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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2012 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released August 2, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s saga on Mozart for Deutsche Grammophon continues: after The Clemency of Titus in 2018, it’s now time for The Magic Flute to pass under the Quebecois’ baton at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden. His direction breathes life into all the magic that is required for such a fairy-tale, Mozart’s final opera, and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe successfully communicates the opera’s majesty and depth, as heard in the radiant “Priest’s March”.When it comes to the singers, Christiane Karg is captivating in the role of Pamina, and Klaus Florian Vogt – who’s tonality is explosive here – embodies an innocent Tamino that is consistently dazzling. Rolando Villazón, Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s faithful companion in this Mozartian adventure (he has been present since the beginning of the recording of Don Giovanni), takes on the role of the bird catcher Papageno, written for a baritone voice; the former tenor is convincingly at one with the character’s personality. What’s more, despite their unequal distribution, the singers seem to be at home with this extraordinary singspiel.The orchestra whets our appetite with their clear love for playing together and invites us to dive once more into the discography of such a luxurious and dramatic work that is both humorous and spectacular. Nézet-Séguin’s orchestration is tight and the variation in the writing is that of a phenomenal musician. One thinks of Strauss’ Rosenkaalier for the sensual intermingling of voices in the final trio.The Magic Flute is almost masonic as the development of its spiritual storyline is akin to an initiation. Its enchanting atmosphere is typical to the German composer, much like the later Oberon by Weber. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released July 6, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Recorded in July 2017 in the sumptuous Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, this La clemenza di Tito follows albums which had come out previously in the Mozart series with Nézet-Séguin, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and tenor Rolando Villazón, who is the only singer to appear in all these productions. It should go without saying that the music is extremely finely-chiselled: none of the singers take the slightest liberty with either the score or the style – there are no unruly Italianisms like glissandos, individual showing off, clownish high-Cs, parasitic ornamentations, warbling, trilling, sobbing – which means that we are left with one of the purest and finest performances of this work. Note that this was Mozart's final opera, first performed just two months before he passed away; and that the recitatives were written by the faithful Sussmayr, who would go on to "complete" the Requiem. In the same period Mozart was also putting the final touches to his Magic flute and only had a few weeks to finish the work; and yet, what perfection in the arias, ensembles and choruses! And that in spite of the fact that the subject probably was not a source of tremendous interest to the composer, especially since his explosive collaboration with Da Ponte. But when given a performance like this, the work absolutely passes with flying colours. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 16, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released September 22, 2017 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released November 12, 2007 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 2012 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released October 2, 2015 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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The graphics for this release by tenor Rolando Villazón don't make clear what it is you're getting: this is not yet another anthology of bel canto Italian opera arias, but something a good deal more rare. These "treasures of bel canto" are not arias, but songs, originally for voice and piano, but here given in orchestral versions. Villazón's explanation for why they needed to be orchestrated is unconvincing; he recalls having been inspired by Luciano Berio's orchestrations of the Verdi songs heard here, but the mainstream versions he commissioned have little in common with Berio, and one suspects that the real reason was to give Villazón's still fragile voice an easier time of things. The orchestral accompaniments somewhat overwhelm the melodies, which lie somewhere between opera and early 19th century art song. The Verdi songs, from early in the composer's career, only intermittently reveal the true Verdian voice; the Donizetti and Bellini groups come closer, while the most fun is the set of Rossini songs (late works, rather than early ones) at the end, with its tarantella-like La danza and a terrific duet with Cecilia Bartoli for a finale. Villazón seems to struggle a bit on the high notes, but there aren't many, and the bottom line is that it's good to have recordings of these comparatively neglected pieces. Recommended for fans of the bel canto period, or of Villazón.
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Classical - Released February 2, 2007 | Warner Classics

Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón has been touted as a worthy successor to Plácido Domingo, and on the basis of this recording of romanzas from Spanish zarzuelas, that claim should be taken seriously. Villazón's large voice is extraordinarily like Domingo's, with rock-solid technique, heroic tone, and impassioned delivery. He sings with a thrilling abandon that would sound reckless if it were not for his absolute security. Those attributes serve him well in this virtuosic repertoire. Anyone who appreciates late romantic operatic showcases is likely to find these romanzas strongly attractive. The examples here come from the golden age of the zarzuela, from about the first third of the twentieth century (plus one entry from 1998) and have a distinctly Spanish flavor, a Puccinian lyricism, and a deeply emotional expressivity. These fully committed performances, by a singer of Villazón's strengths, make a compelling case for this repertoire, which is too little represented in non-Hispanic opera houses. Plácido Domingo, Villazón's mentor, conducting the Comunidad de Madrid Orchestra, knows this repertoire intimately and provides idiomatic and energetic support. The only caveat is that there is a sameness in the emotional intensity of the romanzas that will be thrilling for fans of the style and of the heroic tenor sound, but which may be appreciated by some listeners when taken in smaller doses, a few selections at a time. The sound is vivid and well-balanced.
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Classical - Released November 16, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released February 10, 2004 | Warner Classics

The parade of heavily promoted young tenors being signed for solo contracts in the early years of the 21st century smacked of a need to replace the highly saleable and aging Three Tenors with fresh money-making blood. As a result, some of those fine singers have suffered from their own hype. Enter Rolando Villazón, perhaps the most promising heir yet to the legacy of Pavarotti, Carreras, and especially his countryman Domingo, to whom he occasionally bears a striking vocal resemblance. His debut recording, a collection of operatic warhorses by Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, and others, reveals a supple and distinctive voice, and an impressively mature artistry for someone still at the beginnings of his international career. Villazón is better in some selections than others; the two arias from L'elisir d'amore in particular don't seem to fit him well at the moment. And there are a few vocal mannerisms -- particularly a tendency to scoop, or hook, his way into the beginnings of phrases and large vocal leaps -- that can be bothersome. But overall, this is an extremely impressive recording that promises a lot for this young singer, and for those who enjoy hearing new life breathed into these well-worn arias. Marcello Viotti and the Münchner Rundfunkorchester are excellent partners throughout.
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Classical - Released February 14, 2005 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 2009 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2010 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released March 14, 2008 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released August 2, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released July 6, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released September 8, 2017 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2014 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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