21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Yes, He IS the One!,
This review is from: Gounod & Massenet: Arias (Audio CD)
In March 2004 I entitled my Amazon review of Rolando Villazón's CD of Italian arias, 'Is he the one?', meaning is he the Italianate tenor we've been waiting for, the one to fill the shoes of Domingo and Pavarotti? I was tentatively positive that he was. Well, boys and girls, this CD of arias by Massenet and Gounod confirms it as far as I'm concerned. Indeed, he sounds better here than he did in the earlier recording. Further, although I have not heard him in person I have been assured by several operaphiles who have heard him -- some of them traveling some distance to have the opportunity -- that he is indeed the genuine article. I only hope that I can catch a live performance of Villazón's soon. I think he's that good.
As to the material he sings here, it is splendid for another reason, and that is that it isn't the hackneyed and trite tunes we all have heard a jillion times. Here we have some rare but lovely arias by two of the greatest French opera composers. Just listen to the heroic glint in Villazón's voice as he winds up 'Voix qui me remplissez d'une ineffable ivresse' from Massenet's 'Le roi de Lahore.' I found myself harking back to the glorious singing of Georges Thill, the fabled tenor vraiment français. Villazón is not yet another in the seemingly endless chain of tenorinos we've had foisted upon us in the post-Domingo/Pavarotti era. He's got heft, metal, gleam in the voice. The higher he sings the brighter the sound, precisely the sort of the thing that makes for exciting tenorial frisson.
Making it all the more worthwhile is Villazón's obvious intelligence and taste. He seems to be living the words, not merely singing them. His phrasing is subtle and stylistically apt. He even uses a credible voix mixte, as any tenor singing French opera should.
Any operaphiles interested in grand singing by a tenor with an innnately beautiful voice handled with style and excitement should treat themselves to this disc. And investigate when Villazón might be singing anywhere near them. As I said before, he's that good.