"9/11 | Coming Together" 20th Anniversary Special

The Tabernacle Choir Blog

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13 Facts You Didn’t Know About Rolando Villazón

The 2016 Christmas concert guest artist, Rolando Villazón, is considered one of the world's top tenors. He has been heralded as “the most charming of today’s divos” (The Times) and “a great singer and brilliant entertainer, at once extremely funny and deeply profound” (Crescendo). The Choir's director, Mack Wilberg, said, “Rolando Villazón is one of the great singers of our time.” The fact that Villazón is an amazing singer and performer seems to be widely agreed upon, but here are 13 facts you probably didn’t know:

1. He was inspired to start singing at age 10 after hearing Plácido Domingo’s album of “crossover” love songs recorded with John Denver.

2. He draws and animates his own cartoons of himself, which are featured on his website, www.rolandovillazon.com.

3. Rolando was 16 years old when he met his wife, Lucia, who was 15. They have now been married for 19 years.

4. His favorite books include Peter Pan, Pinocchio, and writings from Oscar Wilde and the Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes.

5. He was discovered when he was overheard singing in the shower. As the story goes, Villazón was singing in the shower when he was heard by baritone singer Arturo Nieto, a friend of Villazón’s neighbor. When Nieto heard him singing, he ran next door to tell him that he loved his voice and then invited him to study at his vocal academy.

6. When Rolando returned to the stage a year after having surgery on his vocal cords to remove a cyst, he received a standing ovation that lasted 20 minutes as the audience clapped and cheered.

7. He admits to having a terrible sense of direction and says he often has to phone his wife, Lucia, so she can tell him how to get home.

8. Rolando was a judge and mentor for the UK’s Pop Star to Opera Star television series in 2010 and 2011.

9. He currently has his own television series, Stars von morgen, which is televised in France and Germany. 

10. Rolando released his debut novel, Malabares, in 2013.

11. He is also a critically acclaimed stage director.

12. Rolando speaks four languages: Spanish, French, German, and English.

13. The 2016 Christmas concerts will mark his first time in Utah.

Watch this behind-the-scenes video of Villazón and other Messiah album soloists: