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5 dic. 2013


foto: - Ken Howard/MET

Mientras hoy tendrá lugar la cuarta y penúltima función de Eugene Onegin en el MET, con Rolando Villazón como Lenski, contamos con la magnífica crónica del día 2, envíada por Janet. Great, thank you very much!


Monday, December 2, was my turn at last to experience Rolando’s conquest of the Metropolitan Opera. I have to admit that I had my worries before this sequence of “Eugene Onegin” performances began. The Met is so huge, and for American audiences too often the LOUDER the singer’s voice, the better. And that’s not Rolando’s strength at all. Many other singers have bigger voices - what sets Rolando apart, aside from his beautiful and fascinating tone quality, is that he can create a rainbow of emotional colors with his voice and transmit those emotions straight into your heart. And also he was battling the memories of January 2009 and March 2009 - just before he went out for surgery. It must have been hell for him at the Met struggling with all that anxiety back then. And now he was trying to get back on the horse that threw him.

But I needn’t have worried so much. For Rolando is in a very different place now than he was in 2009, and he is riding that horse into battle with flags flying!

My seat was in the third row, which I think in retrospect was not the best place to be. Yes, I could see every detail of Rolando’s exquisite acting: how he made Lensky sick with nerves before the duel, dropping things, taking his glasses off and then struggling to set them back on his nose again. I had never seen anything like that from a Lensky, and it made you sick at heart for the character and his suffering. I ask Rolando about this afterwards, and he said that he thought Lensky was in way over his head and didn’t know how to handle himself in such a situation. Brilliantly portrayed! And how he slowly lost his composure in the fatal party scene: first embarrassed and slightly annoyed at Onegin’s flirting with Olga, then gradually simmering to a boil until he exploded. And how he treasured his note book for writing his poetry - here I think Rolando was borrowing something out of his own life as a writer.

But I was so close to the stage that I couldn’t hear any of the voices soaring in the auditorium. And I was too caught up in the technique of producing that marvelous voice, and I kept worrying that something might go wrong. But it never did. He rose to the high climaxes beautifully, he floated quiet notes beautifully, he molded phrases with superb imagination, shadings, and colors. My husband, who is a vocal coach, was simply amazed about his sensitivity to words and the shapes of lines and said he could never predict what Rolando would do next, but that it was always wonderfully sensitive and right. We know that Rolando’s physical acting is remarkable, but my husband said that what impressed him most was how Rolando can act with his voice.

Of course, “Ya lyublyu vas” was gorgeous - how could Olga resist?! And “Kuda, Kuda” was spectacular - I couldn’t believe how Rolando was sustaining those long lines at such a slow tempo, filling them with such anguish. The House became totally hushed as if everyone had stopped breathing. And the audience response afterwards was MASSIVE, much louder and more filled with cries of bravo then you can hear in the radio broadcast. And if that damn conductor hadn’t come back in with the orchestra, it would have gone on much longer! It was the biggest ovation of the evening until the curtain calls.

But a quieter moment particularly grabbed me: Lensky and Onegin’s “Nyet, nyet” duet just before the duel. I’ve never heard it sung so well as Rolando and Mattei did it; their voices here - and throughout the opera -blended so perfectly. There is such mutual admiration and sympathy between these two GREAT singers. Once again, at the curtain calls, they embraced, though this time Mattei ran over to where Rolando was and they had an even bigger hug.

I haven’t talked about the other singers. As many have said, this is an absolutely terrific cast - miles beyond the first cast in expressiveness and dramatic power. Peter Mattei was a superb Onegin: his voice smooth and beautiful, but also full of expressive colors. He and Rolando seemed to catch fire from each other whenever they were together. I also liked Marina Poplavskaya VERY much as Tatiana; she really became the character as unfortunately, for me, Anna Netrebko never did. She caught the flavor of an obsessed teenager buried in her books and dreams perfectly; then she became a regal, utterly beautiful, but still troubled lady in the last act. And Prince Gremin was wonderfully sung by Stefan Kocan, with his deep-black bass. Olga was better -and much prettier- too.

Surely, after these triumphant performances, Rolando will be back at the Met again very soon. I’ve heard that he will be Ottavio in “Don Giovanni” next season, but we’ll know for sure in February. He has certainly re-ignited a Villazón fan club at the Met - as the Met Orchestra’s Twitter account said last week: “It’s good to have you back, Rolando!!!!” The orchestra musicians don’t say that for many singers.

