"Ladies and gentlemen from all over the world, welcome to this brand new forum destined to all those opera lovers. It is my intention to create a cultural space to remember the great composers such as Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, as well as all the stars that walked through the most famous stages around the world like Caruso, Gigli, di Stefano, Pavarotti... I also intend this forum to be a debating space where readers can state their opinions, ideas, advises, likes and dislikes.

Through the last years opera has been losing popularity at the expense of more modern music, and though the heyday of the latter is a social and cultural worldwide phenomenon, it would be of great value to retrieve the transcendental meaning of opera in the history of man.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, may the world take its seat, let the curtain raise, come up to the stage with me and be the performers of this experience..."


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Rolando Villazón, the new production of Latin America

Rolando Villazón was born in 1972 in Mexico City, Mexico. He is the new star opera tenor of Latin America, together with many other great opera singers such as the also Mexicans Francisco Araiza and Ramón Vargas, the Argentinian Marcelo Álvarez and the Peruvians Juan Diego Flórez and Luis Alva.

At the age of 11, he began studying music, acting, contemporary dancing and ballet at the Espacios Academy for the Performing Arts. It was the baritone Arutro Nieto, his first voice teacher, who introduced Villazón in the world of opera in 1990. He continued his vocal preparation at the National Conservatory of Music in 1992, under the guidance of Enrique Jaso. There, he sang Dorvil from "La Scala di Sieta", Florville from "Il Signor Bruschino", and Alessandro from "Il Re Pastore". After winning two national contests in Mexico City and Guanajuato, Villazón became a student of baritone Gabriel Mijares, with whom he continued his studies before launching an international career.

He became a member of the Pittsburgh Opera's Young Artists Program in 1998 where he appeared in productions of "I Capuleti ed i Montecchi", "Lucia di Lammermoor" and Samuel Barber's "Vanessa". He subsequently entered the Merola Opera Program of the San Francisco Opera where he performed the role of Alfredo in "La Traviata" and also participated in master classes with Joan Sutherland. Rolando Villazón won the second prize in Plácido Domingo's 1999 Operalia competition as well as the first prize for Zarzuela and the Prize of the Public.

He made his European debut as Des Grieux in Massenet's "Manon" at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, and immediately after came his first appearance in France, appearing as Rodolfo for the Opéra de Lyon in December of 1999, the role of his subsequent debut in Rome. He made then his debut at the Teatro Verdi in Trieste in "La Traviata" and was then invited to replace an ailing colleague in the same work at the Opera Bastille in Paris. These performances in May 2000 brought the artist to international attention.

Rolando Villazón is internationally recognized as one of the leading lyric tenors of our day and has been acclaimed for performances at leading theatres across the world including the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Berlin State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Hamburg State Opera, Opéra de Lyon, Opéra de Nice, Berlin State Opera, New York City Opera and many others. Some call him, and fairly, "the heir of Plácido Domingo".

In August 2005, he sang a highly regarded Alfredo in Verdi's "La Traviata" at the Salzburg Festival, conducted by Carlo Rizzi and directed by Willy Decker, with Anna Netrebko, his frequent singing partner, as Violetta Valéry. They have also appeared together in a video version of Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'amore", available on DVD. For the rest of the 2007 season Villazón cancelled all his performances, including his debut recital at the Carnegie Hall and "Roméo et Juliette" at the Metropolitan Opera House, due to controversial health problems.

After a compulsory five months-rest prescripted by his personal physician, this year Rolando Villazón is back onto the stages full of energy and will to face all kinds of challenges.
"All the odds and hard moments are welcome. That's what makes us complete human beings. These five months have been really important and came when they had to come"
He felt terribly for canceling all his commitments, moreover, he didn't know wether he was facing the end of a successful career or not. Despite all odds, Villazón assures he had full support of two good friends of him, Plácido Domingo and Daniel Baremboin.

The good news is that Rolando Villazón is back, with his voice fully recovered and willing to delight us with his extraordinary talent.

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