|Rolando Villazón como Des Grieux, en la Manon del Liceu - foto: Antoni Bofill|
Ésta es una muy interesante entrevista publicada en alemán en la página Kath.net, de la KNA (Agencia Católica de Noticias), que difiere en parte de su contenido de la mayoría de entrevistas promocionales. Muchas gracias a Hannah Glaser, que la ha traducido al inglés especialmente para el Blog Villazonista.
Music is the Best Way to Reach God
KNA: Mr. Villazon, your new CD is all about Verdi. What is so very special about him and his music?
Villazon: Verdi was a genius. He did not create music to show off, to demonstrate how brilliant he was as a composer, but to convey feelings to other people. Therefore people loved him for, 200 years ago, and therefore they still love him today. Those who do not know him ought to watch one of his operas and they will love Verdi for the rest of their lives.
KNA: Is Verdi your favorite composer?
Villazon: Verdi is one of my favorite composers. As a listener, as a singer I cannot live without Verdi. I will sing Verdi all through my life. Verdi is very difficult to sing, he demands a lot of singers and musicians, but he also is very rewarding. That is awesome for an artist.
KNA: What would you tell Verdi if you could meet him?
Villazon: Of course I would thank him – for all of it! (laughs). And I would talk with him about life. Many artists see Verdi like a father or even a grandfather. He shows love, opens his arms, nevertheless he was a character of respect. Wagner as a composer is not as near to us as Verdi, he is more a captain, an officer, someone you would die for. And Mozart for me is like a close friend: If we met I would throw a cake in his face and so would he. And then we would dance together and drink. All three are geniuses. But special with Verdi is this intense love of people. When we listen to him, we love him. You have to open your ears and your soul to feel Verdi.
KNA: Is music a way to praise God?
Villazon: Music is the best way to reach God and to talk to God, to feel God because music is a language without words. We understand “Ave Maria” without words because we feel it. Each human being has an idea or a feeling of God, this is not easy to describe. First of all it is: “I don’t want to be alone”. I think someone who believes, gains energy from God. And what he or she wins in that way is also in the substance of music.
KNA: What is God for you in this context?
Villazon: I do not believe in an antropomorphic, human-like God. But we human beings always search for community. Sometimes we also need someone who says: go on, you can do it. I think lots of people are looking for a God who hugs and protects us. But people also need a God who says: Life is a gift, use this gift! Don’t cry! Or cry but then get up and move on, even if the water is up to your neck. When people come together to talk about God and to sing, then there is the idea, they are somehow outside their bodies, all souls united in this special moment. Music gives us the feeling that we can tear down all barriers and that we can reach one another.
KNA: After so many performances, do you still get the jitters before you go up on stage?
Villazon: I am nervous. I ask my children: Give me energy! We call it “the white fire”. When they are with me, they touch me with their hands on the chest, but it also works through the phone. They are two wonderful little human beings whom I love, they are so full of life and seriousness. What I do on stage then in playing, playing is very important in our lives. We try to reach the people, to be an instrument to make time stand still for some hours.
KNA: How did your life change with your two sons?
Villazon: Life is different when you have children. You have the responsibility to prepare two young human beings for life. Some day we will have to say goodbye to them. It is a wonderful love you feel for them, a love that does neither need to hear “Papa I love you”, nor “thank you”. That is like the love of Christ, love that does not ask to get something back. You should not think too much in terms of education. You can simply play and every now and then you think:” Oh, was this a mistake? Will they have to see a shrink some day?” They are number one in my life. Someday I will be alone at home with my wife and I hope we will have a good relationship to the kids and their families, and that we perhaps will play chess together.
KNA: Do your children also change your view of the world?
Villazon: You live in a different world when you learn about the questions the children have. Sometimes I think:”Oh this is a very good question and I don’t have a clue about the answer.” Children are very serious and try to understand the world. For example they ask: “Why are there poor people on the street and rich people in the opera house? Why do rich people spend their money on opera and not donate it to Africa?” And then I wonder what I can do that we have a better world in our small garden. Children are fresh air, they come into this world and you have to rethink everything. If something doesn’t go as it should in my life, I recognize that through the children.
KNA: What would you be today if you had not become an opera singer?
Villazon: Probably I would be clown. I am an ambassador of the “Red Noses”, we go to hospitals as clowns, bring joy to children, who are ill. I could be a clown 100 percent, but I could also be a writer or a stage director.
KNA: Long ago you wanted to become a priest and you lived in a cloister in Mexico for one year. Why didn’t you continue that way?
Villazon: My view at religion changed. I lived with the monks for one year, and I am still fascinated by Jesus. I have read a lot about Jesus, but also about Konfuzius, Socrates, Buddha. Why I did not become priest? Not to marry is very difficult I guess. If I may say that here, I would like to suggest that this should be different in church. Women were very important in the life of Jesus. And I think there should be female priests, too. As far as I am concerned: I simply felt that I would not have been able to live the life of a priest.
Translation: Hannah Glaser