Puccini; Verdi; Tchaikovsky; R Strauss; Bizet; Cilea; Flotow; Mascagni; Giordano

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Puccini; Verdi; Tchaikovsky; R Strauss; Bizet; Cilea; Flotow; Mascagni; Giordano
LABELS: Virgin
ALBUM TITLE: Rolando Villazon: Opera Recital
WORKS: Various arias
PERFORMER: Rolando Villazón (tenor); Munich Radio SO/Michel Plasson
CATALOGUE NO: 344 7012
The young Mexican tenor is an impressive artist, and much about his new recital hits the spot. He sings here in four languages, though the aria from Donizetti’s La Favorite should really be in the original French, not an Italian translation. His diction is good without him quite relishing the distinctive flavours of each language as a predecessor like Alfredo Kraus used to. He ranges from material suited to the light-lyric tenor (Pêcheurs de perles, Don Pasquale) to the hefty third-act Ballo aria, which is really spinto territory, and though the tone is not particularly rich in the latter there’s no evident sense of strain, and he’s generously expressive without sliding into vulgarity in Turiddu’s farewell to his mother from Cavalleria. A good musician, he sings whatever he sings scrupulously and accurately. It’s not only (at times) his tone, but also his versatility that recalls the young Domingo.

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Where there’s a limitation is in musical refinement and an imaginative use of the possibilities of the voice to make a good performance exceptional. Enjoyable though his versions of all these arias are – and it’s nice to have the rarity from Flotow’s Alessandro Stradella and the additional aria Verdi wrote for Ernani – it would be even nicer to have them sung with the subtle grace of which Villazón is surely capable. George Hall