Rolando Villazón

Tenor & Stage-director

Biography

Through his uniquely compelling performances, Rolando Villazón has firmly established himself as one of the music world’s most critically acclaimed and beloved stars and as one of the leading artistic voices of our day. He is heralded as “the most charming of today’s divos” (The Times) with “a wonderfully virile voice…grandezza, elegance and power” (Süddeutsche Zeitung). In his third decade as a performer, Rolando Villazón’s versatility remains peerless. In addition to operatic superstardom, he maintains successful careers as a stage director, novelist, artistic director and TV/radio personality.

Contact

Judith Neuhoff
Managing Director

+49 30 166359850
Francesca Condeluci
Associate Director, North America

+1 917 349 1443
Maria Meshcherinova
Managerial Assistant

+49 30 166359857

Full Biography

Through his uniquely compelling performances, Rolando Villazón has firmly established himself as one of the music world’s most critically acclaimed and beloved stars and as one of the leading artistic voices of our day. He is heralded as “the most charming of today’s divos” (The Times) with “a wonderfully virile voice…grandezza, elegance and power” (Süddeutsche Zeitung). In his third decade as a performer, Rolando Villazón’s versatility remains peerless. In addition to operatic superstardom, he maintains successful careers as a stage director, novelist, artistic director and TV/radio personality.

During the 2023-24 season, Rolando Villazón returns to some of the world’s most prestigious stages. He begins the season with performances of one of his signature roles, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo (Orfeo) in a new production at the Bayreuth Baroque Opera Festival. Another highlight is his return to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where he sings Papageno in The Magic Flute. He revives his acclaimed portrayal of Loge in Das Rheingold at Berlin’s Staatsoper under the baton of Philippe Jordan and returns to Semperoper Dresden, for a revival of last season’s celebrated production of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo. Rolando Villazón reprises another signature role, Alessandro in Mozart’s Il re pastore, with frequent collaborators L’Arpeggiata and Christina Pluhar in a concert version at Budapest’s MÜPA. He closes the season with a return to Vienna’s Staatsoper for a baroque gala alongside Cecilia Bartoli.

On the concert stage, Rolando Villazón can be heard in Mozart programmes at Concertgebouw Amsterdam and Philharmonie Cologne. He performs recitals of “Serenata Latina” with harpist Xavier de Maistre amongst others at the Mozarteum Salzburg, Philharmonie de Paris, the Musikfestspiele Potsdam, the Rheingau Musik Festival and at Lincoln Center New York’s Alice Tully Hall. The tenor can be heard in opera gala concerts at Munich’s Prinzregententheater, Opéra de Monte Carlo, in Andermatt and Oviedo, and performs his new belcanto recital programme with Musikwochen Millstatt, Tonhalle St.Gallen, Theater Münster and Linz’s Musiktheater amongst others. He takes on double-duty as both host and performer for the iconic AIDS-Gala at Berlin’s Deutsche Oper and at Dresden Semperoper’s opera ball and continues to host a daily show on Germany’s KlassikRadio.

As recently re-appointed Artistic Director of the International Mozarteum Foundation, he curates the programmes for both season concerts and the internationally acclaimed Mozartweek Festival each January, with guest artists such as the Vienna Philharmonic, Igor Levit, Anne-Sophie Mutter and many more.

It was as the winner of several prizes at Plácido Domingo’s “Operalia” Competition in 1999 (including the audience award and the Zarzuela prize) that Rolando Villazón first burst on the international music scene. He made his European debut that same year as Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon in Genoa, swiftly followed by further debuts at the Opéra de Paris as Alfredo in La traviata; and the Staatsoper Berlin as Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth.

He went on to become one of the most sought-after performers of his generation, as highlighted by a string of highly successful debuts with Europe’s leading opera houses such as the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich as Rodolfo in La bohème and the Vienna Staatsoper as Gounod’s Roméo. The tenor has since frequently returned to Vienna for performances as Massenet’s Werther, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Des Grieux, the title role in Les contes d’Hoffmann, the Duke in Rigoletto, Alfredo in La traviata, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Lensky in Eugene Onegin. Munich audiences have seen Rolando Villazón perform the title role in Gounod’s Faust, Alfredo, Roméo, the title role in a new production of Les contes d’Hoffmann, Werther and Robert F. Scott in the world premiere of Miroslav Srnka’s opera South Pole with the Bayerische Staatsoper in addition to concert performances of La bohème at the Gasteig which were recorded by Deutsche Grammophon. At the Deutsche Oper Berlin he was heard in the title role of Verdi’s Don Carlo. In 2001, he made his debut at the Hamburg Staatsoper as Rodolfo in La bohème. In 2019 he returned to the Hanseatic city as Pelléas in the Willy Decker production of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.

