Rolando Villazon Concert Films
A Mexican Dream
Runtime: 59 minThe film opens with a ride across the Mexican metropolis, home to eighteen million, in one of the famous green Beetle taxis. This is where the tenor Rolando Villazón was born. With a gaze that is part Mr. Bean and part Latin lover, he has sung his way into the hearts of opera fans around the world. Before Villazón’s thoughts ever turned to the stage, he attended school like every other boy. Twenty years later, he is now returning to his alma mater, the German Alexander von Humboldt school in Mexico City. “Somehow it’s strange,” says Villazón, standing among the small boys in the school courtyard. “I was one of them, and now I realize that the child I was back then still exists today. And now I know that this child must always have been within me, because he is who I am now.”
It is with a nearly childish delight that he cavorts about the stage today - for instance, in the legendary La Traviata production at the 2005 Salzburg Festival. He and Anna Netrebko rehearsed and played probably the most passionate and tragic couple in opera literature.
The filmmakers Daniel Finkernagel and Alexander Lück accompanied the tenor for two years, making a documentary that does not follow a strict timeline, but moves between present and past when it suits the film’s thematic focus.
The visit to Mexico arouses many memories, and Villazón talks about special moments in his past for the first time with the camera crew: his first dressing room, the small stage at the Theatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, where Rolando sang in his first competition, his first bout of nervousness, the seminary where Rolando worked as a history teacher for five years and even considered becoming a priest himself.
In addition to revisiting the past, the film shows everyday moments in the life of a tenor who is in demand around the world: acclaimed performances at the Liceo Barcelona, intense rehearsals with Anna Netrebko for the Salzburg Traviata, and his breakthrough performance in 2005 as a marvelously suffering Don Jose at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin.
A Mexican Dream tells the story of Rolando Villazón’s life, from his early years to his great successes. It is less a chronological biography than an exploration of the thoughts and feelings of one of the great singers of our time.