The so-called "connoisseurs" almost uniformly scorn Mr.Villazón. The fact that his technique is not perfect has been proven by the necessity of undergoing a surgery. He could have chosen his repertoire more wisely. However, what these critics forget is, Art is not just technique.
Mostly Opera's ironic tone in the title "The readers have spoken", announcing the results of the aforementioned poll, and especially some comments from people hidden behind the veil of the Internet anonymity ("There's no way Mr overacting clown is a better tenor than...", to quote but one), and their astonishment at the results, only show their lack of understanding of what is behind. Opera public is not a herd of sheep, praising the one who is presented to them as a big name. They mostly don't care whether somebody's technique is perfect, they care whether his or her voice is beautiful - which is often connected. However, voice is the instrument, the artist is the interpret.
Mr.Villazón has always put at least 100% of himself in a performance. His sincerity, humility and inner beauty are what makes him a favourite to many. Maybe he's put in it too much and has given himself away - that would be a reason to grieve, not to scorn. People as sensitive as some singers being exposed to ironical and sarcastic statements, and often even insulted, is not a normal state, it is something we all must aspire to improve.
It never ceases to amaze me -- and sadden me -- that people call him "a clown" and mean it as an insult. It is a great gift, to be able to bring smile to people's faces, no matter if with a beautiful voice in a beautiful opera, or with a red nose. I wasn't present at his comeback performance, and a Czech blogger, Villazón's fan, was not positively surprised (automatic translation) - in fact, is afraid that this might be the beginning of the end of his operatic career. Let us hope that she's wrong. However, end or no end, Villazón or another singer or musician, please let's not forget that life's too short to be cool and serious all the time, that sometimes it's good to be swept off your feet, forgetting what you know about the "correct way", and always remember to be a clown! :-)
Good luck to you, Mr.Villazón! You are a great artist.