Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Villazon's Crack

There has been a small dispute in the opera world about whether or not Rolando Villazon really did "crack" last night at the 40th Anniversary Gala.

Most people who were actually in the house (ex. Grand Tier, Balcony, etc.) say that they never heard the tenor crack once! Some people in the orchestra said that they heard him crack severely in his Manon aria.
People who were listening to the live stream from the Met (like me) and on Sirius Radio said that they distinctly heard him crack during both "Che Gelida Manina" in Boheme and in his Manon aria. It also sounded like he was having trouble in "O Soave Fanciulla," especially that final high note.

So, is this the fault of the radio transmission, the placement of the audience members, or Villazon's audibility? Usually, I hear, Villazon doesn't have these sort of problems. I'm guessing he was getting over a cold or developing one. It could have been vocal fatigue. It could have been many things, but I feel certain that Mr. Villazon is a better performer than what we heard last night. He deserves another chance, which he is getting next year in Romeo et Juliette.

I really wish the Met had recorded this Gala for either DVD or CD so we could tell what actually happened. I'm very curious, though, as to why the audience in the opera house couldn't hear the crack and us listening over the radio could!! Was it the placement of the microphones? Was it the volume of the orchestra overwhelming his voice so the audience didn't hear the crack? Was it how his voice carried into the upper tiers? Was it the audience members themselves? Some people suggested that the radio was to blame, and that the cracks were nothing more than a glitch in the transmission, which is ridiculous.
I firmly believe that Rolando Villazon did crack if not once, but twice, throughout the entire Gala performance. I will surely not hold this against him, but I hope he does better next season.

I sincerely hope Mr. Villazon feels better if anything is ailing him. May he have many better galas and performances ahead of him!!! =)


Mme A said...

Hi, this is my first time visitin your blog.

Although I didn't get to hear the gala live or via broadcast, I have an issue with the way you describe cracking.

For a singer, and especially for a tenor, cracking is a normal, healthy thing to do. It doesn't necessarily mean one is sick or using poor technique. Rather, it just happens because the voice and the brain are making adjustments and they sometimes don't synch. (If you look into Alexander Technique, you'll find support for this theory. This technique is taught at many top conservatories and training programs, and it's incorporated into many methods.)

Villazon is poised to become one of the greatest living tenors - hopefully his crack (whether or not it was a transmission issue) will help dispel myths about cracking.

I hope this doesn't sound snarky - I think it is great how passionate you are about opera!

Zeke said...

Hi - My first visit, too. Sadly I only heard part of the Gala performance. I set up my computer to record it and there was a glitch! But I did think that Rolando's voice wasn't as strong as I've heard in other recordings of live performances (the DVDs of Traviata and L'Elisir). However, I remember looking at his website that night and saw that he was in Paris less than a week before, and Germany before that. I think there must have just been some fatigue.

On another topic, I read your statement that they didn't record the Gala for a DVD release - is that true? That would be pretty unfortunate!