Rolando Villazón made his Salzburg Festival debut in 2005 with triumphant performances as Alfredo in a new production of La traviata alongside Anna Netrebko and Thomas Hampson. Deutsche Grammophon released both CD and DVD recordings of the production in 2005. In 2008, he returned for a new production of Roméo et Juliette which was broadcast live on television and recorded by Deutsche Grammophon for DVD release in 2009. In 2012, he made his acclaimed Mozart-debut at the Salzburg Festival, performing Alessandro in Il re pastore. He returned to Salzburg in 2013 for lauded performances in the title role of a new production of Mozart’s Lucio Silla and Mozart Matinee-performances conducted by Ivor Bolton in 2014 and was also heard in two sold-out solo recitals. 2015 he made his acclaimed role debut as Pylade in Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride and in 2017, he made his debut as Lucarnio in Ariodante, both alongside Cecilia Bartoli. At the 2023 Salzburg Whitsun Festival, he added another role debut as Haydn’s Orfeo in L’anima del filosofo. Further acclaimed European festival appearances include Bregenz, Glyndebourne, Orange, the Musikfest Bremen and Klara Festival Brussels.

Since his debut, Rolando Villazón frequently appears with the Staatsoper Berlin, often collaborating with Daniel Barenboim to great popular and critical acclaim. Highlights include his role debut as Don José in a new production of Carmen, as well as new productions of La traviata, Manon, Eugene Onegin, Bohuslav Martinů’s Juliette, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande as well as one of his signature roles Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. In the 2022/23 season, he made a celebrated role debut as Wagner’s Loge in the new production by Dmitry Tcherniakov, directed by Christian Thielemann. At the Opéra de Paris, audiences have seen him in performances of Faust, La traviata, Les contes d’Hoffmann and Werther. The role of Hoffmann was also the vehicle for his triumphant debut at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden where he has since returned for performances of Lensky, the Duke, Rodolfo, the title role in a new production of Don Carlo, the title role in Massenet’s Werther, both led by Sir Antonio Pappano, and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni). Rolando Villazón has furthermore appeared with the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels as Rodolfo and made his role debut as Verdi’s Don Carlo in a new production with Amsterdam Opera conducted by Riccardo Chailly. He made his debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona as Nemorino and returned for a new production of Manon alongside Natalie Dessay. Both Manon and Don Carlo have also been released on DVD. He gave his debut at Zurich Opera as Alfredo and returned for a new production of Il re pastore led by Sir William Christie, and performances of L’elisir d’amore. In 2010, he debuted with Teatro alla Scala as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore and returned in 2014 to sing Ferrando in a new production of Cosi fan tutte conducted by Daniel Barenboim. In 2011, he made his role-debut as Don Ottavio with the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, followed by his role-debuts as Ferrando in Così fan tutte and Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. In 2017, he made his debut as Tito in La Clemenza di Tito, all in concert performances recorded for CD-release conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Since his acclaimed debut with the Metropolitan Opera New York as Alfredo, he has returned to star in performances as Verdi’s Duke, Rodolfo, Edgardo and in a sold-out Metropolitan Opera Pension Fund Gala Performance in April 2007. In 2013, Rolando Villazón made an acclaimed return to New York as Lensky in Eugene Onegin as well as in 2021-22 as Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. A favorite with Los Angeles Opera since his debut in La traviata, the tenor has since appeared in productions of Gianni Schicchi, Roméo et Juliette and Manon. In 2023, he made his Santa Fe Opera debut as Orfeo in a new production by Yuval Sharon, directed by Harry Bicket.

