Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Is Villaz髇 truly back?

          
   
    Bookmark and Share
  1. #1
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,001
    Post Thanks / Like

    Is Villaz髇 truly back?

    Lately I've heard of Rolando Villaz髇 making a comeback. I was browsing the 2018/19 season books in the European companies I just visited, and saw his name scheduled to sing Don Ottavio at the Wiener Staatsoper, and more surprisingly, Pell閍s at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden!!! He recently sang in a full recording of La Clemenza di Tito for DG, and he is scheduled for numerous concerts and recitals in Paris, Dresden, Salzburg, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Zurich, and others.

    I have not heard or seen him in years, so, with all this activity, my question for others who may be more in tune with his recent pursuits is: is his voice truly back?

    I mean, Don Ottavio is a small and easy role, but Pell閍s is not, and if a house as important as the Staatsoper Unter den Linden is willing to schedule him for such a major role (and it's a role debut for him, no less), I wonder if he has made a significant recovery after his vocal troubles of the past.

    Any info on the status of his voice?

    I'm rooting for him that he is doing well... I always liked the guy.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); July 18th, 2018 at 12:32 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  2. #2
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    3,584
    Post Thanks / Like
    I don’t know - but the Staatsoper has Domingo scheduled to sing again next season (Nabucco), so I’m not sure vocal quality figures all that much into the equation. Caveat Emptor.

  3. Likes Ann Lander (sospiro), MAuer liked this post
  4. #3
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,001
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    I don’t know - but the Staatsoper has Domingo scheduled to sing again next season (Nabucco), so I’m not sure vocal quality figures all that much into the equation. Caveat Emptor.
    Good point.

    Maybe our new member Opera1 who is a voice teacher might listen to some clips and tell us how he thinks Rolando's voice is doing. By the way, can we tag someone here? I actually don't know. Let me try.

    @Opera1

    I guess not (usually @ + the ID turns into a link when tagging is enabled), so I hope he sees this thread.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  5. #4
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,001
    Post Thanks / Like
    This doesn't bode well: the YouTube clips we get when we search for Rolando mostly are all old. And the only recent one I saw, the one with a trailer/publicity for his new CD recording of La Clemenza di Tito, has Joyce DiDonato singing while Rolando only speaks about the recording.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  6. #5
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Midwestern U.S.
    Posts
    3,231
    Post Thanks / Like
    Villaz髇 sings all of the leading tenor roles in N閦et-S間uin's cycle of Mozart opera recordings. Reviews I've come across in various publications have been mixed.

  7. Likes Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) liked this post
  8. #6
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    5,885
    Post Thanks / Like
    He's also been doing some directing - La Traviata and L'Elisir in Baden-Baden. Unfortunately he seems to have only one idea - "Send in the Clowns", which can just work for L'elisir (although I still didn't like it) but La Traviata?
    Natalie

  9. Likes MAuer liked this post
  10. #7
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    5,885
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Villaz髇 sings all of the leading tenor roles in N閦et-S間uin's cycle of Mozart opera recordings. Reviews I've come across in various publications have been mixed.
    Yes, he has reinvented himself as a Mozart tenor, but of course the persistent strain in his voice is usually pretty evident there. I remember when I was getting back into opera and he was the tenor du jour - I did like his voice, and he is a sweetheart, but was always uneasy about the way he would scoop up to challenging notes.
    Natalie

  11. Likes MAuer, Hoffmann liked this post
  12. #8
    Junior Member Newcomer
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    4
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Good point.

    Maybe our new member Opera1 who is a voice teacher might listen to some clips and tell us how he thinks Rolando's voice is doing. By the way, can we tag someone here? I actually don't know. Let me try.

    @Opera1

    I guess not (usually @ + the ID turns into a link when tagging is enabled), so I hope he sees this thread.
    Hi.
    Thanks for the inclusion.
    I am a historical singers person. I am not a fan of modern singers. I do not follow them much.

    I did listen to some recent recordings. Unfortunately, Villazon has a lot of problems. He didn't have a solid technique when he started out, which has not prepared him properly for his career.

    A big problem for him is, he doesn't seem to cover when he reaches certain notes such as F, F# or G. Lighter tenors normally cover around F#. This is really dangerous and harmful to the voice. Not covering reduces vocal quality and shortens the range.

    His singing to me is partly nasal and masky. It makes the sound muffled and unattractive.

    He lacks squillo or core in the voice. His singing is very heady light mechanism.

    His sound is a little depressed. Meaning there is some compression constriction on his mechanism that muffles the sound. This is due the nasal masky quality. It actually makes the sound more throaty. The forward placement depresses the larynx.

