“Four years ago it was still too much about my first Hoffmann, my first Covent Garden . . . it was still too much about Rolando Villazón. Now it’s going to be about Offenbach.”
Rolando pimps Les Contes d'Hoffmann, opening next week at the Royal Opera House, and dutifully answers the same ole questions about his recent career break, his controversial Don Carlo, the Netrebko-Villazón phenomenon. All in The Times.
I saw Villazon "in conversation" at the ROH Clore Studio: he was very restless - manic even (he did a shadow puppet display with his fingers whilst the musical excerpts were played). He is obviously a very charming and unassuming man, much troubled with various philosophical questions about art and its meaning, but one does fear for his equilibrium and for his future. Still - I am looking forward to his Hoffmann.
23 November 2008 at 12:33 AM
How I wish I'd been able to go the ROH interview - lucky you! Rolando certainly seems to immerse himself in his roles (unless he just reads books on teh Meaning of Art all the time). I wish the Times interviewer had explored this more - it's by no means universal in the profession. It seems to pay off, judging by yesterday's final Hoffman rehearsal. There's a depth to his portrayal that was less apparent four years ago (I won't comment on the singing as he was clearly saving his voice).
inter mezzo |
23 November 2008 at 12:13 PM
I must say his concern for the characters he plays and for his art and singing in general have a very positive impact on his performances. I think there is no reason to fear for his future, on the contrary, he appears to be exploring different, new things, which can only be beneficial for him as an artit and for his public. Agree with you intermezzo on the greater depth one can appreciate in his more recent performances. It is nice to go to the opera to appreciate much more than just the singing.
23 November 2008 at 05:12 PM
The main worry here is that he seems to be a febrile and unsettled human being, and that this must ultimately detract from his performances, no matter how much he tries to inhabit the character and add more and more layers on top of the tremendous demands of the music. I have seen him in the recent CG Don Carlo, and there was a vivid sensation of danger in his performance - one always felt he was about to come a cropper (and once or twice he did just that). Some may feel that this adds to the excitement, but I found this made me feel very uncomfortable.
There was no mention in the ROH interview of the recent hiatus in his career (although I see that The Times did broach the subject), but having seen him close to, I am certain that his nervy and jittery persona signals that he may have been tired emotionally as well as physically.
23 November 2008 at 11:36 PM
I was at the General and found it very sad and revealing. He has been marking throughout the rehearsal period (understandably - its a long role) but I believe he was singing out fully at the General. This is worrying as his voice is a shadow of what it was. The top notes did not ring out as they should. He has always overdarkened his voice and now he is paying the price. He was not always heard over the orchestra, esp. the Giulietta act with Rice. It is heartbreaking this has happened as he is such an incredible artist in every way.
24 November 2008 at 10:38 AM
he marked pretty much the whole Giulietta act in the rehearsal, even skipping the high notes altogether. I'm not reading too much into it - it's a long show, and many artists would conserve the voice in the same way.
Having seen his Lensky in Berlin recently, I would say he is far, far from a spent force vocally.
inter mezzo |
24 November 2008 at 12:17 PM
lLuckily i came across opera's magic account of Hoffmann rehearsal
and there are no alarming signs , it is on the contrary a promising
moment where both his voice and acting gave a deeper insight in the role . So, I felt better ! I saw his Lensky too and he was great ! (the 12th)! I will be seen him in Hoffmann and hope for the best !
24 November 2008 at 07:10 PM
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