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Ivana (děkuji moc!) nos ha ha hecho llegar un resumen en inglés (procedente de Opera Lively) de la entrevista que le dedicó a Rolando Villazón la revista alemana Das Opernglas, en su número de junio, con motivo del reciente Elisir de Baden Baden. Dice algunas cosas que ya conocemos, pero también apunta y aclara sus proyectos, como el de cantar, antes de 2020, los roles mozartianos de FERRANDO (Così fan tutte), IDOMENEO, LUCIO SILLA, TAMINO (Die Zauberflöte) , BELMONTE (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) y DON BASILIO (Le Nozze di Figaro). También aclara que la novela (supongo que la que ya ha escrito, no la segunda) se publicará primero en español y después en alemán.
Das Opernglas - June, 2012
Interviews - Rolando Villazon
The tenor is this issue’s “cover boy,” and his interview is packed with all sorts of fascinating information:
- The first part of the interview focuses on his new role as a stage director as well as a singer. After his directing debut in a production of Werther in Nice, he has now directed a production of L’Elisir d’Amore at Baden Baden’s Whitsun Festival – while singing Nemorino. Initially, he concentrated on directing; during rehearsals, another tenor sang Nemorino (his cover?). He joined in as a singer in gradual steps, then sang the complete role at the dress rehearsal. Other cast members included Miah Persson (Adina) and Ildebrando d’Archangelo (Dulcamara). About the latter, Villazon says, “He is, of course, a Don Giovanni, an attractive man with strong dramatic energy. Then he suddenly flips a switch and is instantly a comedian! That’s unbelievable.” In Villazon’s staging, the opera’s setting is both a film studio and the movie itself; Dulcamara here is the film director.
-He and the other singers thought through every one of their actions as they worked on his staging. As he explains, he doesn’t believe in total freedom onstage, but says singers feel most comfortable when there is a structure they can follow. One of his chief reference materials is a book by the director Yoshi Oida, who had experience in the Nō and Kabuki theaters, was an actor himself, and has staged a number of operas. “Through the book, I have learned to find (different) ways of dramatizing emotions,” Villazon says.
- He thinks many erroneously consider Nemorino a “light” role. By comparison, Cavaradossi is a “heavy” part with several very high notes, is dramatic, and is accompanied by wonderful orchestration. But the role is relatively short. In contrast, he notes, Nemorino is singing throughout much of the first act, and always in the passagio.
- He hadn’t originally planned to do “double duty” (my words) in this production. He was scheduled to sing Nemorino, but Baden Baden still hadn’t secured a stage director. But after his Werther in Nice, Baden Baden’s Intendant, Andreas Möllich-Zebhauser, asked him to direct their L’Elisir d’Amore as well.
- As a stage director, “one must be an eye for all – and have an eye for everything,” he says.
- He is working with Yannick Nézet-Séguin on a “Mozart project,” an audio recording cycle of the composer’s last seven operas. In July, a recording will be released of the Baden Baden Festival production of Don Giovanni, with his Don Ottavio. At this year’s festival, he’s singing Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, which will be the next release in their Mozart series. The project will run until 2020; his next two new roles, after Tamino and Belmonte, will be Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro and the title role in Idomeneo. He is set to sing Lucio Silla next year, and says he also wants to sing Mozart in concert.
- The tenor is also joining the ranks of the authors. He is currently working on a novel that will be initially published in Spain and then later in Germany. (No word about publication in any of the English-speaking countries.)
- For the Verdi anniversary, he will be making a recording of lesser-known arias with Gianandrea Noseda and the Turin Orchestra.
- He doesn’t visualize his career, including the vocal crisis and surgery, in terms of peaks and valleys. “Each career has its own course, and every person has crises in life. These crises belong to life,” he says. He adds that, with every artist or athlete, there are moments when one’s health sends out an alert signal, when one feels one’s physical limits. In spite of that, one wants to go on singing, playing, or fighting, for oneself and for the people for whom one does one’s job – even when one’s health doesn’t want to go along. In the long run, one must take responsibility for one’s decisions. He quotes Philip Roth: “I did what I did.” He says the year during which he wasn’t singing was one of the most beautiful in his life. And the reverse is also true: it can happen that there will be difficult phases in one’s life even when things are going well with the career.
- Many people love the “athlete in the artist” – the high note endlessly held, the long breath, the “wow effect,” as he terms it. Other singers are focused more on their artistry; they research, they explore, they always find some new way of illuminating their performance. He says he always feels an internal struggle between the singer as athlete and singer as artist; both of these aspects belong to him and are inseparable.
- He doesn’t see himself as just a tenor, though “it is a great opportunity to be a tenor, and also a responsibility.” But, he notes, “I am also a father, a friend, a husband, someone who likes to go for walks, enjoys the fresh air, sometimes drinks a beer.”