Villazon in Japan opera rescue
Popstar To Operastar mentor Rolando Villazon has jetted out to save the opening night of a major opera in Japan after several performers withdrew over safety fears.
Producers of the ITV1 show have allowed Rolando, who is mentoring acts such as Joe McElderry, Jocelyn Brown and Cheryl Baker on the TV show, to take time out to head to Tokyo to take part in the production on Thursday.
He headed out this week following the first live edition of Popstar To Operastar, to perform the role of Edgardo in the Donizetti opera.
He said: "I was very happy to accept this invitation and in fact didn't have to think twice.
"It is always a privilege to sing with the Metropolitan Opera and I am especially happy to be given an opportunity to express my solidarity with the Japanese people at this difficult time.
"I have always loved Japanese literature and cartoons but, since my first visit to Tokyo, I have also been in love with Japan and the wonderful people of this country."
The success of Metropolitan Opera production of Lucia di Lammermoor had been in doubt after cancellations by some artists as a result of radiation worries in the wake of the catastrophic tsunami.
The performance is part of the company's first tour to Japan in more than five years.
Rolando was asked to step in as a replacement and agreed as a gesture of support for the Japanese people.