Rolando Villazon: Tenor

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Bernstein,Di Capula,Handel,Leight,Lloyd Webber,Puccini,Tosti,Verdi
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Arias and songs by Di Capula, Verdi, Bernstein, Verdi, Handel, Leight, Tosti, Puccini, Lloyd Webber, Donizetti & Ponchielli
PERFORMER: Rolando Villazón (tenor); Prague Philharmonia/Daniele Callegari, plus other orchestras/conductors
CATALOGUE NO: 477 8854

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Rolando Villazón has developed a new UK audience recently with his frankly populist Popstar to Operastar appearances. At least one assumes that was the intention, as he waited to recover from an operation on his vocal cords before his (second) return to the operatic stage after a substantial gap. Meanwhile this compilation of recordings includes seven new tracks recorded in Prague last December, with a pick-up band and glossy if slightly tinny sound.

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The good news is that, if these are anything to go by, the voice sounds as good as ever. ‘O sole mio’ suggests a complete return to vocal health, ‘Maria’ from West Side Story is sensitive and relaxed, with a beautiful use of head voice at the end. He’s less happy in Lloyd Webber’s Puccini-inspired ‘Music of the Night’. Why does he sing it in a key too low for him? But the Rigoletto and L’elisir arias go well. George Hall