In concert, Rolando Villazón has appeared with leading orchestras and conductors on concert stages all over the world, including appearances at the Salzburg Mozart Week with the Vienna Philharmonic, and concerts at London’s Barbican and Royal Festival Halls, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Salle Pleyel and the new Philharmonie in Paris, Berlin, Munich and Cologne Philharmonie, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Academy of Santa Cecilia, Carnegie Hall New York as well as sold-out concerts in amongst others Miami, Vancouver, Tokyo, Toulouse, Monte Carlo, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Prague, Zurich, Rome, Athens, Istanbul, Madrid, Copenhagen and Helsinki. To celebrate Giuseppe Verdi’s 200th anniversary, 2013 saw the tenor embark on a sold-out 15-city-tour featuring Verdi’s music. The concerts were watched by nearly 25,000 people across Europe. In 2014, he performed Mozart’s concert arias for tenor with the Basel Chamber Orchestra on a European tour which took him to Berlin, London, Paris, Dortmund, Prague and Vienna. In 2007, he gave his German recital debut performing Schumann’s Dichterliebe accompanied by Daniel Barenboim, a success repeated the following year also at Staatsoper Berlin. In 2014, the duo gave a recital at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. Daniel Barenboim also led the tenor in the European premiere of Elliot Carter’s A Sunbeam’s Architecture in 2013, alongside the Staatskapelle Berlin. He joined the Staatskapelle Berlin for New Year’s concerts with a tango- themed program under the baton of Daniel Barenboim and a gala concert with arias from Zarzuelas led by Plácido Domingo at the Philharmonie Berlin. Together with accompanist Gerold Huber, he appeared in recital at the Salzburg Festival and the Vienna Musikverein. His outdoor concerts with Plácido Domingo and Anna Netrebko at Berlin’s Waldbühne on the eve of the 2006 World Cup Final and at Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace in advance of the 2008 Euro Championship Final were both televised live and watched by millions of people around the world. He sang an internationally broadcast open-air concert at Munich’s Odeonsplatz alongside Thomas Hampson and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who also led the gala concert which marked his Montreal-debut. He frequently collaborates with Christina Pluhar and her Ensemble L’Arpeggiata, together they have appeared in for performances in Graz, Paris, Budapest, Lyon and Musikfest Bremen. With harpist Xavier de Maistre he has performed their record “Serenata Latina”, which was released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2020, all-over Europe, with performances, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Musikverein in Graz, the Konzerthaus in Freiburg and the Liederhalle in Stuttgart, among others. With the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Rolando Villazón created the concert series “Rolando Raconte” at the Philharmonie Luxembourg.

In 2011, Rolando Villazón made his debut as a stage director with an acclaimed production of Massenet’s Werther with the Opéra Lyon. In 2012 he directed Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. In the same production, labeled a “double triumph” and broadcast on international TV in December 2012, he also sang the part of Nemorino. The production was later revived at Oper Leipzig. The 14/15 season saw Rolando Villazón directing three new productions: he made his debut at Vienna Volksoper where he directed Donizetti’s Viva la mamma and, in his directorial debut there, staged Puccini’s La rondine for Deutsche Oper Berlin. He returned to Baden-Baden’s Festspielhaus to direct a new production of Verdi’s La traviata and directed an acclaimed production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale for Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf. He returned to the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2017/18 to direct a new production of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. In 2019, he made his directorial debut with the Staatsoper Dresden with a new production of Rameau’s Platée and directed a production of Bellini’s I puritani at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf. He directed Bellini’s La sonnambula at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and for Dresden’s Semperoper in 2023. By In 2022, he made his Salzburg Festival directing debut with a celebrated production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

Rolando Villazón’s vast discography includes a recital of Italian arias, a recital of arias by Gounod and Massenet, as well as an “Opera Recital”, all for EMI/Virgin Classics. The same label has also released recordings of Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi and I Lamenti conducted by Emmanuelle Haim as well as a Zarzuela CD entitled “Gitano” led by Plácido Domingo. All recordings have won unanimous critical praise. DVD releases for EMI/Virgin Classics also include the Vienna State Opera production of L’elisir d’amore, and for Decca the Los Angeles Opera production of La traviata opposite Renée Fleming. Further releases on EMI/Virgin Classics include a recording of Verdi’s Requiem with the Academy of Santa Cecilia, conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano and a recording of Vivaldi’s Ercole led by Fabio Biondi.

In 2007, Rolando Villazón became an exclusive recording artist with Deutsche Grammophon and since then has sold over 2 million albums worldwide with a catalogue including over 20 CDs and DVDs which have received numerous prizes. His releases on the yellow label include a CD of operatic duets with soprano Anna Netrebko as well as both CD and DVD recordings of La traviata, recorded live at the Salzburg Festival. In 2006, La traviata garnered a Grammy nomination and both La traviata and “Duets” were awarded Klassik Echo Awards as Germany’s best-selling albums in 2006 and 2008 respectively. The tenor received a further Klassik Echo Award in 2007 for the DVD of the 2006 Waldbühne concert. 2008 saw his highly acclaimed first solo release with Deutsche Grammophon, an album of rare Italian arias entitle “Cielo e mar”. In 2009, he released a complete recording of Puccini’s La bohème in addition to an acclaimed album of Handel arias in collaboration with renowned specialists Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Players. His recording “Duets” claimed the top spot on the Billboard classical chart shortly after its release in the U.S., and in Europe set a record for the best debut ever for a classical album, climbing to the top of the pop charts in several countries. His recording, “México!”, featuring new arrangements of classical Mexican songs, was released on DG in September 2010 and was awarded with the ECHO Klassik in 2011. In spring 2012 a critically acclaimed complete recording of Werther conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano was released, followed by complete recordings of Don Giovanni also in 2012, Così fan tutte in 2013, of Die Entführung aus dem Serail in 2015 and of Le nozze di Figaro in 2016, the first four installments of a seven-part Mozart cycle conceived by the tenor and conductor Yannick Nézet-Seguin. On the occasion of Giuseppe Verdi’s 200th anniversary, Rolando Villazón released a recording of arias by the composer, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Early 2014 a recording of Mozart’s Concert Arias for tenor was released, recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano. In October 2015, he released an album “Treasures of Bel Canto” with newly orchestrated songs by Bellini, Verdi, Rossini and Donizetti. Autumn 2017 he released a recording of operatic duets with bass Ildar Adrazakov and the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In November 2018, his first Christmas album “Feliz Navidad” was released. In 2020, he released a collection of Latin American folk and art songs, “Serenata Latina” together with French harpist Xavier de Maistre. All of his albums have been best-sellers, earning gold and platinum status in Germany and Austria.

