. Villazon will be a pleasant surprise. His voice is warm and rich and exceedingly supple. He covers a wide range of material on this CD, bel canto to verismo, mostly familiar tenor arias, and he sings them all well with apparent joy and boundless enthusiasm. I am eagerly anticipating his next release....more info
  • Wow!
    At first I was reluctant to post a review on this album, as so many others have so eloquently recommended this that there is very little to add.
    Except this: if you love the tenor voice then you MUST buy this album. In an age where we are constantly being reminded of the "death" of classical music and that the golden age of singing is gone for good, it is so exciting to hear a new voice with so much potential and of such ravishing beauty.
    In the past ten years or so, many labels have presented new tenors who they've touted as being successors to Pavarotti and Domingo, but all have disappointed, until now. As someone on this site has said, this is the real thing. I have not heard a voice like this since early Pavarotti, and that's saying something.
    Villazon is a name to watch. In my opinion, he will be the front runner in the next generation of singers, and is definitely in the same league as the greats of the past....more info
  • Is He the One?
    I first heard the name of Rolando Villaz車n this morning, on NPR, when he was interviewed and a few clips of his singing were played. It was, for me, a visceral reaction, like an electric shock. I had not had this kind of reaction to a new (to me) tenor since I first heard Luciano Pavarotti sing in 1968. I spoke briefly with one of my acquaintances who is knowledgeable about opera and singers and she told me how very impressed she was by this young Mexican singer. She and her husband had gone to New York last fall for his Met d谷but in 'La Traviata.' And she has even made arrangements to fly from the east coast to Los Angeles next February to hear him sing in 'Rom谷o et Juliette.' I trust her judgment in these matters, but indeed I really didn't need her to tell me how good this young man is.

    As soon as a record store opened, I rushed to buy a copy of his only solo CD - this one - and I've been playing it more or less non-stop since then. I'm certainly no expert, but try as I might I cannot find anything about the voice, the technique, the musicianship to quarrel with. And the voice retains for me that visceral quality I mentioned. I read the review posted just before this one - by brescd01 - and agree with everything he says. The voice is most similar to that of Pl芍cido Domingo, with something of baritonal quality, but there is also the brightness of Pavarotti. Add to that the musicianship and elegance of Bergonzi.

    For me the high point of the CD is Federico's Lament from Cilea's 'L'Arlesiana.' The thing that comes through, in addition to the exquisite control of this difficult aria, is the utter conviction with which he sings without resorting to any of the more vulgar conventions of Italian tenors.

    But in fact there isn't a weak selection there. 'Una furtiva lagrima' is simply gorgeous, sung with a meatier voice that Pavarotti's but still with Nemorino's innocence. The two Puccini arias ('E lucevan le stelle' and 'Che gelida manina') are sung with ardor, long line, a free ringing top. Oh my. And the list goes on: 'Parmi veder' and 'La donna mobile' can stand comparison with any I've ever heard. In the two Mascagni arias Villaz車n musters the requisite heft without forcing. The accompaniment by Marcel Viotti and the Munich Radio Orchestra is sensitive and nuanced.

    We've been waiting a long time for The Next Real Tenor and if he marshals his resources wisely I think young Se?or Villaz車n just might be The One.

    Urgently recommended.


    Scott Morrison...more info

  • A Musician's Musician AND a Matinee Idol!
    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 the case with "instant stars" one wonders if in the intimacy of the home 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 fare 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....more info
  • A New Star voice
    Rollando Villazon can't fail to impress a listener. He is an enourmous breath of fresh air for people waiting for a new generation of Opera superstars to emerge. Those somewhat dissapointed by the somewhat ncomfortable edge to Salvator Licitra's voice, may take refuge in the freshness of Villazon.
    I don't really want to ruin the magic of his singing, with caddy comparisons, but it is sufficient to say that he excellent. Many compare his to Domingo, to that I would say that Villazon has an ease to his top that Domingo never had, but perhaps lacks the focus and thickness of Domingo's lower registers.
    Overall what hits you most about Villazons performance, is the induviduality of his interpretations and voice. The top of his voice has a ring and tone that sets his apart from the pack.
    To my ear, he sounds at his best in the Mid Period verdi, where the cut of voice come through in the long high-lying passage, (expecially the cut from Traviata,
    Enjoy this incredible singer...more info
  • The real thing
    At last, a new tenor worth crossing the road for. He is absolutely outstanding - burnished, warm baritonal with a free and easy top.

    His renditions are musical, intelligently interpretive with lyric beauty and a heroic ring. Not since the young Domingo have we been blessed by such singing. Indeed, this tenor sounds unnervingly like Domingo from time to time (-listen to the E lucevan le stelle).

    This is a singer with technique, style and passion. The CD is worth every cent - and the waiting has been worthwhile. This is a tenor star....more info