Also, Rolando told us backstage that he is especially proud of the new Mozart Arias CD that’s coming out next month, and that it gives the chance to discover some wonderful rare arias that nobody knows.
                                                   BRAVISSIMO, ROLANDO!!!

Janet from Massachusetts

12 comentarios:

  1. Janet, thank you so much!

    After having heard this magical radio recording, it was great to read your enthusiastic words and all the small details of the singing and acting of Rolando and of the performance.

    I expect February with impatience...

  2. Wonderful, simply, wonderful! Thank you so much, Janet! For a moment I thought I was in the third row too...and did not understand why I could not hear... But the magic was there. I am so hapoy that Rolando's return is such a triumph!! Hope when Rolando decides to come back to the Met he will also give us enough time to make plans !!!

  3. Après avoir écouté l'enregistrement( MERCI encore Teresa !!) j'étais absolument éblouie par l'interprétation et la voix de Rolando et je ne trouvais pas les mots pour m'exprimer...

    Janet a su avec son mari dire exactement ce que j'ai ressenti, je recopie donc le passage de sa chronique qui est superbe: " He rose to the high climaxes beautifully, he floated quiet notes beautifully, he molded phrases with superb imagination, shadings, and colors. My husband, who is a vocal coach, was simply amazed about his sensitivity to words and the shapes of lines and said he could never predict what Rolando would do next, but that it was always wonderfully sensitive and right. We know that Rolando’s physical acting is remarkable, but my husband said that what impressed him most was how Rolando can act with his voice."

    C'est exactement ce que je souhaitais dire, je suis encore sous le choc de la surprise et de l'émotion.

    BRAVO ROLANDO !!!!!!!! et ce n'est même pas assez ce simple Bravo.tellement c'est incroyable de beauté et de sensibilité et d'intelligence, époustouflant. Un Lenski ainsi je ne l'avais jamais entendu en 40 ans de spectacles.

  4. Cada cronista Villazonista nos cuenta como vivieron esos momentos maravillosos presenciando "Eugene Onegin"...y lo rico está en que cada una, desde su sensibilidad, y en forma coincidente, nos hace soñar que estamos allí, presentes...Esta vez las gracias a Janet de Massachusetts.
    Y como siempre gracias Teresa, siempre atenta a brindarnos a los Villazonistas todo el material que posees y nos regalas generosamente.

  5. Thank you, Janet, for your beautiful and thoughtful report. I especially appreciated your attention to the small details that make Rolando's performances so special. Your husband's remark about Rolando's unpredictability is spot on. There is always a surprise factor in Rolando's performances. Such a stunning success can only mean more of Rolando at the Met: Don Ottavio? Yes, please.

  6. Thank you so much Janet , j'aime beaucoup ta chronique qui nous détaille si bien le jeu exceptionnel de Rolando, et qui vient complèter l'excellent audio du 2 décembre.

    Un fantastique Oneguin ,avec un Lenski qui vous touche droit au coeur, et vous tire les larmes des yeux.

    Rolando est un artiste hors du commun, et il l'a prouvé encore dans ses interprétations si personnelles de Lenski.

  7. Catherincita6/12/13 10:27

    Many thanks, Janet, for your wonderful analysis of Rolando's performance. C'est un vrai plaisir et aussi une belle émotion que de lire ces lignes dont on sent la réelle sincérité.
    Avec une grande subtilité, cette chronique nous retrace dans les moindres détails, l'interprétation de Rolando dans un rôle qui, bien souvent, passe inaperçu, tellement Tatiana et d'Oneguine sont
    "forts" et omniprésents.Mais comment rester insensible aux talents multiples de celui qui sait incarner TOUS les personnages avec une implication de toutes les secondes ?
    Nous sommes ici terriblement chanceux -(muchas gracias, chère Teresa !)- de pouvoir lire des chroniques de nos talentueuses reporter américaines et de voir tant de photos, illustrées par l'enregistrement intégral de la représentation du 2 décembre. C'est une magnifique consolation pour les nombreux villazonistas "privés" du MET.
    J'adore cette phrase : "...he is riding that horse into battle with flags flying"!
    Mon souhait est que Rolando poursuive ainsi..."sa chevauchée fantastique" vers les plus hautes cimes.

