Rolando Villazón was born in Mexico City in 1972. In 1983 he entered the Espacios Academy for the Performing Arts, where he studied music, acting, contemporary dance and ballet. In 1990 he met baritone Arturo Nieto who introduced him to opera and became his singing teacher. Two years later he entered the National Conservatory of Music to continue his vocal studies with Enrique Jaso; after winning two national competitions, he became a student of baritone Gabriel Mijares. In 1998 he joined San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola Opera Program, participating in masterclasses with Joan Sutherland and performing Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata. He subsequently became a member of Pittsburgh Opera’s Young Artists Program and appeared in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Samuel Barber’s Vanessa. Since then Rolando Villazón has become internationally recognized as one of the leading lyric tenors of our day and has been enthusiastically acclaimed for his performances at leading music venues all over the world.
Wins Audience Prize, Zarzuela Prize and second prize overall in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia Competition. European debut in Genoa as Massenet’s Des Grieux in Manon, followed by appearances at Lyon in December as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème.
Debuts include Rome and the Bavarian State Opera (Rodolfo), the Berlin State Opera (Macduff in a new production of Verdi’s Macbeth) and the Teatro Verdi in Trieste and Paris’s Opéra Bastille (Alfredo).
Debuts at the New York City Opera (telecast nationally), the Bregenz Festival and Hamburg State Opera (all as Rodolfo) as well as at the Berlin Deutsche Oper, Los Angeles Opera and Opéra de Montpellier (all as Alfredo).
Engagements include Rinuccio (Puccini, Gianni Schicchi) in Los Angeles, Rodolfo in Bregenz, Brussels and at the Berlin Deutsche Oper, Gounod’s Faust at the Paris Opéra Bastille and Nemorino (Donizetti, L’elisir d’amore) at the Berlin State Opera.
Rodolfo at Glyndebourne, Alfredo at the Berlin and Bavarian State Operas and in his Metropolitan debut, Faust (Gounod) at the Bavarian State Opera. Awarded Les Victoires de la Musique in the category “Foreign Discovery of the Year”.
Covent Garden debut as Offenbach’s Hoffmann and his first Don Carlos (Verdi) at Netherlands Opera (conducted by Chailly); San Francisco Opera debut as Alfredo; Don José in Carmen at the Berlin State Opera (conducted by Barenboim); Alfredo at the Aix-en-Provence Festival; US recital debut in New York (Metropolitan Museum); his first solo recording, featuring opera arias by Donizetti, Verdi, Cilea, Puccini and Mascagni, receives wide critical acclaim, including the Diapason d’or for 2004, “Best of the Year” citations from Opera News and The New York Times, and the German Echo Award 2004 in the category “Arias and Duets”.
At this summer’s Salzburg Festival he sings Alfredo opposite Anna Netrebko in a new production of La Traviata recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon. Released in autumn, the recording is received to extraordinary acclaim, winning both an Echo Award as “Best-Selling Album”, two platinum discs and a Grammy nomination in 2006. Other engagements this year include Gounod’s Roméo in Los Angeles (with Anna Netrebko as Juliet), Vienna and Munich; the Duke (Rigoletto) at Covent Garden and the Met; Nemorino in Barcelona; Hoffmann in Vienna; Rodolfo at the Paris Opéra Bastille; Faust at the Bavarian State Opera; plus concerts in Paris (Théâtre des Champs-Élysées), Munich (Bavarian Radio) and Tokyo (Opera City). Villazón is named “Singer of the Year” at the Echo Awards 2005. Signs an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon that takes effect in June 2006.
