From the heart of Mexico

16th June 2010
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Rolando Villazón, the celebrated tenor who recently wowed the UK with his infectious enthusiasm for opera through ITV’s Popstar to Opera Star, has returned to the recording studio with a beautiful selection of “classic” Mexican songs. The album, the first for Villazón featuring songs from his homeland, ties in with two important Mexican anniversary celebrations: the Centennial of the Revolution and the Bicentennial of the Independence movement.
With ¡México! Villazón reveals a new side of his artistry. The selection includes Bésame mucho, Cucurrucucú paloma, Noche de ronda, Solamente una vez, a medley of Cielito lindo and México lindo y querido as well as other internationally familiar standards. The album was produced by pianist-composer-arranger-producer Gonzalo Grau, a remarkable artist whose work bridges the worlds of classical and popular music. The songs have been newly arranged for chamber ensemble by Efraín Oscher, Gonzalo Grau and composer Daniel Catán, who has also contributed a new song of his own, Comprendo, on a text of the Mexican poet Manuel Acuña. Flautist Efraín Oscher is the founder and leader of the Bolívar Soloists, the tenor’s collaborators in this project.
This homage to Mexico – a testimony to the richness of its tradition and talent of its composers – is being released in the year of the bicentennial of Mexican independence and the centennial of the Mexican Revolution. In June 2010, together with the Bolívar Soloists, Rolando Villazón is presenting the new album with concerts in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Acapulco. In November and December they will take the programme on an extended European tour that will lead them to Berlin, Paris, Munich, Vienna, Mannheim, Hanover, Baden-Baden, Frankfurt and London. Rolando Villazón on his new album: “Recording these beautiful Mexican songs has been a very special project for me. I believe this music has an artistic value which goes far beyond just entertainment.
“We Mexicans love to express ourselves through music. Singing is an integral part of our lives, and I sometimes think that our emotions are expressed most strongly when we sing them. When Mexicans are happy, they sing their joy, when they suffer, their tears stream more freely with music, and when a Mexican man falls in love, he often takes a mariachi band to the house of his beloved and declares his love with a serenade.
“Working with the Bolívar Soloists has enabled me to realize this project exactly as I conceived it. I was not looking for Hollywood-style arrangements of Mexican music with a big orchestra – I wanted a chamber orchestra that is able to recreate the intimate feeling of the music.
“It has been a dream come true for me to perform this music with these fantastic musicians. The result is everything I had envisaged, and my hope is that while you listen to these songs, the burning heart at their core will rise like a throbbing sun and warm your soul with the embrace of its rays.”

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