UPDATE: I originally gave this album 4 Stars however after listening to it a couple of dozen times I feel I may have been harsh as it is the equal of any recent album's from Kaufmann or Joseph Calleja. My original assessment that his voice is not quite as good as it was before his throat issues, stands. However the difference is very small and if this is your first Villazon album you probably won't even notice.
Once my favourite tenor, Villazon had some serious throat problems which I was concerned would be permanent. However unlike his release of Massenet: Werther
which was so disappointing, this recording shows to me that he is well on the way to re-establishing himself as one of the foremost tenors singing today. Gone is the grittiness and back is a beautifully smooth and tonefull voice.
The repertoire selected for this album is a good mix of the very well known and the less popular but all seem to have been selected to show that Villazon is back! It is never possible to please everyone but I think these 15 tracks not only showcase Villazons recovery but are a good snapshot of Verdi's work. There are no tracks I would hit 'Skip' on.
Recorded in Turin, with the Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino, and under the sympathetic direction of Gianandrea Noseda, this completes a very good recording. The conducting is very good and doesn't overpower Villazon while still bringing out the essence of Verdi.
The recording quality is technically very good and sounds fine on my HiFi and lossless format on my iPod. The enclosed booklet is of good quality and contains the usual multi-language synopsis, track information and a couple of nice photos.
So is it worth buying? While his voice is not quite back it is very close. While his bottom range may not be as dark as it was it does actually sound as if his voice has had a vocal 'facelift' and is exhibiting more 'youthfullness'. So yes I would certainly recommend this - welcome back Rolando, your fans have missed you!