Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rolando+Nino in Athens: A beer, a teddy bear, some greek flags and a triumph


Rolando Villazón is a man of his word. He promised us a night to remember and he gave us one…

Sitting happy as a clam in my first row seat, I was wondering how can it be…the feeling of having Rolando singing for yourself. Myself. And my friends. That was exactly what it was like…having Rolando in front of me, at half a meter, singing, crying, laughing, sweating, spitting (quite a lot).

Rolando appeared on stage with one of his typical dark blue jackets (you know…with the floral designs) and received a tremendous welcome by the audience.

Then it was Rolando’s time to greet, the President of the Hellenic Republic and the audience:

“Kalispera sas Kyrie Proedre, kyries kai kyrioi”

(“Good evening mr. President, ladies and gentlemen”).

“I ‘m very glad to be here tonight”

“This is all the greek I can speak”.

It’s pretty easy to seduce the greeks…Just speak a little greek to them and make them have a good time…

First notes of “Pourquoi me reveiller”, Rolando sings one of his trademark arias, with great pathos, surrendered to Massenet’s grief. The voice sounds beautiful, dark, velvety. A momentary lack of control on a high note was the only flaw I could find (and don’t forget that I could even hear him breathe from my seat).

Nino’s time.

Nino Machaidze takes her place next to the maestro, looking stunning (more stunning than you may imagine), greets the public and says that she will sing first the Sleepwalking Scene from La Sonnambula.

Her “Ah! Non credea mirarti” is as stunning as her looks. Totally in control of her huge voice (I mean huuuuge!) she receives many “brava” before singing the triumphal cabaletta of Amina. Her “Ah! Non giunge” is triumphal indeed. She sounds totally at ease with this repertoire, a great lirico with an immense voice, easy high notes, flawless coloratura. The only thing I noticed at this first live encounter with her voice was some tonality problem, nothing else. And I repeat “huge voice!”.

Rolando is back singing Des Grieux’s dream… Le rêve.

How much time does a common brain need to realize the images that pass in front of ones eyes?

The time was already about 9.00 and I was starting to realize that this guy standing in front of me, was THAT guy, my Rolando…

The first part of the concert ended with “Va! Je t’ ai pardonné” and it was about time to confirm with our own eyes the chemistry between Roli and Nino, Salzburg’s Romeo et Juliette. I knew I wanted to live this from the very first time I watched the Romeo DVD from Salzburg

Second part.

Rolando Villazón with another fancy jacket…a black one this time .

“Kuda, kuda” always makes me cry… And this was not an exception. Should I say more?

Time for more Juliette: Nino singing the most perfect “Je veux vivre”! And I mean perfect! PERFECT! She definitely deserved the storm of “brava” she received…

Rolando in an interview he gave for the Greek Radio some days before the concert insisted on how beautiful is this totally forgotten aria from Mascagni’s “Il figliuol prodigo”. “Tenda natal” is for sure a wonderful aria and I ‘ll have to say that it was overall the best of Rolando’s arias last night!

Every single thing I have loved about Rolando, was there: passion, musicality, beauty of sound, theatricality, sentiment. I was lost. Surrendered to my feelings, to my thoughts, to my fragile situation during the last few weeks, I left a few tears climb up my eyes, and thanked God for still being able to feel, for still being able to live and my thought flew to some hospital of Athens where a person I love is giving her last battle…

Enough with tears! Rolando was there to make us laugh too!

Nooooow, here ‘s a scene that you wouldn’t ever expect to witness:

Rolando enters wearing a t-shirt of the Greek national football team, a cap with the greek flag on it and a big can of beer and starts singing “Caaaaaro Elisir! Sei mio!”.

He was all the Nemorino we have loved on dvd, the innocent, pure, funny guy. Nino enters and sings her first lines from the wings… Rolando now holds the beer can (and yes, he is drinking beer) and takes out a teddy-bear. The rest is history.

Bis time: 2 Adriana Lecouvreur arias (La Dolcissima effigie, L’anima ho stanca) and the omnipresent "No puede ser". And of course a Brindisi with both Roli and Nino on stage.


The entrance to the dressing rooms is crowded. A quick survey reveals that 60% of those waiting for Rolando, hold the "Cielo e Mar" cd. And 100% of them try to find a way to get in.

When finally Rolando comes out, and "confronts" his fans (each and everyone of them wants about 5-6 autographs, at least), I find the time to sneak to Nino's dressing room. The most beautiful girl in opera world today looks radiant and happy.

At the reception poor Rolando can't find a moment of peace. He's being constantly photographed and does not stop signing autographs always with a smile on his face. "Vamos?" he says to Lucía and in a few minutes they 're gone.

Well, a few minutes were enough for me... I go close and Rolando tells me "I got you all wet by spitting, huh?".

Did the cat eat your tongue Parsi?

I mumble something like "Doesn't matter, I had a great time" and we shoot a few photos together with our tongues out. No, you won't see those.

Goodnight Rolando. Be back.

ps. Avoiding all reference to the Orchestra and maestro was deliberate. I wouldn't want to spoil it by writing about a bunch of 3rd class wannabe musicians...


teresa said...

OH, OH, OH, OH, OH, OH...QUE PRECIOSA CRÓNICA ! Me encanta como lo disfrutaste, Parsi! Sé que esperabas ese momento de verlo y oírlo en directo (de hecho, a medio metro) y sé que lo que sucedió fué mejor aún que lo que esperabas.

Me encanta ese momento en que te pregunta si se te ha comido la lengua el que debías estar totalmente alucinado !!! Conocemos muy bien esa sensación...delante de Rolando.

