Werther, a live recording of Rolando’s acclaimed Royal Opera performance, to be released internationally February 17 on Deutsche Grammophon
February 17 sees the international release of Werther, a live recording by Deutsche Grammophon of Rolando Villazón’s highly acclaimed portrayal of Massenet’s tragic hero in May 2011 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Starring Rolando in the title role and Sophie Koch as his unattainable love, Charlotte, this performance led by Antonio Pappano is Rolando’s first complete opera recording since 2008.
Werther captures Rolando at his finest. Inspired by Rolando’s Covent Garden performances, the Guardian writes: “his artistry is as astonishing as ever, fusing sound, sense and gesture in an uncompromising quest for veracity.” Inhabiting a character the artist himself describes as “a troubled soul seeking answers, moved to act by his intense inner world,” Villazón was “nothing short of magnificent . . . The raw emotion in his singing was quite wondrous,” wrote the Express, while the Telegraph was “reminded why this Mexican tenor caused such a sensation when he appeared on the scene seven years ago.”
The Independent declared, “in a role which is indubitably a perfect fit for him,” Rolando’s “vocal elegance and old-fashioned manner are both deeply touching and entirely in character with Werther, the poetic dreamer. ‘Sun, flood me with your radiance,’ he sings, the voice opening to its embrace, the sound melting away to rapturous effect. There is a childlike wonder to his singing which works like a charm here, but one should never underestimate the vocal skill which enables him to achieve those affecting dynamic nuances, those subito piano effects achieved on the portamento. Or indeed the big-hearted intensity of feeling which finds release in the top C of act two’s thrilling climax.”