The “Great Voices” series with international voices will be opened at the Linz Music Theater for the first time on Thursday, October 26 by the Mexican-French tenor Rolando Villazon with a variety program with Antiche arias by Scarlatti as well as art songs. And rarities from Bellini, Verdi, Puccini or Tosti.
Volksblatt: How are you doing before your debut at the Linz Music Theater, which opened in 2013 and which you may have already heard about. You have a lot of experience on big stages where you were able to meet audiences of different nationalities.
Rolando Villazon: I’m very curious, but I’m also excited about it. A little stage fright before shows is of course part of an artist’s job. I have been a guest at the Cathedral Square many times, and to return to the Musical Theater in Linz in October is wonderful – a very great joy!
As we know, this has to do with your nature. That is why we are so accustomed to Austria, its culture, music and literature. In your opinion, your home is art always and everywhere. Her wife and two sons live near Paris.
Traveling a lot and getting to know new countries, cities and new audiences is exciting and inspiring because I see everything with new eyes everywhere. That’s why I never feel weird. But I find my true home primarily in music and literature.
That’s why you don’t have to overcome any language barriers. They speak German, English and French fluently and enjoy living according to their interests and passions with little free time. For example, reading books in the original language.
Yes, a lot, I read at least one book a week, about 300 pages. There’s always time for about two hours a day, it’s just a matter of scheduling. There are also rehearsals, performances, discussions for Mozart Week, preparations for my radio presentations and much more. I’m very lucky to be able to do so many different jobs. The “Red Noses”, the adorable hospital clowns who cheer up children in hospitals and refugee camps, are especially close to my heart. I have been their ambassador for over 15 years.
You sing, write, act, direct and direct the Salzburg Mozart Week, a festival already established with the International Mozarteum Foundation and with a wide-ranging program performed by leading artists. It was recently learned that your contract has been extended until 2028.
I have been director of Mozart Week since 2019, and in 2021 I took over the full artistic management of the Mozarteum Foundation. I am so happy and honored by this! Having this drive in Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace and a city that has had such a wonderful influence on my life and career, makes this adventure even more special.
Salzburg Mozart Week is closely linked to your name. How did you find your favorite composer? You talk about Mozart as your friend. Is it true that you say hello to Mozart when you pass by his monument on Mozartplatz in Salzburg?
Naturally! Wolfgang Amadi Mozart is one of the dearest friends of all mankind. No other composer is admired and loved as much. In Mozart’s work, light always wins! In December, I will be singing Papageno in “The Magic Flute” again at the Metropolitan Opera – a wonderful role that I love very much!
What do you enjoy most, what music do you love as much as Mozart?
Mozart’s music plays a very special role in my life, so much so that I would say that no other composer touches me so much – and I read his letters often, like those of a good friend. His work has light, love, and vitality, and I feel a kinship with him.
This is not difficult to notice with Villazon if you meet him in person. Optimistic, always radiating a sunny disposition, you want to listen to him longer. Visibility makes it possible (smiles). Hopefully there will also be an appearance by Mozart in Linz.
Let yourself be surprised! Of course, Mozart wrote great songs. However, in Linz, I devote myself to the great Italian composers and their wonderful but unfairly less known music. Bellini, Verdi and Puccini are famous as opera composers, but their art songs are only small treasures! I always enjoy hosting evenings because there is nothing more beautiful than that direct contact with the audience.
Interview: Georgina Seles
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