Que bonita también la foto en que tiene a Lucy delante, ella lo requiere para marchar, cuidando de él, pero él "consigue" unos minutos más para estar con su público. Rolando, generoso, como siempre...

Ufff, me lo volveré a leer todo con detenimiento, Parsi, has conseguido trasmitir magníficamente toda la emoción de un concierto con nuestro tenor. Muchas gracias!

heschydri said...

Thank you so much for all these precious details about
the way they both sang. As for Rolando I saw him not long ago and still feels moved by his Lenski if I happen to play his recorded 'kuda, kuda 'I hope this emotion will help you for a long time in the days to come and will soothe your sorrow because Rolando''s voice has this sort of gift ,.yvette (heschydri )

Hariclea said...

Muchisisimas gracias por contar con tanto detalle!! Y no sabes como me alegro que lo hayas pasado tan bien y que pudiste vivirlo todo tan intensamente y de cerca, nada como sentirse no espectador sino detro del evento. Y que lindos ambos! Pues con el cuento hasta yo me senti como si hubiera compartido la experiencia :-) Un abrazo!

Dr Yiapud said...

Ειλικρινα με συγκινησες

maria teresa said...

GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! Thank you very much, you didn't forget anything, it seems i was there, keep those marvelous greetings on your memory.Congratulations!

Carlos said...

Uuuuuuuuuuuf!!! Parsi!!! Qué maravillosa, sentida y emocionante crónica! Por un rato nos has hecho (casi) estar allí, sentados en esa primera fila! Me alegro muchísimo que hayas pasado esta noche inolvidable, viendo y teniendo tan cerca a Rolando (y a Nino, eh!). Qué envidia nos has hecho sentir!

De todas maneras te diré que te equivocas en dos cosas. La primera, al decir que no nos imaginamos lo marvillosa que estaba Nino... ;) Creo que sí, que me lo puedo imaginar. Debía estar impresionante. La segunda, al decir que es la cantante de ópera mas preciosa... ;) Es una preciosidad, pero Anna lo es aún más... ;)

PS. Lamento que tengas a alguien querido en una situación dificil en el hospital. Yo pasé por algo parecido, imagino, hace dos años.

Tosca said...

Uff, que intensidad,Parsi !! La verdad es que has conseguido transmitirnos toda la emoción del momento, BRAVO !!!

Te leo seducido al 100% por la voz y el carisma de nuestro Rolando me alegro mucho de que disfrutaras tanto !!

Y que fotos !!!


Parsifal said...

Glad you liked it guys! It was a very emotional night and I 'm still under their spell. Note that Rolando is still in Athens and I think he ll leave on Sunday! Oh! And Carlos, sorry to say but I think that Nino is prettier...hehehe

poltergeist said...

Me ha encantado la crónica, ha sido casi como estar en el concierto!!imagino que debe ser genial tener a Rolandito tan cerca, yo ayer tuve cerquita a Gustavo Dudamel! :):)

Mucho ánimo para esa persona que está en el hospital, yo he salido de allí hace poco y sé que no es un sitio agradable. Mucha suerte para ella.

Gracias por la crónica, Parsi.

Anonymous said...

Bravo pour cette chronique qui a toutes les qualités : elle est détaillée, amusante,vivante et pleine d'une émotion perceptible par le lecteur à chaque ligne.

Il est vrai aussi que lorsqu'on voit Rolando, on imagine qu'il sera facile de converser avec lui. Mais, en réalité, face à lui, on se sent très intimidé, quasiment" bloqué" .J'en ai fait l'expérience et, malgré tout, cela laisse quelques regrets...

Encore merci pour ce récit d'une soirée "inoubliable". N'y-a-t-il eu aucun enregistrement (radio ou télévision grecques) ?

A bientôt !

Parsifal said...

Desolé...seulement l´enregistrement de la Radio Parsifal...hohoho.

ChristinaLuise said...

Thank you so so much for your detailed report about this concert and your experiences ! The photos are really beautiful ! I'm happy that you have enjoyed the concert so much and could take photos of Rolando and Nino Machaidze. One more time THANK YOU !

Willym said...

As always you made us feel we were there - you became our eyes and more specially our ears. Mille grazie. Hope we'll get to see you for dinner in November.

Baci di Roma

PS: I could spit - I wasn't able to get a ticket for the Rigoletto with Nino in Parma but am hoping for the Puritani with Florez in Bologna come January.

Scarpia said...

Megale Parsi...

Makari o Theos, i moira kai opoia anoteri dynami apo emas edo kato na boithisei to agapimeno sou prosopo na min perasei megalo pono. Makari na ginei to thauma kai na ksanagyriseis sto megaro me ena akomi concerto tou Rollando me tin Nino tin Anna kai na perasete kai oi duo mia aperigrapti bradya.

Exeis polla panemorfa synaisthimata dear Parsi. Olo to blog sou einai toso omorfo kai poly isorropimeno. Exeis enosei anthropous apo olon ton kosmo.

Na eisai kala Parsi. Mas omorfaineis tin kathe mera kai eisai poly axiologos san anthropos parolo pou den se exoume dei apo konta. Fantasou diladi poso mas aggizoun ola osa grafeis. Giati pane batheia kai den einai mia enimerosi opos ekatomyria ekei ekso.

Na eisai kala Parsi kai makari na brethei tosi poly dynami apo ekei epano kai na boithisei esena kai tous anthropous pou agapas.

Bravo Parsifal gia ola!!!

Eisai megali kardia!

Bravo bravo bravo sou!

Stauros apo Thessaloniki.