‘Villazon Verdi’ – more than opera

Mexican-born tenor Rolando Villazon’s return to singing after a hiatus due to throat surgery has been welcomed by his followers.

After an absence of some three years from the recording scene, Villazon has released a solo CD Villazon Verdi singing the repertoire he does bestReleased in November 2012. (DG 477 9460), the studio recording was made in Milan in September 2012 with the Orchestra and Choir of the Teatro Regio Torino, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, and includes solo contributions from soprano Mojca Erdmann and tenor Vicente Ombuena.

The collection of 15 arias spans compositions from Verdi’s first (Oberto, his debut opera) to his final works (Requiem and Falstaff). It’s strength lies not just in mixing the popular (La donna e mobile and Lunge da lei…) with the more esoteric operatic repertoire, (Eccomi prigioniero from I Corsaro), but in the inclusion of three rarely heard cameos from Verdi’s songs for voice and piano, and the anguished Ingemisco from the Requiem, Verdi’s monumental sacred work. The three songs, Brindisi, L’esule and In solitaria stanza are Berio’s orchestrations. The diversion from an all-opera Verdi CD makes for a welcome variation in interest and a demonstration of Verdi’s and Villazon’s breadth of style.

Villazon’s voice is magnificent and he sings powerfully throughout his range with the myriad significant demands of   the  repertoire,  delivering drama with shimmering cadenzas, extrovert passion and slower introspective passages. The orchestra sounds fabulous and the musical direction is supportive and elastic.

Recent stage appearances by Villazon include Rodolfo at the Royal Opera Covent Garden in December 2012 and in January 2013, his role debut as the title character of Mozart’s Lucio Silla in Salzburg, conducted by Marc Minkowski with Les Musiciens du Louvre. He sings in La Traviata at the Vienna State Opera in March; he has Mozart’s Requiem lined up with the Berlin Philharmonie in  April, L’elisir d’amore in Barcelona in May-June and a reprise of Lucio Silla at the Salzburg Festival in July – August. For much of his time during the first half of the year he is touring with Europe with his programme of Verdi arias. Hopefully this recording presages the return of Villazon’s stage voice to full strength and that he will sound as glorious in vivo as he does on this CD.

Shamistha de Soysa for SoundsLikeSydney©


















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