    He also cannot keep still when he sings. It drives me crazy.

    Sorry for sounding negative. But that is what i hear.

    He seems like a very nice guy. He has boundless amounts of energy and enthusiasm. It is good that he has chosen to do lighter repertoire. His mistake was to attempt anything heavy. His voice is very lyric. He has always been a good advocate for opera. I wish him all the best. Thanks for mentioning me.

  13. #9
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    3,584
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Opera1 View Post
    Hi.
    Thanks for the inclusion.
    I am a historical singers person. I am not a fan of modern singers. I do not follow them much.

    I did listen to some recent recordings. Unfortunately, Villazon has a lot of problems. He didn't have a solid technique when he started out, which has not prepared him properly for his career.

    A big problem for him is, he doesn't seem to cover when he reaches certain notes such as F, F# or G. Lighter tenors normally cover around F#. This is really dangerous and harmful to the voice. Not covering reduces vocal quality and shortens the range.

    His singing to me is partly nasal and masky. It makes the sound muffled and unattractive.

    He lacks squillo or core in the voice. His singing is very heady light mechanism.

    His sound is a little depressed. Meaning there is some compression constriction on his mechanism that muffles the sound. This is due the nasal masky quality. It actually makes the sound more throaty. The forward placement depresses the larynx.

    He also cannot keep still when he sings. It drives me crazy.

    Sorry for sounding negative. But that is what i hear.

    He seems like a very nice guy. He has boundless amounts of energy and enthusiasm. It is good that he has chosen to do lighter repertoire. His mistake was to attempt anything heavy. His voice is very lyric. He has always been a good advocate for opera. I wish him all the best. Thanks for mentioning me.
    Hi Opera1, I'm a little late, but welcome to OL! Thanks for your analysis. I have to admit that even as a long time opera lover, I don't really understand many of the technicalities associated with singing. I wonder, when you have the chance, if you would mind providing a bit more detail so that I might better appreciate your comments.

    To start, I will say that while I know who Rolando Villazon is, I am not much familiar with his singing. I have not seen him live, and I own only two recordings: He is in the ensemble on Vivaldi's Ercole (2010), which I love, and Yannick N閦et-S間uin's recording of Die Entf黨rung aus dem Serail, of which I am not all that fond (I lean toward historical singers for this opera, except for the Solti with Edita Gruberova (1987)).

    I am, for example, not certain what you mean by "cover" - is this just a point of no return for some singers, or a necessary or useful technique when hitting high notes?

    I have seen people refer to squillo, but don't really know what that means.

    Also, when you say that you are "a historical singers person", how historical? The great singers from the 1930s thru 1950s and/or 1950s thru 1970s?

    Given your historical singers preference, what would you say about Maria Callas?

    Forgive me, I know I've asked a lot, so break it up if it's easier. I appreciate your time!

  14. #10
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,001
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Opera1 View Post
    Hi.
    Thanks for the inclusion.
    I am a historical singers person. I am not a fan of modern singers. I do not follow them much.

    I did listen to some recent recordings. Unfortunately, Villazon has a lot of problems. He didn't have a solid technique when he started out, which has not prepared him properly for his career.

    A big problem for him is, he doesn't seem to cover when he reaches certain notes such as F, F# or G. Lighter tenors normally cover around F#. This is really dangerous and harmful to the voice. Not covering reduces vocal quality and shortens the range.

    His singing to me is partly nasal and masky. It makes the sound muffled and unattractive.

    He lacks squillo or core in the voice. His singing is very heady light mechanism.

    His sound is a little depressed. Meaning there is some compression constriction on his mechanism that muffles the sound. This is due the nasal masky quality. It actually makes the sound more throaty. The forward placement depresses the larynx.

    He also cannot keep still when he sings. It drives me crazy.

    Sorry for sounding negative. But that is what i hear.

    He seems like a very nice guy. He has boundless amounts of energy and enthusiasm. It is good that he has chosen to do lighter repertoire. His mistake was to attempt anything heavy. His voice is very lyric. He has always been a good advocate for opera. I wish him all the best. Thanks for mentioning me.
    You're welcome. Thanks for the detailed reply. Well, that explains why poor Villaz髇 burned out so fast. It is regretful that someone, like you said, with a nice personality and enthusiasm for opera, didn't get good coaching that would have stopped him from going into damaging repertory, and good protective technique. His case should serve as a warning to other light tenors who get attracted to a fast rise to fame and are not prudent in their repertory choices, and don't prepare their voices adequately.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); August 18th, 2018 at 03:48 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  15. #11
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,001
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    Hi Opera1, I'm a little late, but welcome to OL! Thanks for your analysis. I have to admit that even as a long time opera lover, I don't really understand many of the technicalities associated with singing. I wonder, when you have the chance, if you would mind providing a bit more detail so that I might better appreciate your comments.

