Ramón Vargas is one of the leading tenors of our time and one of the most sought-after worldwide.
Born in Mexico City, the seventh of nine children. Ramón Vargas began singing at the age of 9, joining the boys’ choir of the Basilica of Guadalupe in his home town. He then studied at the Cardenal Miranda Institute in México City, with Antonio Lopez and Ricardo Sanchez.
In 1982, after winning the Carlo Morelli National Vocal Competition, he made his debut in Haydn’s Lo Speziale, in Monterrey, Mexico. His breakthrough came in 1983, when the Mexican conductor Eduardo Mata hired him to sing Fenton in Verdi’s Falstaff, and then Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Upon winning the Enrico Caruso Tenor Competition in Milan, Italy, in 1986, he moved to Austria where he completed his vocal studies at the school of the Vienna State Opera, under the guidance of Leo Müller.
After deciding to become a freelancer in 1990, he met the renowned teacher, Rodolfo Celletti, in Milan, who since then remains his vocal coach.
Ramón Vargas’ international debut took place in 1992, when the New York Metropolitan Opera asked him to sing Edgardo opposite June Anderson, substituting Luciano Pavarotti. This was soon followed by a debut on the stage of La Scala, in 1993, where he sung Fenton in Strehler’s new production celebrating the centenary of Falstaff, conducted by Riccardo Muti. He now regularly performs at all the major opera houses all over the world to great acclaim:
Buenos Aires Teatro Colón (La Favorita), London Royal Opera House (Un ballo in maschera, La bohème, Rigoletto, La traviata), Milan La Scala (Falstaff, Rigoletto, La traviata), New York Metropolitan Opera (Attila, La bohème, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, L’elisir d’amore, Lucia di Lammermoor, Rigoletto, Der Rosenkavalier), Madrid Teatro Real (Werther), Paris Opéra-Bastille (Rigoletto, La traviata), San Francisco Opera (Un ballo in maschera, L’elisir d’amore, Lucia di Lammermoor), Vienna State Opera (La bohème, L’elisir d’amore, Lucia di Lammermoor, Maria Stuarda, Roberto Devereux), Verona Arena (Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto), and others.
In addition to his operatic career, he is also an accomplished concert singer, with an extensive repertoire ranging from Italian classical songs to romantic German Lieder and melodies by French, Mexican and Spanish composers from the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1998, he offered a memorable recital at La Scala and his renditions of popular Mexican songs have been met with enthusiasm at massive concerts across Europe and Mexico.
He was awarded the Lauri-Volpi Award for the Best Opera Singer of the 1993 Italian season, and in 1995 Italian critics were unanimous in awarding him the Gino Tani Award for the Arts. In 2000, British Opera Now declared Ramón Vargas Artist of the Year. Each year, since 1999, Austrian Festpiele magazine has given him the first place among the best tenors in the world. In 2001, he received the ECHO Klassik – Singer of the Year Award from the German Phono Academy.
He lives with his wife Amalia and his two sons Fernando and Rodrigo in Vienna, Austria.