February 10, 2007 / 12:37 AM / 12 years ago

Tenor Villazon takes center stage on 3 recordings

Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon poses for photographers during a news conference in Frankfurt February 2, 2007. REUTERS/Alex Grimm

NEW YORK (Billboard) - 2007 is already proving to be a big year for superstar tenor Rolando Villazon.

The Mexican singer has just released “Gitano” (Virgin Classics, February 6), a colorful disc of 20th-century Spanish zarzuelas (theatrical songs) sung with Villazon’s typical clarion power and nuanced interpretation, and conducted by Placido Domingo — himself a longtime champion of this unique musical form.

Villazon is calling this album “my most intimate so far, as it brings together the music of my homeland’s mother country, my home language and the artist I most admire and from whom I have learned the most.”

But this isn’t the only recording on the near horizon for Villazon. His first solo album under his exclusive Deutsche Grammophon contract will be released at the start of 2008. Titled “Cielo e Mar,” it will be a recital featuring Italian opera arias by Verdi, Donizetti, Ponchielli and Cilea, as well as rarities by Saverio Mercadante and Brazilian composer Carlos Gomes.

And this September, Deutsche Grammophon will release another Villazon project: a duet album with omnipresent soprano Anna Netrebko that is poised to take advantage of the rave reviews and popular success the two have garnered together. The Metropolitan Opera will highlight the duo’s chemistry April 3, when the two singers perform at the Met’s 40th-anniversary gala in New York.

Reuters/Billboard

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