  8. Thanks for the interesting report and the beautiful pictures. This great success at the MET is a joy and Rolando has eamed this honest. I'm really curious about the 3x Lenski in Vienna in March.

  9. Merci beaucoup Janet .Que dire ,sinon me répéter les amis villazonstas expriment si bien ce que j'ai ressenti .Fantastique Rolando qui par son jeu ,son interprétation nous émerveille ,nous enchante ,nous emporte dans les étoiles , nous surprend ,nous émeut au plus profond de nous .

  10. Thank you Tersa for the post.

    Thank you Janet for your report with full of emotions and some interesting details. Particularly interesting that you wrote about Rolando's acting, for example with his glasses, or his note book. And I'm glad that you share with us your husband's thoughts, too.


  11. Dear Teresa, Janet, Joanna and Friends …

    Thank you so much for the detailed reports from the Met performances which gave me insight as I listened with pleasure to the audio download. I have seen and heard this opera several times but can honestly say that I did not fully appreciate or even understand it – until now. What a cast! They infused their characters with real life and helped me to fathom the personalities, and to read “between the lines” the undercurrents of emotion that are felt rather than heard in this opera. All of this with audio only … how powerful it must have been in the theatre!

    I have always liked Marina Poplavskaya (I thought she captured the essence of Elisabetta in the ROH “Don Carlo” with Rolando). For me she is the embodiment of Tatyana, and her letter scene is an exquisite mix of maidenly shyness and the breathless anticipation of a young girl caught in a romantic illusion. The floated high notes are like whipped cream! How different she is in Act 3 – so resolute, her maturity shining through.

    Peter Mattei is a wonderful Onegin – I was especially struck by his rejection of Tatyana in Act 1 – the picture of a nonchalant young man who thinks he is worldly-wise and in control of his own destiny. So sure of himself, and alas, so very wrong! What a contrast to the darkness of his desperation in Act 3! Stefan Kocan is a formidable force as Gremin – his aria is masterful.

    As for Rolando … as always, my emotions rode the rollercoaster with him. I began to feel the premonition as early as the beautiful “Ya lyublyu vas”, where in the outpouring of his heart there is a vague undercurrent of fear – that the free-spirited, pleasure-loving Olga may not return the depth of his love. The Ball scene is always powerful, opening as it does with the sublime waltz that sounds so carefree – such a contrast with what is to come. As things degenerated I felt Lensky’s alternate bewilderment, hurt and anger as he was caught up in a situation that rapidly slipped from his control.

    I felt as if I held my breath for the entire duel scene. “Kuda … Kuda” is full of such aching regret for what might have been. No matter what the outcome of the duel, nothing will ever be the same again. Trust and innocence are gone forever. It is an elegy to life itself … and it pierced my heart. Then, the final pre-duel duet. Like Janet, I loved the perfect blending of the two voices. There is that moment of “maybe if we …” before fatal pride dictates the “nyet”.

    I agree with Joanna that Rolando’s portrayal elevates Lensky way above “supporting character” status. He becomes the symbol of their youth and optimism – and the nemesis of their futures. As he dies in the grey dawn, you know that happiness without tears will never return – for any of them. Like Joanna, I’ve never felt this way about Lensky before … but it is so right!

    Rolando was once quoted as saying, "When opera is really good, it doesn't just touch the ears. It opens your chest and scrambles you up." This is opera at its best. I rest my case …

    Best Regards from Shelley in Australia 

  12. GRACIAS JANET!!!! Excelente crónica, creemé que ansiosa esperaba leer en este apreciadísimo BLOG de TERESA , la vuelta de ROLANDO al MET nos a preocupado mucho a los que tanto admiramos a ROLANDO que sufra una mala jugada emocional por todo lo que mencionas y sobre todo casi pisando los talones del elenco en que actuaba su gran partner y compañera ANNA NETREBKO. Ya con lo que dices tu y tu marido podemos celebrar el triunfo de ROLANDO y la posibilidad, casi sera seguro, de sus próximas actuaciones en el MET y podamos verlo en las trasmisiones en directo en Live HD, nosotros que no tenemos la suerte tuya de verlo personalmente. GRACIAS nuevamente!!!!!!