Oh no, Rolando

Oh no, Rolando


norman lebrecht

January 10, 2011

The Mexican tenor with vocal and domestic issues that have resulted in frequent cancellations is about to make his debut as an opera director. January 24 in Lyon is where it’s happening – Massenet’s Werther, with Arturo Chacon-Cruz, Karine Deshayes, Lionel Lhote and Anne-Catherine Gillet. Leopold Hager conducts. More here.

Villazon is not scheduled to sing another opera before May, when he is down as Werther at Covent Garden.

Among other less smart career moves, meanwhile, he is promoting Mexico tours for Daily Mail readers and pitching for TV reality slots. Shame. He coulda bin a contender.
Rolando Villazon

Rolando as tour guide in the Mail


  • Marie Lamb says:

    I’m sorry to say that Rolando Villazón has become a prime example of one of my most-used phrases: “Just because you CAN do something…
    doesn’t mean you SHOULD.” It is sad to see someone with his talents in such vocal and personal trouble, and much was due to some very wrong choices of repertoire. Nobody can sing everything or sing everywhere, and such choices as “Don Carlo” and the Verdi Requiem certainly didn’t help his condition. When you combine too-heavy repertory with a tendency to throw oneself into performances without having some reserve to draw on, it’s no wonder that Villazón got into vocal trouble. It’s like driving a car with an oil leak; you might get a short distance, but the engine will soon seize up beyond repair if it’s not attended to. Vocal cords don’t come with a “Check Engine” light; their owners need to rely on good sense and careful use of their voices, since one can’t install another larynx the way one can replace a car’s engine.
    Another thing I think might have been a factor is that perhaps Villazón came back too soon after his surgery for vocal nodes. He might have done better to follow the example of the very wise soprano Lucrezia Bori, who did not sing in public from 1915 to 1919 after surgery for nodes, and who waited until 1921 before returning to a house the size of the Old Met. Also, once Bori was back, she stayed away roles that were too much for her voice. With this reasoned approach, Bori lasted until 1936 at the Met with no recurrence of nodes, and later served honorably on the Met’s Board of Directors. Here’s an introduction to Bori for those who’d like to know more: http://www.cantabile-subito.de/Sopranos/Bori__Lucrezia/bori__lucrezia.html
    Villazón, sorry to say, does not strike me as someone who is as cautious and patient as Bori was. It’s just not in his temperament to stay away from performing for so long, or to adopt a more circumspect approach, even if it might help him heal once and for all. Thus, I have my doubts that he’ll sing again with his former ease and beauty, although nobody would me more pleased than I to be proven wrong. Given his temperament and the current state of his voice, he’s probably better off if he concentrates on operatic production and other well-chosen non-singing pursuits. Here’s hoping he can put all his energy and personality to good use!