Rolando Villazón / Plácido Domingo

Gitano

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AllMusic Review by

Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón has been touted as a worthy successor to Plácido Domingo, and on the basis of this recording of romanzas from Spanish zarzuelas, that claim should be taken seriously. Villazón's large voice is extraordinarily like Domingo's, with rock-solid technique, heroic tone, and impassioned delivery. He sings with a thrilling abandon that would sound reckless if it were not for his absolute security. Those attributes serve him well in this virtuosic repertoire. Anyone who appreciates late romantic operatic showcases is likely to find these romanzas strongly attractive. The examples here come from the golden age of the zarzuela, from about the first third of the twentieth century (plus one entry from 1998) and have a distinctly Spanish flavor, a Puccinian lyricism, and a deeply emotional expressivity. These fully committed performances, by a singer of Villazón's strengths, make a compelling case for this repertoire, which is too little represented in non-Hispanic opera houses. Plácido Domingo, Villazón's mentor, conducting the Comunidad de Madrid Orchestra, knows this repertoire intimately and provides idiomatic and energetic support. The only caveat is that there is a sameness in the emotional intensity of the romanzas that will be thrilling for fans of the style and of the heroic tenor sound, but which may be appreciated by some listeners when taken in smaller doses, a few selections at a time. The sound is vivid and well-balanced.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
La Tabernera del Puerto, zarzuela
1
2:44
Doña Francisquita, zarzuela in 3 acts
2
4:19
La Alegria del batallon, zarzuela
3
2:19 Spotify
La Picara Molinera, zarzuela
4
4:55
Luisa Fernanda, zarzuela
5
3:27 Spotify
El ultimo romantico, zarzuela
6
4:23
La Dolorosa, zarzuela
7
4:04 Spotify
Los Gavilanes, zarzuela
8
3:58
El Huésped del Sevillano, zarzuela
9
3:27
El Guitarrico, zarzuela
10
4:02
El Trust de los Tenorios, zarzuela
11
2:35 Spotify
La Del Manojo de Rosas, zarzuela
12
2:53
La del soto del parral, zarzuela
13
5:10 Spotify
Maravilla, zarzuela
14
3:22 Spotify
Luna, zarzuela
15
5:18 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick