Through his uniquely compelling performances with leading opera houses and orchestras around the world, Rolando Villazón has firmly established himself as one of the music world’s most critically acclaimed and beloved stars and as one of the leading tenors of our day. Heralded as “the most charming of today’s divos” (The Times) with “a wonderfully virile voice…grandezza, elegance and power” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Rolando Villazón is among the most versatile artists of today, maintaining successful careers as a stage director, novelist, and TV personality next to his on-stage career.
Born in Mexico City, he began his musical studies at the national conservatory of his home country before joining the junior programs at the opera houses in Pittsburgh and at the San Francisco Opera. Rolando Villazón quickly made a name for himself on the international music scene after winning several prizes at Plácido Domingo’s “Operalia” competition in 1999 (including the Zarzuela Prize and the Audience Prize). This was followed in the same year by his European debut as Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon in Genoa and debuts as Alfredo in La Traviata at the Opéra de Paris and as Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth at the Staatsoper Berlin. Since then, Rolando Villazón has been a regular guest at the State Operas of Berlin, Munich and Vienna, La Scala in Milan, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera New York and the Salzburg Festival, working with leading orchestras and renowned conductors such as Daniel Barenboim and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. As a concert singer he has appeared at London’s Barbican Hall, the Philharmonia in Berlin and Cologne, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Gewandhaus Leipzig, the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome and New York’s Carnegie Hall, among others. In 2011 Rolando Villazón made his debut as a director in Lyon and since then has directed for the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf, the Vienna Volksoper and the Semperoper in Dresden.
The 2022-23 season brings Rolando Villazón to some of the world’s most important stages, in repertoire ranging from baroque to contemporary music. He makes his role debut as Loge in Wagner’s Das Rheingold in a new production of the tetralogy directed by Dmitry Tcherniakov and conducted by Christian Thielemann at the State Opera in Berlin. Later in the season, he portrays one of his signature roles, Monteverdi’s Orfeo, in new productions at Dresden Semper Opera and Santa Fe Opera, the latter conducted by Harry Bicket. Audiences in Berlin can also experience him as Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor when he returns to Deutsche Oper Berlin. Also for Dresden’s Semper Opera, he directs Bellini’s La sonnambula while his acclaimed production of Il barbiere di Siviglia premieres in Monte Carlo. At Geneva Opera, he stars in a semi-staged production of Monteverdi’s Combattimento di Tancredi/Les amours impossibles alongside frequent collaborators L’Arpeggiata and Christina Pluhar. The same project takes the artist to Bayreuth and Lyon. Together with Thomas Hampson (Creonte), Cecilia Bartoli (Euridice) and Mélissa Petit (Genio), he sings a concert performance of Haydn’s L’anima del filosofo as Orfeo at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival. L’Arpeggiata and Christina Pluhar are also Rolando Villazón’s partners when he performs Alessandro in Mozart’s Il re pastore in a concert performance to open the Mozart+Fest at Salzburg’s Mozarteum Foundation, a new festival curated by Villazón featuring artists such as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Lisa Batiashvili and Anne-Sophie Mutter. As artistic director of the Mozart Week festival in Salzburg, he brings the festival to Berlin for a long weekend in the Pierre Boulez Hall featuring a concert with the tenor Camerata Salzburg, an afternoon of Mozart’s “Ein Musikalischer Spaß” KV 522, and a reading of Mozart’s letters to his friends. The latter programme is also presented at Montreux Festival. The 2023 Mozart Week itself, curated by Rolando Villazón, features ten days of concerts with luminaries such as András Schiff, Jordi Savall, Martha Argerich and Mitsuko Ushida, to name but a few and sees the tenor perform Mozart’s Requiem with the Vienna Philharmonic.
The season also features extensive concert and recital appearances with Rolando Villazón presenting his joint programme with harpist Xavier de Maistre, “Serenata Latina”, at the Alte Oper Frankfurt/Main, in Braunschweig and in the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. Gala concerts with soprano Emily Pogorelc and conductor Guerassim Voronkov take place at the Festival of Nations in Bad Wörishofen and at Dvorak Hall in Prague. For further gala concerts, he travels to Sofia and sings the New Year’s Eve concert in Baden-Baden. In autumn, Rolando Villazón goes on recital tour through Switzerland (Bern, Basel, Lucerne, Zurich), Germany (Hanover, Nuremberg, Hamburg) and Austria (Vienna). He continues his “Rolando Raconte” concert series alongside the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg at the Philharmonie Luxembourg and presents two concerts of the series “Les Grandes Voix” at the Bozar in Brussels and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris.
In 2007 the tenor became an exclusive artist for Deutsche Grammophon. He has sold over 2 million albums worldwide and recorded over 20 CDs and DVDs which have received numerous prizes. He is also a Chévalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, one of the highest awards in the field of art and literature in France, his permanent residence. Rolando Villazón is ambassador of RED NOSES Clowndoctors International and member of the Collège de Pataphysique de Paris. His first novel “Malabares” was published in 2013, the second “Lebenskünstler” was published in April 2017. His third novel “Amadeus auf dem Fahrrad” was published in June 2020 and spent several weeks on the bestseller list of Der Spiegel magazine. Rolando Villazón presents his own programme series on Arte TV and has a daily show on Radio Classique in France, as well as a weekly show on the German station KlassikRadio. In early 2017, Rolando Villazón was appointed ambassador of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation and in July 2017, he was named artistic director of the Salzburg Mozart Week from 2019 onwards.