Peter Conrad interviews Mexican opera singer Rolando Villazón | Music | The Guardian
ANNA Netrebko and Rolando Villazon are the golden couple of the opera stage. Ever since they. Russian star Anna Netrebko (pictured) made the announcement to anxious fans yesterday after the news of her in the role as Norma excited. Is the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko the next Maria Callas? she instantly explains away one of the creaky plot problems in this famous old opera: how on DVD) happens to be a year-old wheezer, but as Gelb recalled, Netrebko and Villazón .. As for marriage and a family, she said: “I don't know.
And when it goes really well, the horse becomes Pegasus - he flies! He is, conveniently enough, married to a psychologist and also has a trusted shrink in Mexico, whom he consults every week by telephone.
He has often toyed with the idea of rounding up the operatic characters that are his multiple, optional selves and banging their heads together in a session of group therapy.
Instead he allows himself to be infected by a mania that the analyst would want to dispel. Don Carlos, for instance, is a Spanish Oedipus, defying his tyrannical father Philip II and making abject love to his stepmother.
Before I had the chance to recover, he was lying on the floor, acting out the epileptic fits from which Carlos suffered. His eyes popped, his chest heaved, his breath came in rasping spasms; I was about to call for help when he laughed to exorcise this particular devil, jumped back into his seat, and talked about the tricky end of the opera, in which a spurious miracle saves Carlos from the Inquisition. I don't know yet what Nick Hytner wants me to do. But I have to say I love to kill myself!
Rolando Villazon should learn from the classical heroes
Corporate honchos from Rolex, with whom he has an endorsement deal, swilled their champagne uneasily: Of course it can be hurtful. To open the chest you must make a wound, but that wound is a door. It shows the things that live inside a person - what makes it possible for us to jump into the sea or up to the clouds.
No wonder he has described his wife, Lucia, as a necessary anchorage, tethering him like gravity: But I meant it all, every word.
End of the road for opera's lovers
His disc of duets with incendiary Russian soprano Anna Netrebko had a booklet in which they were photographed hugging, romping hand in hand and tickling one another's toes.
He looked back ruefully on those prurient efforts to brand them as a couple. For once, his rubbery, animated face had a solemn fixity.
He is an idealist, who now knows that he can expect to be disillusioned or, perhaps, betrayed. It was he who mentioned Don Quixote, the literary character who represents the interconnection of nobility and nonsense, aspiration and disaster.
But this is what gives us a reason to continue. He studied in a seminary and was a candidate for the priesthood. He climbed to the top, perhaps expecting to hear God boom megaphonically from the crater or erupt in fire as on Sinai. The deity, however, was not in residence.
And I began to feel sorry for God - I understood that he needs us, not the other way round. So I went back down the volcano through the snow, and I felt the wind, and I looked at the village at the bottom and gradually I saw the people who lived there.
Finally, I had this vision of Lucia, who was to become my wife. That revealed what my dream ought to be; to enter the monastery would be hiding. I just wandered away from Christianity - though I still admire Jesus as a man, a socialist maybe. Vaulting ahead of me, he denounced imperial Rome for its corruption of Christianity. I think religion is a mistake that's now behind us. It was an invention - an invention of the rich, just like opera. I still have faith, but in other things.
Rolando Villazon should learn from the classical heroes - Telegraph
I believe in a force inside us, not in heaven. People who can afford opera tickets sometimes go for the wrong reasons, and fall asleep when the music starts. I hope that in Don Carlos we will make them cry with joy and sadness. Why not have faith in that?
The Welsh baritone has been running a starry-eyed festival on the Faenol estate near Gwynedd for a decade. Last summer, he called it off because of low ticket sales, understandable in deep recession.
Ten days ago, Terfel announced that the festival was cancelled, blaming lack of public interest. How much did Terfel himself put in to an event he has twice scrapped at short notice, with scant regard for hundreds of ticket-buyers, some of whom planned family holidays around his festival?
Then there is the rise of Russian roulette, when a performer commits to a concert only to renegotiate at the last minute. The BBC Proms have suffered a glut of late changes this summer for reasons of mortality, ill-health and, in one case, criminal charges. None was more distressing than the death of the conductor Sir Charles Mackerras, who had courageously committed to two concerts as his cancer clock ticked away.
Legends are made of such gritty determination. Last week, there was a more tenuous withdrawal. The Russian pianist Boris Berezovsky pulled out for what were interestingly described as "contractual reasons". This could mean one of two things: Whatever the cause, the BBC held firm and Boris may not be asked back for a while. The incident would be risible if this kind of thing were not so prevalent; every concert manager in the land can cite a sheaf of late cancellations and short-change artists reminiscent of the worst days of British Rail.
It is a trend that has to be stopped in its tracks. The best way to stop it is by shaming the miscreants with the real heroism that we witness night after summer night in festival time. Three weeks ago, after a rapt recital of Chopin Nocturnes, the softest playing ever heard in the Royal Albert Hall, I dropped in on the grandmotherly pianist Maria Joao Pires and took her hand with exceptional care.
'The stage is a macabre playground where you set your fantasies free'
One finger was swollen to twice the size of the others. She was seeing a doctor in the morning, having played through excruciating pain, refusing to contemplate the thought of disappointing 4, people, many of whom had queued for hours to hear her.
Some days later, I was in a television green room with Paul Lewis, who is playing the five Beethoven piano concertos at the Proms. Almost as an aside, he mentioned that he had torn a muscle in his arm at rehearsal. For a few tense hours, it looked as if he might have to pull out, breaking a cycle for which most pianists would give — well, their right arm.
At a certain point, desire overcame disability and Paul played on, bravely and brilliantly. That's the nature of the job. She's the mezzo-soprano who, when told to "break a leg" last year before going on stage at Covent Garden, did just that.
Instead of being stretchered off to hospital, she sang through to the end of Rossini's Barber of Seville — and then returned in a pink plaster cast to fulfil the rest of the run.