The best way to get through the streets of the metropolis of Mexico City is with one of the famous green Volkswagen Beetle Taxis. In this city of 18 million people, Tenor Rolando Villazón was born. With a look somewhere between latin lover and Mr. Bean, he has sung himself into the hearts of opera fans. Before Rolando Villazón ever thought about the stage, he went to school like any other boy. After over twenty years, he returned to the German school in Mexico City. This visit brings back a flood of memories, not only for him. His former homeroom teacher remembers very well the brash little Rolandito, who was always up to something. Somehow it’s strange, comments Rolando Villazón, as he stands between the little boys in the school yard, I was one of them and now I notice that the little boy from back then is still there. Along with the trip into the past, the film recounts special moments in the new life of the Tenor: praised performances in Liceo Barcelona, the intense rehearsals with Anna Netrebko for La Traviata in Salzburg and his wonderful suffering Don Jose in the Berliner Staatsoper Unter den Linden. He is very grateful to that opera house and especially Daniel Barenboim who is something like a fatherly friend to the young singer. Another fatherly friend, Plácido Domingo, takes the tenor in his arms after the curtain closes on the stage in Berlin. They have many things in common. In addition to a recording of Domingo that encouraged the little Rolando to sing, Domingo was also very often in the Teatro in Mexico City where he was a specially welcomed guest. Today they are recording a CD of Spanish Zarzuelas. Only with the small difference that the old master conducts and Rolando Villazón, not without a bit of nervousness – sings the belcanto to the delight of his idol. ”Once upon a time in Mexico” tells the story of Rolando Villazón from his early beginnings up to his great successes. And it documents less his chronological biography as much as the thoughts and feelings of one of the greatest singing talents of our time.
Daniel Finkernagel & Alexander Lück
finkernagel&lück Medienproduktion, ZDF/ARTE