© 2022 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Classical 101

Rolando Villazn's Resume: Tenor and Cartoonist?

Tenor Rolando Villazón experienced the equivalent of a fiery crash at the Indianapolis 500 when, about six years ago, he was onstage at the Metropolitan Opera in a performance of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.  It was a climactic moment in act 2.  He went for one of those high notes for which he is so famous and - his voice cracked.  He paused, regrouped, went for it again, then continued. Some 4,000 people witnessed the first indication of a problem that would take years to correct.  The Mexican tenor had a congenital cyst lodged in his left vocal fold.  This is not something you rehab.  This is something you go after with a scalpe - something which causes everyone who uses their voice for a living to recoil in horror.  In a 2009 column, music critic Norman Lebrecht wondered aloud what others were thinking, would the young tenor ever appear on stage again? The surgery was successful.  Villazón would spend several years re-learning how to first speak, then sing.  That kind of rehab would leave you many hours to be alone with your thoughts - time which would either make you crazy, or force you to find another outlet of expression.  It appears that Villazón spent that time discovering his inner cartoonist. While the tenor will not be quitting his day job to earn a living in the funny papers, he did find a way to channel his cartooning into an entertaining and educational pursuit.  Villazón Toons is a growing series of simple animated drawings which tell the story of some of opera's best-loved tales.  The Elixir of Love, La Boheme, and La Traviata. This series was the brainchild of sinfinimusic.com.  I hope it continues for many years to come. Today - Donizetti's The Elixir of Love, as told by Rolando Villazón. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQpgt49Gjxo