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Emilio Rolando Villazón Mauleón (born February 22, 1972, in Mexico Citymarker) is a Mexicanmarker-born tenor who settled in France and in 2007 became a French citizen.

He was raised in Fuentes de Satellitemarker, a suburban area of Greater Mexico City, Mexicomarker. In an interview for Mexican television, Villazón told the story of how he was discovered as a tenor. He said that one day, as he was getting out of the shower in his apartment in Mexico City, somebody came knocking on his door; it was baritone Arturo Nieto, a friend of his neighbour, who had heard him singing while in the shower. He told Rolando he had an amazing voice and invited him to his music academy to develop his voice, there Rolando fell in love with opera.

His meteoric rise to super-stardom began in 1999 when he won both first prizes awarded in the Operalia international competition - both for opera and zarzuela.The same year he sang for the first time in Italy (des Grieux in "Manon" in Genua).In 2000 he appeared for the first time at the Staatsoper Berlin - as Macduff in Macbeth. Over the years he has presented many of his best roles here, among them Jose ("Carmen") and des Grieux ("Manon").In 2000 he sang Rodolpho ("Boheme") in Munich.In 2002 he sang Rinuccio ("Gianni Schicchi") in Los Angeles.In 2003 he sang "Rodolpho" at the Glyndebourne Festival in the UK. He also enjoyed a huge success as "Hoffmann" at Covent Garden, London.In 2004 he sang Alfredo in "Traviata" at the Met.In 2005 he bowed at St. Petersburg and the Salzburg Festival as Alfredo.

Villazon combines the unique qualities of a darkly coloured, immensely expressive tenor voice, capable of all doing justice to all florid music, with a dramatic talent equal to that of Maria Callas.

He is currently in international demand as an opera singer, and also maintains an active recording career. He has recorded four solo CDs with Virgin Classics and is additionally featured, along with Patrizia Ciofi and Topi Lehtipuu, on the CD recording of Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda by Claudio Monteverdi, conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm.

In August 2005, he sang a highly regarded Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata at the Salzburg Festival, conducted by Carlo Rizzi and directed by Willy Decker, with Anna Netrebko, his frequent singing partner, as Violetta Valéry. They have also appeared together in a video version of Donizetti's Elisir d'amore, both are available on DVD.

In 2006, Villazón performed with Anna Netrebko at the "Petroushka Ball" hosted by the Russian Children's Welfare Society in New York.

In 2007, Villazón switched his recording company – he signed an exclusive long-term contract with Deutsche Grammophon. An album of Zarzuelas (Gitano, Virgin Classics) under the baton of Plácido Domingo, was released in Spring 2007. An album of operatic duets featuring Rolando Villazón and Anna Netrebko was recorded with the Dresdener Staatskapelle under Nicola Luisotti for Deutsche Grammophon and was released in March 2007. The U.S. version of his latest album Viva Villazón (Virgin Classics) was released in September 2007.

After suffering from severe voice alteration during the Met Concert Gala on April 3, 2007, Villazón cancelled most (if not all) his performances starting from that date on, including his debut recital at the Carnegie Hallmarker and Roméo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera, due to health problems.

His first appearance since then was at the Wiener Staatsoper in Werther, but he did not make any new recordings or live broadcasts. Although his schedule for 2008–2009 was originally full, many performances were also subsequently cancelled out.

In 2007 he applied for and was granted French citizenship.


  • Romeo y Julieta CD (2002), Radio Televisión Española
  • Der Fliegende Holländer CD (2002), Teldec Classics
  • Berlioz: La Révolution Grecque CD (2004), EMI Classics
  • Italian Opera Arias CD (2004), Virgin Classics
  • Gounod & Massenet Arias CD (2005), Virgin Classics
  • Tristan und Isolde CDs and DVD (2005), EMI Classics
  • Don Carlo 2 DVDs (2005), Opus Arte
  • La Traviata CD (2005), Deutsche Grammophon
  • Merry Christmas (Soundtrack) CD (2005), Virgin Classics
  • Opera Recital CD; bonus edition with DVD (2006), Virgin Classics
  • La Traviata DVD; premium 2-DVD edition (behind the scenes, rehearsals, introduction to the opera etc.) (2006), Salzburger Festspiele 2005, Deutsche Grammophon
  • La Bohème DVD (2006), Bregenzer Festspiele 2002, ORF + Capriccio
  • Monteverdi: Il Combattimento CD; bonus edition with DVD (2006), Virgin Classics
  • Donizetti: L'elisir d'amore DVD (2006), Virgin Classics
  • The Berlin Concert: Live from the Waldbühne DVD (2006), Deutsche Grammophon
  • Gitano CD; bonus edition with DVD (February 2007), Virgin Classics
  • Duets featuring Rolando Villazón and Anna Netrebko CD; bonus edition with DVD (March 2007), Deutsche Grammophon
  • Viva Villazón - Rolando Villazón — Best Of CD (2007), Virgin Classics
  • La Bohème Live recording CD (two disk set) (2008), Deutsche Grammophon
  • Romeo et Juliette" 2 DVDs (Salzburger Festspiele 2008) (2009), Deutsche Grammophon
  • Georg Friedrich Händel" CD/CD+DVD,(2009) Deutsche Grammophon
  • La Bohéme DVD (Opera film) (2009)


The finest tenor of our time” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Schönste Tenorstimme unserer Zeit” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

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