ROLANDO VILLAZÓN / MOZART Concert Arias 4792463

Itżs a fascinating collection, with some striking unearthings such as "Dove mai trovar quel ciglio?" . . . in which Villazón adopts a wheedling, furtive manner for asides commenting sardonically on a bride and groom, whilst ostensibly praising them . . . the range of Villazón's technique is demonstrated by his rapid-fire syllable-shower of "Clarice cara mia sposa" .

. . . an outstanding substitute solo in a Hasse opera . . . Villazon is at his best in the comic numbers.

. . . this is a collection of real Mozart obscurities. And . . . Villazón brings them to life. He has performed these works frequently in recital, and it shows: throughout, he has a relaxed way of getting into character. Sample "Con ossequio, con rispetto", from Piccinni's "L'astratto, ovvero il giocator fortunato", for an example of suppressed sarcasm that most singers would just leave alone. Deutsche Grammophon contributes clear sound from none other than Abbey Road studios, and the result is an album that should find a place in large Mozart collections and those of Villazón fans as well.

. . . "Aura, che intorno spiri", preceded by a dramatic recitative, is striking, as is the wistful "Se al labbro". Villazón addresses the stylistic challenges with all his characteristic commitment . . . The LSO and Antonio Pappano (who also sings bass briefly in a patter duet) provide elegant accompaniment . . .

. . . [all arias] are entertaining, punched out with passion and personality by a singer clearly enjoying himself and flying free. Antonio Pappano is also grinning as he conducts the London Symphony Orchestra, hurtling along in music intoxicated with its own invention. I wore my own grin right from the opening track, "Si mostra la sorte", launched by the orchestra's lithe footsteps, garnished with delightful flutes, then topped off with Villazon's relaxed gait.

. . . Rolando Villazón brings ten Mozart arias to vibrant life . . . a stunning recital . . . [Villazón] shows a passion and affinity for the style that are genuinely convincing . . . it's precisely the recitatives and the endless word repetitions that fire his imagination, with every phrase supple and responsive, thoughtfully motivated with variety and charm . . . the musicality and resourcefulness of this man are extraordinary! . . . Villazón stylishly dispatches two formal, pompous pieces from the pen of the nine-year-old Mozart and brings consistently heroic vocalism to one German work, but the grand scenas in Mozart's mature style are especially well-rendered. "Per pietŕ, non ricercate" highlights Villazón's clean line, warm and engaged phrasing, and attention to dynamics, especially in the grand nobility of the opening Andante, while Pappano underlines the sensuality of Mozart's scoring and its similarity to much of "Cosi Fan Tutte". "Misero! O sogno" opens with a harmonically rich recitative and woodwind scales creating a creepy atmosphere; Villazón's detailed handling of the text is both expressive and natural. Asking "E dovrň qui morir?" (Must I die here?) , he's not just mouthing standard opera seria words but expressing real desperation, and Pappano characterizes the orchestral utterances tenderly and responsively. The comic pieces are especially delicious. "Dove mai trovar quel ciglio?" is a perfect outlet for Villazón's high energy, but there's also an endearing sweetness to the sound, complemented by Pappano's light touch. "Con ossequio" finds Villazón paying compliments dutifully while spitting and hissing asides, then ending in mad laughter, while the patter aria "Clarice cara" takes him galloping through a ridiculous assortment of academic, mathematic, musical and nautical terms, with Pappano offering wry comments in a respectable light bass.

. . . he brings enthusiasm and character to everything he sings.

This impressively packaged pair of CDs allows Rolando Villazón's bravura approach full rein . . . [the arias] demonstrate Villazón's dramatic ability alongside his vocal fluidity; these are not just stock renditions, even though the works . . . are hardly well known. The operatic extracts, sung with a variety of strong partners, are full of vigour and action.

. . . one can only admire Villazon's art: his scrupulous attention to text and dynamics, his fluency in coloratura, his innate musical phrasing, his almost-trill, and, as before, the sheer animation and enthusiasm that he brings to music that most able (and fine) tenors normally are pleased to just "sing". He begins the first aria, "Si mostra la sorte", using a remarkably conversational tone singing about Fate favoring constant lovers; but in the allegro, in which Fate is also seen as hostile, he strengthens his delivery. These types of interpretive subtleties are par for the course and a sheer delight. The second aria, from the unfinished "Lo sposo deluso", exhibits fine ability with "little notes" and a change in delivery for each of the three verses delivered to three different people -- and a personal note, in an aside, for the last . . . ["Va, del furor portata"] has some wicked coloratura that Villazon dispatches impeccably, in full voice, and without any aspirates . . . ["Se al labbro mio non credi"]: Villazon colors his tone to superb effect. Itżs just beautiful performing . . . ["Müsst' ich auch durch tausend Drachen"]: it's sung heroically, in glorious, big sound, with trumpets and drums blazing . . . ["Con ossequio, con rispetto"]: great patter singing from Villazon and the Sprechstimme-like bass voice of -- conductor Antonio Pappano! The latter, by the way, with the LSO, supports and interprets gloriously throughout . . . Villazon's musicality, sincerity, and intelligence [are very appealing] . . . ["Misero! O sogno" & "Aura che intorno spiri"]: simply gorgeous -- and gorgeously performed . . .

