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Rolando Villazón - Cielo E Mar / Limited Edition


Release Date: 04/22/2008 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001087602   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Amilcare PonchielliFrancesco CilèaSaverio MercadanteArrigo Boito,   ... 
Performer:  Rolando VillazónGianluca Alfano
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra MilanVerdi Chorus Milan
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 57 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The exuberant and charismatic, Rolando Villazón is the tenor of today. For his first solo album on Deutsche Grammophon Villazón pays homage to his illustrious predecessors in the lyric-dramatic repertoire – great tenors such as Bergonzi, Caruso and Domingo. The soaring title track from Ponchielli’s La Gioconda inspired Villazón to become a singer. Here it is the starting point for an intriguing album which moves far beyond the usual “greatest tenor hits”. Less familiar masterpieces by Boito, Cilea and Verdi are featured alongside lesser-known Donizetti arias and rarities by Gomes, Mercadante and Pietri.

This limited edition deluxe package features a hard cover booklet with 68 pages. It also
Read more includes a four-language booklet (English, French, German, and Spanish) and five language libretti (Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish), additional photo and text material, and a short synopsis for each aria track by track.


This CD was recorded in March, 2007; in June, Rolando Villazon withdrew from the stage for six months, presumably because he was "burnt out". I suspect that this was not hype of any kind: Villazon is the most intense tenor currently on the scene and I have never heard him give a performance in which he has held anything back. This occasionally leads to a bit of strain at the top of his voice, but he is never unmusical, lackadaisical, or thoughtless; indeed, if I had to name one, I'd say he was the finest tenor currently on the scene.

This is not to say that Juan Diego Florez is not a superb singer; in fact, what he does he does better than anyone. But his voice seems born to sing high, fast music in a perfect tenore di grazie manner and without seeming effort. Villazon is out to do more--his repertoire starts at Monteverdi and moves up through, apparently, all the French and Italian Romantic composers, and he treats them all with style, honesty, and dramatic thrust. His desire to master a broad repertoire is working well. And, as mentioned above, aside from the occasional high note that sounds under pressure, this recital is simply glorious.

This is Villazon's first CD with his new label, DG, and only a few of the arias are familiar. From the very first notes of the well-known "Cielo e mar" we hear his signature warmth and involvement. There is true wonder here as Enzo contemplates the heavens and sea and his nuanced repetitions of "o sogni d'or" show true rapture. As the tempo increases toward the aria's conclusion, so does Villazon's excitement; his high B-flat at its close is thrilling. He caresses the opening phrases of Maurizio's "La dolcissima effigie" with love and works his way around the melody like a poet. "Bella, adorata incognita", from Mercadante's Il giuramento, is a real beauty, lyrically sung; José Carreras recorded it 30-plus years ago (at his prime) and I've been wanting to hear it again.

Arias from Pietri's Maristella and Gomez's Fosca are rarities; Villazon gives the former, a serenade, a bit too much voice, but pulls out the proper dramatic stops for the latter. Two arias from Boito's Mefistofele are handsomely sung and Gabriele's big scene from Simon Boccanegra is so passionately delivered that it doesn't seem to be out of context.

Villazon sings lengthy scenes from Donizetti's Poliuto and Verdi's Luisa Miller and turns each into a mini psycho-drama; as usual, they're both examples of a thinking tenor, and Verdi's obvious debt to later Donizetti is never clearer. Villazon embellishes the Poliuto cabaletta tastefully for its second appearance, emphasizing different facets of the music.

Daniele Callegari leads with understanding, but he's clearly following his tenor rather than the other way around. And a few of these rarities are rare for good reasons--they're hardly masterpieces. Still, this is another step on Villazon's journey, and since he is the all-around tenor of the future, everything he does is of interest. If his crisis was vocal, we'd never know from this recital; for the most part, he sounds wonderful. And his curiosity and musicianship set him apart in a crowded field. Bravo!

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
La Gioconda: Cielo e mar by Amilcare Ponchielli
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Written: 1876 
Length: 5 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
2.
Adriana Lecouvreur: La dolcissima effigie by Francesco Cilèa
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
3.
Il giuramento: Bella adorata incognita by Saverio Mercadante
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
4.
Mefistofele: Dai campi, dai prati by Arrigo Boito
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
5.
Maristella: Io conosco un giardino by Giuseppe Pietri
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1934; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
6.
Fosca: Intenditi con Dio..Ah, se tu sei fra gli angeli by Antonio Carlos Gomes
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873/1878; Milan, Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: Composition written: Milan, Italy (1873).
Composition revised: Milan, Italy (1878). 
7.
Simon Boccanegra: O inferno! Amelia qui!...Sento avvampar... by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857; Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
8.
Il giuramento: Compita è omai..Fu celeste quel contento by Saverio Mercadante
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
9.
Adriana Lecouvreur: L'anima ho stanca by Francesco Cilèa
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
10.
Il figliuol prodigo: Il padre mio...Tenda natal by Amilcare Ponchielli
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Length: 4 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
11.
Mefistofele: Giunto sul passo estremo by Arrigo Boito
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
12.
Luisa Miller: L'ara o l'avello apprestami by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Gianluca Alfano (Baritone), Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Chorus Milan,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
13.
Poliuto: Sfolgoro divino raggio by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Gianluca Alfano (Baritone), Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Italy 
Length: 8 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
14.
Luisa Miller: Quando le sere al placido by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniele Callegari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: Italian 

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