With "Three Tenors" star Luciano Pavarotti announcing his retirement, the opera world is looking for a new voice to join Placido Domingo and José Carreras in their operatic triumvirate.
Tenor Rolando Villazon's career is taking off quickly with performances and recordings.
The chance to fill Pavarotti's rather large shoes has fallen to several talented young tenors, including Italy's Salvatore Licitra, Juan Diego Florez of Peru, Mexican Ramón Vargas and his countryman, Rolando Villazón.
NPR's Liane Hansen spoke with Villazón, in his early 30's, about his music and his recordings of such great works as Verdi's La Traviata which have opened the curtain for him to take center stage.
Villazón debuted at New York's Metropolitan Opera last fall, in La Traviata. His luck — or lack thereof — had him sharing the stage with Renée Fleming, one of the most popular and accomplished American sopranos. Not only did Villazón hold his own, he stole the show.
Villazón's debut release is Italian Opera Arias featuring selections from the operas of Donizetti, Puccini, Verdi and others.