Earlier this morning, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir announced their Christmas guest for 2016— Rolando Villazón.
Known as one of the most talented and sought-after performers in the world of opera, we wanted to learn a bit more about the tenor who will be joining the world-famous choir this holiday season.
1. Rolando was discovered when someone heard him singing in the shower.
In an interview with ClassicFM.com, Villazón said someone came knocking one day as he was getting out of the shower in his Mexico City apartment. The visitor told Rolando he had heard him singing in the shower and wanted to help him develop his voice. The visitor was baritone Arturo Nieto who also ran a music academy and recruited Rolando on the spot.
2. Rolando is French/Mexican—which gives him a beautifully unique accent.
Villazón was raised in a suburb of Mexico City but later moved to France and became an official French citizen in 2007.
Rolando also speaks English. The three languages—Spanish, French, and English—combine beautifully to give him a unique accent which you can hear in the video below.
3. Rolando underwent a vocal cord surgery that could have ended his career early
In 2009, Villazón put his career on hold to undergo vocal cord surgery—a procedure that could have left the opera star with a shorter-than-hoped-for career.
Luckily the procedure went as planned, and Rolando returned to the stage in 2010.
4. The New York Times calls Rolando Villazón “one of the most sought-after tenors.”
Villazón has received countless praise from some of the top publications and critics in the world.
In addition to the New York Times, the Guardian said, “his artistry is astonishing as ever, fusing sound, sense, and gesture in an uncompromising quest for veracity.”
5. Villazón is signed with the most famous classical music label in the world—and so is Sting.
Yes, you read that right. Deutsche Grammophon, the most famous and prestigious classical music record label is home to Rolando Villazón as well as dozens of world-renown artists, most of which are extremely well-known primarily in the classical music realm. One unexpected exception? Sting.
6. Rolando has starred in a reality TV show.
In 2010, the L.A. Times reported that a U.K. television station recruited Villazón to be a panelist for its new reality television show “Popstar to Operastar.”
You can watch him coach and perform with X-Factor winner Joe McElderry in the clip below:
7. The Tabernacle Choir has cast Rolando as both the narrator and the vocalist this Christmas.
“Rolando Villazón not only has extraordinary musical talent but will charm audiences with his onstage performance,” said Ron Jarrett, president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. “We are playing to his strengths as an artist which means we will also use his talents as the narrator for this year’s concert.”