Gitano Rolando Villazon, Placido Domingo Virgin Classics PUT the Italian guidebook away, this weekend we’re going to Spain. Zarzuela is the music theatre of the Iberian Peninsula. It emerged in the 17th century but took root, the liner notes to this enjoyable CD say, in the 1850s as a Spanish answer to the dominance of Italian opera. So instead of arias we have romanzas, and they are drenched in Spanish sangre. These are songs about strong emotions: impossible, mad, mysterious love. Mexican Rolando Villazon is the star here, and it’s easy to see why he’s among the top gen- X tenors working today. His top notes and climaxes are thrilling, and his voice is appealingly coloured. Many of the romanzas are from the early 1900s, such as Jacinto Guerrero’s Raquel , from The Guest at the Sevillano Inn , and Pablo Sorozabal’s No puede ser ( It Cannot be So) . The final track is by a contemporary composer, Jose Maria Cano, Un gitano sin su honor ( A Gypsy Without Honour) . Placido Domingo, himself steeped in zarzuela, conducts the Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid with spirit.