Artist Of The Week: Rolando Villazón Delivers Comic Timing Directing ‘Don Pasquale’

By Francisco Salazar

Rolando Villazón is one of the most admired singers in the opera world for his sheer abandon on stage and his detailed characterizations. He has created some very memorable performances and has recorded a number of great albums. However, this week he steps offstage and goes back to the directing seat for Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale.”

Villazón directed his first opera in 2011. The opera in question was Massenet’s “Werther,” a work that he had performed as a tenor to great acclaim. He then directed “L’Elisir d’Amore,” a work he has become synonymous with and one that he has won critical accolades for. His following opera was Verdi’s “La Traviata,” yet another opera he was familiar with as a singing actor.

“Don Pasquale” is a step out of his repertoire as he has never sung the role. However, Villazón is an avid comedian who has always been inventive in his approach to acting and that should come through in his production. What will also be interesting is his concept. He has already set operas in a circus and a movie set and there is no telling where this upcoming production will be. “Don Pasquale” will mark his debut as a director at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein.

For fans waiting to hear him sing after his cancellation in London, Villazón is still scheduled to perform at the Metropolitan Opera’s 50th-anniversary gala and will return to the Vienna for “L’Elisir d’Amore.” He will also continue his Mozart exploration with Yannick Nezet-Seguin as Tito in “La Clemenza di Tito” at the Baden-Baden festival. Villazón is also scheduled to perform with Cecilia Bartoli in Handel’s “Ariodante” at the Salzburg Festival.

Villazón is an international star who has performed in every major theater. His big breakout came in 2005 in Verdi’s “La Traviata” in Salzburg alongside Anna Netrebko. He would go on to perform with Netrebko in numerous sold-out productions. Villazón then went on to explore new repertoire after his vocal surgery and has since thrived as an author, director, singer, cartoonist, and clown. He also an immense discography that is among the most versatile in recent history.


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