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Villazon crashes out after two arias, premiere postponed

The star Mexican tenor quit a Berlin concert with Daniel Barenboim on Monday night after singing two Mozart arias. He returned after the interval and apologised to the audience. Barenboim explained that he had been suffering for a week with a cold.

The planned European premiere of an Elliott Carter song suite had to be postponed. Disappointed concertgoers will be compensated with a CD. Report here (auf Deutsch).

UPDATE: Apparently, Chancellor Merkel was in the audience and visited the artists backstage.

Villazon’s performing career has been erratic since he returned from a surgical sabbatical in 2008. He is developing sidelines as an opera director and television presenter.


Villazon, signing his new DG contract

2nd UPDATE: We hear that Villazon did sing the Carter songs at Tuesday night’s repeat concert – no reviews yet.

3rd UPDATE: Villazon - the official version.

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  1. Poor guy!

  2. George King says:

    Unfortunate! (Comes from singing Mozart at the wrong pitch …)

  3. Gary Carpenter says:

    Postponed 24 hours only: to last night (Tuesday).

    • did it happen?

      • Gary Carpenter says:

        Yes. I had friends at the concert.

        • all firsthand reports warmly received…

          • Hi,

            Mr Villazón did perform the whole programme yesterday. First the Carter was performed and it was a success. Mr Villazon did master the demanding and difficult piece with excellence and only 2 or 3 notes were a little scratchy, caused by the flue he still is suffering. But the rest of the piece was wonderfully sung and there is no point to critize it. After the intermission he sang the two Mozart arias. though not every single not was perfect due to phlegm he managed to sing over it due a good singing technique. there were lots of “bravi” and a big applause afterwards.

            It is a pitty that over three years after his successful return to the operatic stage people are still only keen on publishing the bad news. every single singer has bad days and is suffering colds and has to cancel performances. but in this special case it is always related to his surgery. all the performances and concerts that are sung extremly well are not commented. I am not one of these fans that are not able to judge in an objective way. I am pretty sure I can. But I find it a little sad that there are still so many polemic reviews and articles. One wishes to read more neutral, less polemic ones.

  4. Mike Hausgrand says:

    I suggest the truth is in the small print… if the Elliott Carter cycle is like any other vocal (?) piece by Carter even a vocal-chord-nodule-free tenor in good health would need some recovery. What’s next? (pund intended)

  5. Why did you not report the excellent performance and singing of Villazón, yesterday?

  6. I was there on Monday. Villazón sounded terrible from the start of his first aira: out of breath, no legato to speak off, chopping phrases like a fiend, and totally inappropriate for Mozart, style-wise (he was perhaps mistaking this for a performance of Cavalleria Rusticana at a second tier Italian opera house?). After the two arias and the intermission, Barenboim apologised to the audience (NOT Villazón, who never came back on-stage), explained Villazón was ill with a cold, and offered a copy of the morning’s rehearsal recording (!!) to the audience. Then proceeded to conduct the remaining Mozart symphony on the program.

    I have heard Villazón live twice before (both times well before his illness), and cold or no cold, he always sounded the same to my ears: tiny voice, pinched top, overstretched and over-parted, out of breath, no legato and no sense of style whatsoever. Overacting wildly and mugging abut the stage making puppy eyes and looking cute is not a substitute for bad technique and lack of study.

    Frau Merkel looked like the cat that has just eaten half a dozen mice. Very jolly.

    The fun we have in Berlin!

  7. This is what the loss of a solid technique causes: losing the voice and abandoning the stage with false excuses.
    Nowadays, Villazon’s singing is simply embarassing: he doesn’t support, he just “bangs out tha sound” not thinking to emitt it properly, he doens’t project but keeps the sound in the mouth (throaty voice) with those awful faces, he doesn’t have the passaggio and simply screams high notes, not speaking about the rudeness and vulgarity of any role. He simply sings ANYHTHING in the same thing.
    This is the nowadays model for the tenor voice. It really makes me cry that many young people knows Villazon and don’t know Tito Schipa, Miguel Fleta, Francesco Merli, Jussi Bjorling, Giacomo Lauri Volpi, Gianni Raimondi.

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