CLASSICAL

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music - Matthew West­wood

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.

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