Opera appearances include Nemorino (under Gustavo Dudamel) and Carmen (under Daniel Barenboim) in Berlin (State Opera), Massenet’s Werther in Nice and Mannheim, Lensky in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at Covent Garden, Romeo and the Duke in Vienna, the Duke at the Met and in Massenet’s Manon in Los Angeles (both with Anna Netrebko, Plácido Domingo conducting), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor) at the Orange Festival, Alfredo (with Renée Fleming as Violetta and conductor James Conlon) at Los Angeles Opera, Rodolfo at the Met (Domingo conducting). Recitals and concerts include performances in New York (Metropolitan Museum), Moscow (Tchaikovsky Concert Hall), London (Barbican Centre) and Vienna (Stadthalle) – together with Anna Netrebko, Paris (Champs-Élysées), Toulouse (Capitole), Monte Carlo (Opéra), Madrid (Teatro Real), Prague, Munich, Copenhagen, at the Orange Festival, the Festival de Saint-Denis (Verdi’s Requiem under Myung-Whun Chung), and at the Faenol Festival (with Bryn Terfel and Angela Gheorghiu). The year’s concert schedule closes with a New Year’s Eve concert in Baden-Baden conducted by Sir Roger Norrington. A special highlight takes place on 7 July when Villazón is joined by Anna Netrebko and Plácido Domingo in a spectacularly successful open-air concert in Berlin’s Waldbühne which is attended by more than 20,000 spectators and telecast to millions of viewers all over the world world and released on DVD, attaining Gold status in Germany and Austria in 2007. Also released this year: the highly successful Salzburg production of La Traviata on DVD (Victoires de la Musique, 2007, “DVD of the Year”).
Rolando Villazón’s busy schedule includes appearances in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Opéra Bastille in Paris, L’elisir d’amore at Covent Garden, La Bohème at the Vienna State Opera, Werther in Rome, Roméo et Juliette at the Met (with Anna Netrebko, Domingo conducting), Manon in Berlin (with Anna Netrebko) and in Barcelona. Concert performances of La Bohème (with Anna Netrebko) in Munich are recorded by DG and will provide the soundtrack to a cinema/TV film. Concerts and recitals in numerous European countries and in the USA; further concerts with Anna Netrebko at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, at the Met, and also on a German tour in the summer, and with Plácido Domingo at the Salzburg Festival.The Duet Album with Anna Netrebko and the Dresden Staatskapelle under Nicola Luisotti is released early in the year. Recording of his debut solo album for DG, Cielo e Mar, with a selection of Italian opera arias (scheduled for release: early 2008).
Performances of Massenet’s Werther and Manon and of La Bohème at the Vienna State Opera, Eugene Onegin and the Verdi Requiem in Berlin, Don Carlo and Les Contes d’Hoffmann at Covent Garden and Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at the Salzburg Festival (recorded live for Deutsche Grammophon). Rolando Villazón is joined by Anna Netrebko and Plácido Domingo for a concert in Vienna’s Schloss Schönbrunn; further concerts and recitals in Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. Release of his debut solo album for Deutsche Grammophon, Cielo e mar – a selection of Italian opera arias; audio release of the complete La Bohème with Anna Netrebko and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Bertrand de Billy. DVD release of Massenet’s Manon with Anna Netrebko and the Staats¬kapelle Berlin conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
His busy schedule includes performances of Verdi’s Requiem in Rome, with Anna Netrebko in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore at the Opéra Bastille and Lucia di Lammer¬moor at the Met (to be recorded for DVD for Deutsche Gram¬mophon), Mas¬senet’s Werther in Paris (to be recorded by Deutsche Gram¬mo¬phon), the Bavarian State Opera, the Vienna State Opera and in Baden-Baden, both with Elīna Garanča, and Tchai¬kovsky’s Iolanthe in Baden-Baden with Netrebko (to be recorded for DVD for DG). He will pre¬miere Il postino by the Mexican composer Daniel Catán at the Los Angeles Opera (with Plácido Domingo). Recitals and concerts in Lon¬don, Paris and Madrid (the latter together with Domingo), on tour with the Gabrieli Players under Paul McCreesh performing Handel arias in Berlin, Hamburg, ¬Amsterdam and Paris, as well as at the Salzburg Festival 2009. Releases include an album of Handel arias and his 2008 Salzburg Festival record¬ing of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette on DVD/Blu-ray Disc.