Observations: Back in a good head space

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Rolando Villazon has recently garnered some terrible reviews for the Southbank concert in May which representedhis come-back after throatsurgery. On Monday he’s singing there again, but as far as he’s concerned the problem was in thecritics’ heads. He says: “All that was at fault was my memory – I forgot the words of an arias.

His Scala debut in September went fine, and he’s just released a recording for Virgin of Vivaldi’s Ercole, inwhich his singing of thetitle role is fittingly heroic. Monday’s concert will be devoted to the songs of his native Mexico, for which he is cultural ambassador. And yes, that part of his job is not exactly plain sailing:“We hear a lot of bad stuff coming from Mexico. Unfortunately it’s all true. But it’s important to know that violence is not the only thinghappening there. If you go there, you won’t need bodyguards.

“Our music can go from dreamy to happy to crazy and one of its main characteristics is humour, which is how we confront adversity – and also death. Wehave a very interesting relationship with death. On All Souls Day we draw little skeletons and dress them as mariachis with big hats and give each other sugarskulls. We accept death into our daily lives – light-heartedly. And that is also how we deal with adversity.”

Rolando Villazon: Sones Mexicanos, Royal Festival Hall, 6 December.