London Mozart Concert Arias performance caps off European tour to critical acclaim


Rolando Villazón and the Kammerorchester Basel, led by Florian Donderer, capped off their seven-city European tour together at London’s Cadogan Hall with a performance hailed by The Guardian as “a serious reinvention project well executed by a singer of note, to illuminate neglected arias by someone who never wrote anything that can be overlooked”–four stars.

The Times, in its review, also awarded the concert four stars as it noted Rolando’s “chuckling coloratura that revealed a still impeccable technique and sense of showmanship. It made even the tiny aria Va, dal furor portata, written in London by the nine-year-old Mozart, into a thrilling vocal and emotional workout.”

Praise followed Rolando throughout his tour. In Munich, “The audience went ballistic, and rightfully so,” noted Abendzeitung München. Suddeutsche Zeitung praised Rolando’s signature commitment to the music: “Villazón begegnet Mozart mit dem stimmlichen Aplomb, bisweilen auch den veristischen Gestaltungsmitteln des 19. Jahrhunderts. Es ist ein stark rhetorisches, sehr gestisches Singen, das Mozart quasi zum Italiener ehrenhalber macht. (…) (Das) verschafft Villazóns Gesang eine große Direktheit und Dringlichkeit. (…) Damit tut Villazón, was Mozart in einem Brief fordere: Dass der Sänger auch im Konzert vollständig in die Figur hineinschlüpfen solle. Vielleicht sollte man ihn nicht mehr nach Sängermaßstäben messen, sondern nach denen eines ungemein sympathischen Gesamtkunstwerks.” In Prague, where the Mozart Concert Arias tour began, OperaPlus.cz relished Rolando’s voice in the repertoire: “Villazon and his darker tenor voice completely govern intonation, breath, declamation and vocal technique, including coloraturas.”

Later this month Rolando Villazón returns to the Teatro alla Scala, where he gives a recital with Daniel Barenboim (May 25) and stars in Così fan tutte June 19 to 30.