Monday, October 26, 2009

Ramon Vargas (1960-present)

Mexican tenor. After studying at the Mexico City Conservatory and then in Vienna, he was engaged at the opera houses in Lucerne (1988–90) and Zürich, his roles including Edgardo, Elvino (La sonnambula) and Werther. In 1991 he began to appear regularly in Italy, mostly in Mozart and Rossini, gaining a reputation for his light, flexible and sweet-toned singing, a reputation confirmed when he sang a charming Almaviva in a much lauded recording of Il barbiere di Siviglia in 1992. He made a successful début at La Scala in 1993 as Fenton, in a performance of Falstaff under Riccardo Muti that was committed to disc. At the same time Vargas appeared regularly at his home house in Mexico City and at the nearby Houston Opera (where he sang his first Hoffmann). His roles at Covent Garden include the Duke of Mantua, Alfredo, and Rudolfo, and at the Metropolitan a much admired Edgardo (the role of his début in 1992), the Duke of Mantua, Alfredo and Ramiro (in a new production of La Cenerentola, 1997). He took the role of Don Narciso in Chailly's award-winning recording (with Bartoli) of Il turco in Italia (1997), adding a highly accomplished Werther to his discography in 1999. In 2000 he was admired for the elegance and touching pathos of his singing as Gustavus III (Un Ballo in maschera) in San Francisco. By then Vargas's light, lyric voice had taken on stronger tones without losing quality or flexibility. He has been aptly compared to his mentor, Alfredo Kraus.


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