Rolando Villazon
Rolando Villazón Mauleón (born February 22, 1972), is a Mexican-born tenor who settled in France and in 2007 became a French citizen.

He was raised in Fuentes de Satellite, a suburban area of Greater Mexico City, Mexico. In an interview for Mexican television, Villazón told the story of how he was discovered as a tenor. He said that one day, as he was getting out of the shower in his apartment in Mexico City, somebody came knocking on his door; it was baritone Arturo Nieto, a friend of his neighbour, who had heard him singing while in the shower. He told Rolando he had an amazing voice and invited him to his music academy to develop his voice, there Rolando fell in love with opera.

He came to international attention in 1999 when he won both first prizes awarded in the Operalia international competition - both for opera and Zarzuela. The same year he sang for the first time in Italy (des Grieux in "Manon" in Genua). In 2000 he appeared for the first time at the Staatsoper Berlin - as Macduff in Macbeth. Over the years he has presented many of his best roles here, among them Jose ("Carmen") and des Grieux ("Manon"). In 2000 he sang Rodolpho ("Boheme") in Munich. In 2002 he sang Rinuccio ("Gianni Schicchi") in Los Angeles. In 2003 he sang "Rodolpho" at the Glyndebourne Festival in the UK. He also enjoyed a huge success as "Hoffmann" at Covent Garden, London. In 2004 he sang Alfredo in "Traviata" at the Met. In 2005 he bowed at St. Petersburg and the Salzburg Festival as Alfredo.

In addition to his appearances on the opera stage, he has an active recording career. He has recorded four solo CDs with Virgin Classics and is additionally featured, along with Patrizia Ciofi and Topi Lehtipuu, on the CD recording of Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda by Claudio Monteverdi, conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm.

In August 2005, he sang a highly regarded Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata at the Salzburg Festival, conducted by Carlo Rizzi and directed by Willy Decker, with Anna Netrebko, his frequent singing partner, as Violetta Valéry. They have also appeared together in a video version of Donizetti's Elisir d'amore, both are available on DVD.

In 2006, Villazón performed with Anna Netrebko at the "Petroushka Ball" hosted by the Russian Children's Welfare Society in New York.

In 2007, Villazón switched his recording company - he signed an exclusive long-term contract with Deutsche Grammophon. An album of Zarzuelas (Gitano, Virgin Classics) conducted by Plácido Domingo, was released in Spring 2007. An album of operatic duets featuring Rolando Villazón and Anna Netrebko was recorded with the Dresdener Staatskapelle under Nicola Luisotti for Deutsche Grammophon and was released in March 2007. The U.S. version of his latest album Viva Villazón (Virgin Classics) was released in September 2007.

After suffering from severe voice alteration during the Met Concert Gala on April 3, 2007, Villazón cancelled most (if not all) his performances starting from that date on, including his debut recital at the Carnegie Hall and Roméo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera, due to health problems.

His first appearance since then was at the Wiener Staatsoper in Werther, but he did not make any new recordings or live broadcasts. Although his schedule for 2008-2009 was originally full, many performances were also subsequently cancelled. In April 2009, he announced that he was putting his career on hold while he underwent throat surgery. In 2010 he was also a mentor and judge in the ITV show Popstar to Operastar.

Correction: A previous version of this biography misstated the name of the artist. His full name is Rolando Villazón Mauléon, not Emilio Rolando Villazón Mauléon.




Rolando Villazon Releases