    To start, I will say that while I know who Rolando Villazon is, I am not much familiar with his singing. I have not seen him live, and I own only two recordings: He is in the ensemble on Vivaldi's Ercole (2010), which I love, and Yannick N閦et-S間uin's recording of Die Entf黨rung aus dem Serail, of which I am not all that fond (I lean toward historical singers for this opera, except for the Solti with Edita Gruberova (1987)).

    I am, for example, not certain what you mean by "cover" - is this just a point of no return for some singers, or a necessary or useful technique when hitting high notes?

    I have seen people refer to squillo, but don't really know what that means.

    Also, when you say that you are "a historical singers person", how historical? The great singers from the 1930s thru 1950s and/or 1950s thru 1970s?

    Given your historical singers preference, what would you say about Maria Callas?

    Forgive me, I know I've asked a lot, so break it up if it's easier. I appreciate your time!
    This video explains what covering is:



    Squillo is the Italian word for "ring." It is a trumpet-like song. It's also called ping. It's related to the ability to project the voice above a full orchestra, to pierce through it, to get to the audience.

    So, a tenor who possesses the ability to produce good squillo will have a bright and brilliant resonance that has a ping that can be heard above and through the orchestra.

    Franco Corelli is a frequent example when it's a matter of demonstrating good squillo. At 1:40:

    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); August 18th, 2018 at 03:45 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  16. Thanks Hoffmann thanked for this post
    Likes MAuer liked this post
  17. #12
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,001
    Post Thanks / Like
    Opera1, I was thinking about something you said - not a fan of modern singers. Every generation has a number of great singers. And of course, many mediocre singers. The thing about the singers of the past, is that we don't remember the mediocre ones. We remember the great ones, and we have the luxury of looking at various generations, so the great ones seem numerous. But at any given time, I'm sure that the percentage of mediocre ones was just as significant as it is today.

    There are some good ones, today. For example, Michael Spyres is a solid tenor in the bel canto repertory. Elina Garanca is a mezzo with very good technique. Philippe Jaroussky is a great countertenor. Nina Stemme is a formidable dramatic soprano. And so on and so forth. There are always good ones, in every generation.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  18. Likes MAuer liked this post
  19. #13
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Midwestern U.S.
    Posts
    3,231
    Post Thanks / Like
    Completely separate from all of the other reviews in the latest issue of Opernwelt is an article that includes a review of the new CD recording of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, but also raises the question of why Villaz髇 continues to be engaged for performances and recordings by leading conductors in spite of his clearly damaged voice. When Deutsche Grammophon decided seven years ago to produce a cycle of Mozart opera recordings based on performances at the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus with Yannick N閦et-S間uin on the podium and Villaz髇 singing the principal tenor roles (including Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro), there was already a question of whether or not the singer’s voice, which had already manifested enough damage in the 2006-07 season to create a vocal crisis, would ever again be close to what it once was. The writer of this article asks if it was courage, self-delusion, or fulfillment of contract obligations that led the tenor to undertake the role of Tito. His instrument was already sounding “astonishingly pallid and raw” in the DG recordings of Die Entf黨rung aus dem Serail and Cos fan tutte. In the new La Clemenza di Tito, Villaz髇’s account of the early Act I aria, “Del pi sublime soglio,” is overshadowed with hoarseness; he struggles to produce heroic expression in the later “Ah, se fosse intorno al trono;” and in the Act II “Se all’ impero,” he has his hands full with the sixteenth note coloratura runs.

    The writer recalls the years prior to his vocal crisis when Villaz髇 was the darling of the opera world with his velvety-soft lyric tenor. But he ignored warnings (regarding repertoire and workload), and squandered his vocal capital much as Giuseppe di Stefano and Jos Carreras had done in previous generations. Now it just remains puzzling that, in spite of the sad, negative reactions by voice experts and critics, he’s still appearing in leading roles in major houses: the Pell閍s at the Berlin State Opera and Don Ottavio at the Vienna State Opera that Luiz mentioned at the beginning of this thread. The author observes that, from an artistic perspective, it’s inexplicable that Villaz髇 is still being offered recording projects such as the recent CD of tenor-baritone duets (I think it was actually tenor-bass duets). The writer adds that, according to “well-informed circles,” a dozen takes had to be put together to produce the final result. In his opinion, this situation reflects a remarkable indifference, even a “cynical lack of respect,” toward the music and the artist. In the case of the Tito recording, one wonders why N閦et-S間uin, whose career is headed for the heights, agreed to accept conditions in which his magnificent, inspired reading of this opera was left with flawed casting in the title role. And how did the other soloists feel? The review that concludes the article has glowing praise for Joyce Di Donato (Sesto), Marina Rebeka (Vitellia), Regula M黨lemann (Servilia), and Tara Erraught (Annio), as well as the wonderful clarinetist Romain Guyot, whose virtuosic solos in the arias of Sesto and Vitellia reveal the “inner voice” of these characters.