Rolando Villazón has been profiled in numerous international newspapers and magazines and featured on television shows such Germany’s Wetten, dass..? and Musical Showstar and the UK’s Royal Variety Show; documentaries on him have been televised in Austria, Germany, the UK and France. In 2010 he became mentor and juror of the UK’s Pop Star to Opera Star, a role he repeated in the second series in 2011. He was regularly presenting TV-programmes for the BBC and ZDF, where he was the host of the ECHO Klassik Gala as well as fronting a number of cultural programmes. Rolando Villazón presented his own series “Stars von morgen” on Arte TV for a decade, televised in France and Germany and is a frequent guest, both as mentor and juror, on KiKa’s “Dein Song”. He is hosting his own daily programme on Germany’s KlassikRadio and hosted a daily show on Radio Classique in France. In the fall of 2008 and throughout 2009, he starred in a feature film release of Puccini’s La bohème, directed by Oscar- and Emmy-nominated director Robert Dornhelm. In November 2022, he co-stars in the German feature fantasy film “The Magic Flute – Das Vermächtnis der Zauberflöte” directed by Florian Sigl. Alongside Jack Wolfe, Iwan Rheon and F. Murray Abraham, Rolando Villazón plays the role of a fictive Opera star called Enrico Milanesi in Hollywood production “Cabrini”. In 2013, Rolando Villazón’s debut novel “Malabares” was published in Spain. German and French translations of the novel have been published in 2014. His second novel “Paladas de sombra contra la oscuridad” (“Lebenskünstler”) was published in Germany in April 2017 and his third novel “Amadeus auf dem Fahrrad” was published in June 2020 and spent several weeks on the bestseller list of “Der Spiegel” magazine.

Born in Mexico City, he began his musical studies at the National Conservatory of his native country before becoming a member of the junior programs at the Pittsburgh Opera and San Francisco Opera. Rolando Villazón is a Chévalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, one of the highest awards in the field of art and literature in France, his permanent residence. He is also ambassador of RED NOSES Clowndoctors International and member of the Collège de Pataphysique de Paris. In early 2017, Rolando Villazón was appointed ambassador of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation. He is currently serving as the foundation’s artistic director.

 

News

Rolando Villazón: Open-air opera Gala in Doberlug

Rolando Villazón sings an open-air concert in Doberlug on June 22 within the Brandenburg Summer Concerts Festival. Together with the Brandenburg State Orchestra Frankfurt under the baton of Guerassim Voronkov, Rolando Villazón presents most famous arias from Mozart to Puccini.
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Rolando Villazón: Piano recital in Fürstenzell

Rolando Villazón sings a piano recital in Bavarian Fürstenzell on June 16, 2024 as a part of the Donau Festival. Accompanied by Sarah Tysman, the tenor performs songs and arias by Tosti, de Curtis, Bellini and Verdi.
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Rolando Villazón honored with European Cultural Prize 2024

At the ceremony taking place on June 7, 2024 at the Luxembourg Philharmonic, the multi-talent and all-rounder is honored not only for his achievements as a tenor and stage director, but also as a writer, cultural manager, and cultural ambassador. “Culture and music show us how all of humankind can and must come together in […]
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Calendar

25
Jul 2024
Wiesbaden -  Rheingau Musik Festival: Serenata Latina with Xavier de Maistre
Kurhaus Wiesbaden
22
Aug 2024
Meran -  Südtirol Festival: Viaggio dell’Anima, concert with lautten compagney BERLIN
Kursaal
27
Aug 2024
Wesselburen -  Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival: Viaggio dell’ anima, concert with lautten compagney BERLIN
St. Bartholomäus-Kirche
30
Aug 2024
Kiel -  Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival: Recital with Sarah Tysman
Petruskirche

Pictures

Videos

Rolando Villazón: A collection of the tenor's greatest arias