Photo: Rolando Villazon at MET
Tonight Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon will seek to regain past glory by returning to New York’s Metropolitan Opera (Met) the place where his beautiful voice collapsed, nearly five years ago.
Villazon, 41, is starring in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin as the title character’s once friend, Lenski. The 3 hours, 25 minute opera will be sung in Russian with sub-titles in English, German and Spanish.
The Mexico City native came on the world stage in 1999 reaching the peak of his career in 2004 with critically-acclaimed performances at the London Royal Opera House, Salzburg and at the Met performing “La Traviata.” He was in demand everywhere and hailed by the great Placido Domingo as the “new Placido Domingo.”
It was shortly after 2004 that vocal cord issues surfaced eventually diagnosed as congenital vocal cysts.
In 2009, Villazon’s vocal chord issues could not be ignored. The Mexican tenor stood in front of 4,000 people at the Met during a performance of “Lucia di Lammermoor” when his voice cracked and eventually went silent.
Since that dramatic night Villazon has had surgery, vocal rehab and has worked on coming back to the stage. He officially returned to sing in 2010 but only until tonight has he dared return to the Met – the place of his vocal collapse.
He returns to the stage amongst much criticism. Some critics have said his strong voice is gone forever, others say he started too young and had no technique to fall back on and others wonder if his comeback will hold.
His large fan base, however, in Mexico, France and throughout the world only wish him the best and hope to hear him once again center stage on the world stages of opera.