  20. Thanks Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) thanked for this post
  21. #14
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10,001
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mary, this sounds rather definitive! Too bad that I didn't know of any of this when I visited the Berlin State Opera and the Vienna State Opera this past July because I could have included the topic in my interviews (or at least, in my "in off" conversations). On the other hand, I strongly doubt that they would want to answer such challenging questions on the record, and these houses ask for a preview of the interview before it is published, so even if someone answered, I'd assume the answer would be vetoed and we wouldn't be able to publish it. But I could at least have inquired about it "in off" for my own curiosity and my own understanding of the the inner workings of the opera world, in which case I wouldn't be able to divulge the answer anyway (I profoundly respect the "in off" condition and have never violated it, and will never do so, not even in the secure staff area of this site).

    For an artist to be willing to spill the beans "in off", he or she needs to entirely trust the journalist, and this was my very first visit to the Vienna State Opera so I wouldn't expect much trust, but I do have some capital with the Berlin State Opera given that it was my second visit there, and they were very pleased with the results of the first one, so it would be more likely that they would tell me more about these artistic choices, had I asked.

    But this is a topic that I'm curious about - why exactly certain extremely well-known conductors with very high standards accept to work with some artists whose voices are extremely low standard, either forever (one thinks of Fabio Luisi and Andrea Bocelli), or after vocal damage (N閦et-S間uin and Villaz髇). I would hope that money is not the only determinant factor... One would hope that such spectacular conductors have passed this stage where money would dictate everything. I'd hope for some artistic integrity. So, I'd hope for the reason being something else, such as contractual obligations that one can't walk away from, even if one wanted to do so.

    Now, the other side of this, of course, is Villaz髇's side. I'd hope that he would realize himself that his voice is no longer up to standards, and would stick with his other projects, such as stage direction. It is sad to see such a nice artist and person like Rolando, persisting with attempts to sing, when he is no longer equipped to do so.

    What he should be doing, is giving lectures to students and young singers in conservatories and ensembles, to warn them of the dangers of over-working a voice and picking the wrong repertory. He could become a spokesperson in a crusade against greedy agents who couldn't care less if a young artist gets damaged or not, as long as they get their cut while the artist is still on top. Some of our interviewees went on record to speak up against it, such as Jessica Pratt:

    "Unfortunately in many cases it is simply a game of numbers. An agency can choose to take one singer who wants to preserve their voice and sing for forty years, keeping to a specific repertoire and choosing carefully their productions and with whom they work, or an agent can take on a series of young singers who will sing anything under any conditions for five to ten years before they burn out. Taking an example of 20 years, a singer who wants to preserve their voice might choose to do only five or six productions a year; on the other hand an agency can choose to take on four young singers who are willing to do ten productions a year, but will more than likely throw them away after five years. They make more money with the four short careers, than with the one who will sing less frequently for twenty years."
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  22. Likes MAuer liked this post

Similar Threads

  1. OTF Back to Bach favourites
    By itywltmt in forum Non-Operatic, Non-Vocal Classical Music
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: January 11th, 2018, 10:53 PM
  2. OTF Nelligan: The Back Stories
    By itywltmt in forum Educational Threads
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: January 11th, 2014, 09:17 PM
  3. Replies: 14
    Last Post: October 10th, 2012, 06:48 PM
  4. Replies: 9
    Last Post: June 19th, 2012, 09:15 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


free html visitor counters
hit counter




Official Media Partners of Opera Carolina

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Opera Carolina

Official Media Partners of NC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of North Carolina Opera

Official Media Partners of Greensboro Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Greensboro Opera

Official Media Partners of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute and Piedmont Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute
of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Piedmont Opera

Official Media Partners of Asheville Lyric Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Asheville Lyric Opera

Official Media Partners of UNC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of UNC Opera
Dept. of Music, UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences

www.operalively.com

VISIT WWW.OPERALIVELY.COM FOR ALL YOUR OPERA NEEDS