Rolando Villazón

Tenor (born in 1972, Mexico)

Rolando Villazón is internationally renown as one of the best contemporary lyrical tenors. His performances on the great musical stages of the world are welcome with enthusiasm.

Roland Villazón entered the Academy of Performing Arts Espacios when he was eleven. There he studied music, theatre, contemporary dance and ballet. In 1990, he met baritone Arturo Nieto who introduced him to opera and became his singing teacher. Two years later, Rolando joined the National Music Conservatoire to complete his singing training under Enrique Jaso. He would win two national competitions before carrying on his education with baritone Gabriel Mijares. In 1998, he studied in the class of Joan Sutherland at the San Francisco Opera and was designated the following year as the promising artist to be watched after winning several prizes (including the prize Zarzuela and the prize Placido Domingo).

After winning a Victoire de la Musique Classique in the International Revelation category in 2003, he signed an exclusive contract with the label Virgin Classics. At the same time, his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in La Traviata was acclaimed. In 2005, he played the same role at the Salzburg Festival alongside Anna Netrebko and got unanimous praises from the audience and the critics.

In 2007, Rolando Villazón particularly shone thanks to the representation of Les Contes d'Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach at the Opéra Bastille. The same year, he changed labels and chose to go with the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon. After some health problems that altered his voice, the tenor came back in 2010 with a recital dedicated to Mexican popular tunes called ¡México! The following year, he worked for the first time as a director in a production of Werther by Massenet at the Opéra de Lyon and with L’elisir d’amore by Donizetti at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden.

Six landmark dates in the life of Rolando Villazón

1990: meets baritone Arturo Nieto who introduces him to opera.

1998: studies under Joan Sutherland at the San Francisco Opera.

2005: first big success at the Salzburg Festival in La Traviata, alongside soprano Anna Netrebko.

2007: gets the French nationality.

2012: gives himself the challenge to record the seven mature operas of Mozart under the conducting of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The first recording was released in 2013 and the second in 2014. 

2013: publishes his first novel, Malabares in Mexico.

Radio France Documentation Biography, October 2014.