Much of this music was written to showcase a particular singer's skills, and Villazón rises to every showy challenge set by the adolescent composer . . . His approach works very well for the longer arias, with their formal changes of mood and color. "Misero! O sogno o son desio" is especially successful, with Villazón relaxing into the exquisite wind writing in this mournful plea for the breeze to contact his lover. With "Con ossequio, con rispetto" written for a comic opera by Niccolň Piccinni, Villazón shows a neat comic side, not afraid to sound neurotic and bitter as the scheming Captain Faccenda . . . this dry run proves he can be funny and wheedling . . . The singing throughout the album is unrelentingly thrilling and urgent, with every fiber of Villazón's being latched on to Mozart's every word . . . [Pappano] paces each item extremely well, with the LSO playing with real grace and drive. DG's sound is rich and full . . . For a fan disc, it is a welcome departure from the usual Italian hits; for the discerning Mozartian, it is a shot of adrenalin.

Rolando Villazón singt auf seinem Album . . . schön, frei und sensibel.

. . . [Villazón ist] ganz in seinem Element . . . Mozart [ist] ein Genie des Ausdrucks menschlicher Gefühle. Diese unmittelbar expressive Seite seiner Musik rückt Villazón entschlossen in den Vordergrund -- ohne dabei je die Zwischentöne und den Text aus den Augen zu verlieren . . . Die Strahlkraft von Villazóns Tenor ist . . . ungebrochen. Antonio Pappano ist ein kompetenter, sensibler Begleiter . . .

. . . [In der Arie "Con ossequio, con rispetto" KV 210] mischen sich humorvoll Ehrerbietung und Beschimpfung -- was Rolando Villazón entsprechend darzustellen weiß . . . Villazón leuchtet die emotional höchst unterschiedlichen Partien sensibel, ohne Überzeichnung und hin und wieder mit einem Schuss Humor aus. Das London Symphony Orchestra unter Antonio Pappano begleitet nuanciert, frisch und transparent . . . [eine] schöne Liebeserklärung des Tenors an den Komponisten -- und darüber hinaus eine echte Bereicherung des Klassikrepertoires.

. . . [ganz köstlich] jene Momente, in denen er sein komisches Talent ausspielen kann . . . Bemerkenswert insgesamt die Dramaturgie des Albums: Es sind sämtlich selten zu hörende Konzert- und Einlagearien für Tenor, die Pappano mit dem London Symphony subtil für Villazón aufbereitet.

Mir waren die Titel bislang alle unbekannt, aber so, wie sie hier präsentiert werden, lohnen sie das Kennenlernen! Mozart tut nicht nur Villazóns Stimme gut, die ihren alten Schmelz und ihren spezifischen Charme wieder gewonnen hat, er fordert auch seine Musikalität und seine gestalterische Intelligenz heraus, und beides zeigt er hier in hohem Maße. Für jede der zehn Arien findet der Sänger einen eigenen Tonfall, in der Buffonerie wie im Affekt der Opera Seria ist sein Vortrag gleichermaßen imaginativ und charismatisch. Als Pulcherio in "Lo sposo deluso" und als Kapitän Faccenda in Piccinnis "L'astratto" zieht er alle Register komischer Gesangskunst, wobei ihm Maestro Pappano kaum minder komisch in einer Nebenrolle assistiert; in die zeremoniöse Huldigungsarie "Tali e contanti sono" mischt er ironische Untertöne und legt sich dann wieder herzerwärmend ins Zeug, wenn es um Liebesschmerz und grausame Schicksale geht. Unerschrocken meistert Villazón Koloraturen und Kadenzen . . . Antonio Pappano zeigt mit dem London Symphony Orchestra, dass es auch jenseits der Originalklang-Religion einen Zugang zu Mozart gibt, wenn man seine Musik mit dem Herzen und im Kopf begriffen hat. Dieses Recital besitzt etwas, das heute eher selten geworden ist: einen persönlichen Ton, eine persönliche Botschaft.

. . . Villazón n'a rien perdu de ses talents d'acteur, ici particuličrement précieux . . . le LSO dirigé par Antonio Pappano lui offre le plus luxueux des écrins.