Richard Dinsmore | Rego Park, New York United States | 09/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rolando Villazon, the superb Mexican tenor, (who is reportedly ill and who has cancelled all performances for the next four months) has a new CD...that is really not new at all...as it is really composed of arias released previously on his albums of Italian arias, French arias and the zarzuela album with Placido Domingo conducting. The only new piece is his aria from Puccini's Manon Lescout, "Donna non vidi mai," beautifully sung but never before released. The CD consists of arias by Puccini, Gounod, Donizetti, Verdi, Massenet, Tchaikovsky, Cilea, Bizet, Monteverdi and Sorozabal - all brilliantly performed by this magnificent tenor. But the real UNALLOYED JOY of this item is the bonus DVD...a 51 minute concert, filmed in Prague, on November 11, 2005. Maestro Villazon, in brilliant voice, performs before this staid audience in the Czech Republic, and charms, cajoles, and emotionally moves the audience to their feet...proving that this is not merely a great voice but a warm, gracious and heroic human being as well. It is quite a display! Villazon passionately performs excerpts from Donizetti's Il Duco d'Alba, Verdi's La Traviata, Un Ballo in Maschera and I Lombardi, Massenet's Le Cid, Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticano, Giordano's Fedora as well as Rossini's "La Danza" and Sorozabal's "No Puede Ser". He had the audience eating out of his hands as, I'm sure, he will with everyone who views this performance. This is a TRULY EXCEPTIONAL artist and one can only hope that he will recover quickly from whatever ails him. May all he has given to his audiences return to him ten fold."
Howard B. Haimes | Natick, MA | 10/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Viva Villazón (incl. bonus DVD)
Although this is a collection of the "Best of Villazon" it highlights the quality of this young and very passionate singer. His ability to sing various styles only contributes to the sensation. The CD is packaged with a DVD of a live concert from Prague. This DVD alone is worth the price of the CD. It is clear that audiences love his style and his stage presence. Villazon's artistry encompasses passion, style and humility. His sharing of flowers with members of orchestra is a sign of his debt of gratitude in delivering a quality performance.
Of course much has been written about the combination of Villazon & Netrebko leading many to call this today's operatic dream team. His duets with the Russian DIVA are breathtaking in their musicality and passion. Only can only hope that Rolando will soon return to the stage."
Good introduction to a fine tenor
Steven A. Peterson | Hershey, PA (Born in Kewanee, IL) | 07/31/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rolando Villazon is a contemporary tenor. This CD (with an accompanying DVD of a live Prague concert) provides a sense of his craft. As such, listeners will find this a representative introduction to his work. In short, he compares favorably with his contemporaries.
A few examples from the CD. . . .
"Che Gelida Manina" from "La Boheme" is one of my favorite tenor pieces. Once upon a time, when I remembered the words, I'd sing this while driving along (a terrifying thought, I concede). Villazon shows us a smooth and attractive voice. He tends to steer clear of mannerisms (those catches and cries that distress me so much) for the most part (with some exceptions). It does seem that he "scooped" a note early on (if I properly understand the meaning of that term), but not a major problem. He hits the high note at "la speranza" well. Overall, a fine job--although not at the top of the class of tenors historically. From Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore," "Una Furtiva Lagrima." This is smoothly sung, a solid version of a well known aria. He shows the ability to sing at full volume without ugly sounds creeping into his voice. "La Donna e Mobile," from Verdi's "Rigoletto." How does he play the rakish Duke of Mantua? He sings this aria well, showing a nice smooth vocal line. His final "pensier" is pretty well sung (but do I note some scooping?). He takes this piece at a quick pace and throws off his lines well.
Then, the classic "Recondita Armonia" from Verdi's "Tosca." What an aria! A voice of steel is handy here (think Corelli, Tucker, and so on). While Villazon does not quite have that type of voice, he acquits himself well, although some annoying mannerisms creep in. He shows enough power at the close to satisfy.
What of the DVD? This product gives a nice sense of his persona while singing. And it is an attractive presentation that he makes. . . . One of the songs that he sings is Rossini's "La Danza." This is a delightful song. It has some treacherous elements to it. Indeed, in the recording by the great Enrico Caruso that I once listened to, Caruso lost his breath at one point. However, Villazon does not fail! This version is great fun, and the tenor really seems to be enjoying himself. He is sure footed (or voiced?) in his singing.
From "La Traviata," "De Miei Bollenti Spiriti." He has a nice voice for this aria and sings it well, seeming to catch the character in the context of this aria. An occasional mannerism, but no problem. He has an attractive stage presentation. Overall, smoothly sung indeed. So, how does Villazon perform? He is clearly one of the fine tenors of the current era. He does not have the dramatic voice of a Franco Corelli or Richard Tucker. But he handles the repertoire, in my humble view, better than such contemporaries as Licitra and Alvarez. At any rate, a solid CD and an enjoyable DVD. "
The world's greatest tenor
Music Lover | New York | 11/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Villazon is my favorite tenor, past or present. This CD is a great compilation of tracks from his previous recordings. However, the version being released in Europe next week (11/12/07) includes 2 CDs plus DVD for just a few dollars more, so you're better off ordering from amazon.co.uk or another UK retailer."
Mary Ann Troy | California | 05/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is SUPERB. I've played it over and over and haven't tired of it yet (if ever)."