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Gitano

4.8 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 6, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Zarzuela--the Spanish theatrical form that is half-way between what we know as musical comedy and opera--requires as much from the singer as opera. Teresa Berganza, Placido Domingo, Montserrat Caballé, and others have popularized it somewhat in the past 20 years, and this terrific new CD from superstar tenor Rolando Villazon should convince others of the music's worth. The selections are filled with heartfelt emotions - love, loss, joy - and the remarkable Villazon inflects his essentially dark-hued voice so intelligently and sensitively that he embodies each experience. He's a tenor with ideas, seemingly incapable of phoning in a performance: the lovely, soft ending to an aria by Pablo Luna stands in wonderful contrast with a near-heroic number by Jacinto Guerrero about loving one's home. So much of great singing is about inflection: Villazon is a master of subtlety. It certainly doesn't hurt that he's singing in his native language and that the orchestra is being led by another famous Spanish tenor, Placido Domingo. A greatly enjoyable CD. --Robert Levine
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 6, 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Erato Disques
  • ASIN: B000FIHZLE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,502 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David G. Rogoff on February 28, 2007
Format: Audio CD
The best way to make my point is by saying that I've had this CD for two weeks now, one in my car and one in my home, and it's about all I've been listening to since I got it. It's that addictive. If you are an opera lover, if you are a fan of vocal art, if you have admired Villazon's earlier work, if you just love great music wonderfully, earnestly, generously, passionately performed, then you absolutely must own this CD. There's not a false note in these gorgeously rendered numbers. The music itself, mostly new to my ears, is sun-drenched Latin throughout--pulsating with life, hypnotic, captivating, sensual and, under Domingo's magic wand, magnificently, charmingly idiomatic. Villazon's singing is beautiful, full-throated, subtle, free and fully alive to every word in the text and will pull you back for repeated listening, I guarantee it.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Rolando Villazon is an outstanding opera tenor, and in this series of zarzuela arias shows his great talent. Coached by Placido Domingo, some of the arias sound as if Domingo was singing them. The CD includes a new aria Domingo has also sang before (Un gitano sin honor)and Villazon does a great interpretation.
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Format: Audio CD
This recording should help increase the English-speaking public's knowledge and appreciation of the zarzuela genre. Superbly sung and conducted, it reflects Domingo's knowledge of and experience in zarzuelas aand Villazón's beuatiful voice and great artistry. What a combination!
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Format: Audio CD
Maybe once in a generation comes a tenor voice as rich and exciting as Rolando's. Unfortunately, such voices sometimes come in fragile packages. His recent appearance cancellations for "health problems," stretching out for almost half a year already and attributed by some to voice difficulties, give us worry that this voice, too, may not last. Nevertheless, this album is rich and fine, not only for the wonderful singing, but also for the introduction to the Spanish Zarzuela. The criticism by another reviewer of pitch wavering I think is mistaken; I see rather an adaptation to the spirit of the Zarzuela, where, as in much popular music (and the Zarzuela has always dipped generously into the field of Iberian popular song), absolute pitch often gives way to expression. The notes give a decent, if limited, background to the genre, and complete lyrics, in both Spanish and English, are given for all of the songs. The translations into English are uneven, frequently missing the inner intent of the original Spanish by a wide margin. Yet they give a decent reflection of the general meaning of the songs and would be helpful for a listener whose Spanish is wobbly. The album title "Gitano" is somewhat misleading in that only one of the tracks deals explicitly with a gypsy theme. But that is a quibble. In all, this is an album which will delight and enrich for many years to come. It belongs in every music library where good singing is treasured--and not just for the voice, but also for the glimpse into the too often obscured world of Spanish musical theater as represented by the Zarzuela.
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Format: Audio CD
Despite all the big fuss about Villazon causing people to doubt his calibre as a leading tenor, Rolando is capable of convincing me that he holds the potential to be the top tenor - if, and there is a caveat - he does not over tax his beautifully lyrical instrument.
Judging from the bonus DVD, Mr. Villazon is a vivacious character, almost to the point of being volatile, a trait very much akin to Chinese star pianist Lang Lang. For both these gentlemen, I sound my warning - over exertion at a premature stage will in most likelihood damage their future artistic careers.
The Zarzuela arias, sung by most Spanish singers, require certain amount of charisma, given the mostly Gypsy character inherent in the music itself. Villazon is able to give this characterisation in this recording. The music is beautifully exuberant, and the singing exhilerating. There is, however, a feeling that the singer is being over-taxed. The intonation is, quite to the contrary view of one reviewer, accurate most of the time, if not all. He even manages to sing messa voce, a trait not many tenors are adept nowadays. The placing of the voice, especially in the upper registers, however, causes some problem. If he persists in using this position for singing those loud high notes and has to sustain them on forte, he WILL damage his voice. Rolando should resort to a more centre headed position, and downtune his volume with a more scrupulous choice of repertoire to 'maintain' his beautiful instrument. In due course, with maturity in age, he will become a true spinto tenor.
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Format: Audio CD
I agree with some of the reviews:This may not be the best recording of zarzuela arias. Also, Rolando is probably being overrated as being the best tenor at present time. Yet I think he is a great tenor with a great voice and, mainly, a great charisma. And his interprtation of these zarzuela arias is absolutely delightful and it doesn't have to be compared with other other tenors. He is himself and he is great. He may not be the best, but still he is wonderful. I got this recording in the version that includes a DVD of the rehearsals. It is really interesting to see the chemistry beteen Placido and Rolando. I strongly recomend it.
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