Rolando Villazón

Rolando Villazón sings Verdi

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Mexican-French tenor Rolando Villazón has become one of the leading candidates to supplant the Three Tenors in the public's affection, and it is no surprise that his recordings of Verdi have been readied for the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth in 2013. He has a confident, tuneful way in higher registers that is very well suited to Verdi indeed. This compilation includes well-worn Verdi tunes recorded by Villazón in the mid-2000s decade, before vocal surgery sidelined him for a long recovery. The opening version of the most-worn Verdi tune of all, "La donna è mobile" from Rigoletto, gives a good accounting of Villazón's personality and his ability to bring a smooth tone to a series of very high notes. Other highlights include the concluding "Ingemisco" movement from Verdi's Missa da Requiem, a piece that doesn't show up often in operatic compilations. If your aim is a pleasing interlude of music that will introduce you to one of today's top vocal talents, this will do the job. This said, it clocks in well under 40 minutes, strangely short for a release in the digital era, and it could have been improved and given greater depth in any number of ways. Virgin Classics has been able to fuse several recordings from different locations into a reasonably coherent sonic whole.

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