Cher Public

September song

rolandoPaul Appleby will sing the role of Don Ottavio in this season’s September and October performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, replacing Rolando Villazón, who has withdrawn due to illness,” the Met’s press department tells us.

  • Gualtier Maldè

    You know I am getting from Rolandinho a resemblance not just to Rowan Atkinson/Mr. Bean from that photo but also facially to Nathan Lane. A skinnier hispanic Nathan Lane. However, were the Met to revive “The Producers” I think Villazon would be a perfect Leo Bloom rather than Max Bialystock. Maybe a new direction in the career?

    Also they seem to have been fairly far along in rehearsals at the Metropolitan, less than two weeks before opening night, when Mr. Villazon’s “illness” that will last five weeks through the 22nd of October manifested itself…

    • Daniel Swick

      Well, he blew his voice out, right? I suppose we should act like it never happened. Who the hell cares who sings Ottavio anyway.

      • Rosina Leckermaul

        Did anyone think Villanzon was going to sing those performances?

        • grimoaldo2

          When I was writing the review for parterre of the DVD of the production of”La Rondine”, which he directed, I nearly wrote “the former tenor” to describe him but had a look at his website http://rolandovillazon.com/schedule/ and was surprised to see a lot of upcoming performances at top notch venues, not just Ottavio at the Met, but concerts, and leading roles in Monteverdi, Donizetti and Mozart.

          • Gualtier Maldè

            What is weird is that in a lot of the venues that he sings at -- especially in London and Vienna where he is a public darling -- you hear very little analysis and description of his vocal condition and how the voice actually is working these days. So his name shows up in the papers and they discuss his acting but the vocal aspect is sort of skated over vaguely in reviews.

            • Krunoslav

              Indeed- several European magazines I see treat RV rhetorically as if he is still in prime career. Guess it’s like with Carerras in the late 80s: still a star from the publicity/ad copy point of view.

            • “especially in London and Vienna where he is a public darling -- you hear very little analysis and description of his vocal condition and how the voice actually is working these days.”--

              And not much on YouTube either, Gualtier.
              Maybe he hired St. Clair Bayfield as his press agent.

            • Resitopiu

              I saw his Ottavio in London and he was in pretty acceptable voice far from the wreck that you suggest.

        • berkeleygirl

          No. When I saw the casting announcement, I thought it was a misprint.

        • Kullervo

          I certainly did think Villazon would sing the performances. I didn’t see it far-fetched that the company that didn’t pull Toby Spence from the Fledermaus last season would in turn keep Villazon around for Ottavio, considering the latter at least has a legitimate fan base in the States.

          • Rosina Leckermaul

            Spence’s Eisenstein was certainly a disaster. Inaudible at the front of the balcony.

            • And now Toby Spence is replacing Jonas Kaufmann (who cancelled due to “health reasons”) in “The Dream of Gerontius” with Staatskapelle Berlin/Barenboim next week.

            • Rosina Leckermaul

              Well Gerontius is often the province of British tenors at a certain stage of their career. Spence is still quite young, but he did have that bout with cancer.

      • Krunoslav

        I love Ottavio’s music actually. Hope Paul Appleby is in beter form than as Belmonte: I heard his very good Jonathan in Glyndebourne’s SAUL DVD last night.

        But I never expected that Villazon would go on, no.

        • Daniel Swick

          Great music, yes, but a bland character.

          • Krunoslav

            A good actor and director can make him more than the usual sonorous mannequin.

            (Remember the excitement Gregory J. Turay’s Ottavio raised in some quarters merely by running up and down a staircase.)

            • berkeleygirl

              Kurt Streit was a fantastic Ottavio -- tall, handsome, intense, elegant in voice and carriage.

        • I’ve shared before that I don’t think Mozart suits Appleby, though on the surface it should be an ideal fit.

        • Rosina Leckermaul

          Appleby was pretty blah as Belmonte. Obviously someone at the Met loves him.

          • Bill

            Quite agree Appleby was not at all effective as Belmonte, had considerable difficulty with the florid passages. Don Ottavio will not be any easier for him -- That said Villazon may not have been any better these days, but
            it is a bigger name. Was much more impressed with Appleby in the Rake’s Progress where the weaknesses of technique and tone are less exposed than in Mozart- That said, in the last decades it seems much more difficult to have Don Giovanni’s roles splendidly cast throughout -- we were spoiled
            in the 1950s and 1960s in Salzburg, Vienna
            and the Met.

            • PCally

              We have been spoiled as recently as the 2000s Bill, no need to go back far. Fleming, Harteros, kozena, Bartoli, terfel, persson, Mattei, keenly side, roschmann, Allen, and Ramey starred in some really phenomenally well cast revivals over the past decade. The Miller Figaro in particular was usually fantastically cast up until the last couple of revivals which were very weak. It seems a bit harder nowadays for some reason but when we I first started attending opera I found that for pure musical pleasure, the Mozart operas were the most consistently well cast.

  • QuantoPainyFakor

    must be difficult to plan on having the money from those GIOVANNI gigs, then nothing. Who knows, maybe there was a buyout.

  • David Campbell

    I was never a fan of his voice but he sure blew it. I remember being concerned listening to Lawrence Brownlee singing in the mets Armida, I thought he was sounding a bit strained.
    My two favourite Ottavio’s are Stuart Burrowes and Jerry Hadley

  • laddie

    Too bad they couldn’t get Ben Bliss. What is Matthew P doing this fall?

    • laddie

      I’ll answer my own question…He’s doing Ottavio…IN PARIS!

    • laddie

      and, Ben Bliss is doing Belmonte in Atlanta. Darn.

  • Cefalu

    I actually heard Rolando as Ottavio in Vienna and it was quite good. No issues. The voice is much more narrow though and he seems to have developed this new habit of singing everything VERY open. All notes in and above the passaggio were not at all turned. Gs, Abs, and As. OPEN. Furthermore, he seems to shy away from pure [i] vowels, singing instead a very wide ‘EH’/’IH’ (Ditele che i suoi torti became DEHHHtele)

    • Kullervo

      Quite interested to know how one can have ‘no issues’ in Don Ottavio when they exhibit all of the technical shortcomings you describe in the rest of your paragraph. Sounds like it would be dreadful Mozart singing.

      • Cefalu

        Fair point.. and no you’re right, it was far from Mozartean. What I meant was that it was a far cry from the complete and utter onstage meltdowns I’ve experienced in pieces like Elisir, Hoffmann, Werther, and Macbeth.

  • QuantoPainyFakor

    Could someone please post the link to the Youtube video of the complete La fille du régiment with Sutherland and Kraus filmed from the wings? It was recently here on Parterre. Thanks very much.