Bravo Cura

Celebrating José Cura--Singer, Conductor, Director


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  This week: 


Next Performance:  Peter Grimes, Bonn

José Cura // Director // Tenor


Retrospective Stiffelio Part VI

Small note:  We had limited time for checking the update so apologies if we made lots of mistakes!


No updates for the next few weeks.  We are heading for Bonn and then off for a family vacation.




Peter Grimes

The Excitement is Growing!



























Note:  This is a machine-based translation.

José Cura uses language with precision and purpose;  the computer does not.  

We offer it only a a general guide to the conversation and the ideas exchanged but the following should not be considered definitive.


The Rebel of Opera - José Cura presents his view of Benjamin Britten's "Peter Grimes" in Bonn


Midou Grossmann

Bonn, Germany (Kulturexpresso).  A matinee of a special kind was experienced Sunday at the Theater Bonn.  The internationally-acclaimed tenor José Cura will serve as director, stage designer and singer of the title role Peter Grimes, premiering on May 7, 2017. Cura is certainly known to most opera fans as one of the most versatile singers with an expressive voice and great stage presence but few know him as a director.  The artist, who trained as a composer and conductor, already appeared as a conductor at the age of fifteen and then decided at the age of 28 to turn to singing, is a creative genius.  In February he sang his first Tannhäuser in Monte Carlo, with grand vocal conviction.

Cura is now offering his vision of Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes, which premiered at the Sadler’s Wells Theater in London in 1945. It took, however, some time before he was able to speak on Sunday morning (at the pre-performance discussion).  Cura was totally ignored by the presenter, music journalist Regine Müller.  She discussed in detail with the conductor Jaques Lacombe as well as with the baritone Marc Morouse without involving José Cura.  When Ms Müller finally spoke to Cura in slightly bumpy English, after he had sat in a vacuum for about 15 minutes, he probably had no idea how the discussion had progressed to that point.  Most unprofessionally, Ms Müller used a reference to Rolando Villazón as a starting point.  After the singer, stage designer and director of the production clarified the situation, he provided a spirited view of the opera, with the translation between languages now taken by American Marc Morouse; conductor Lacombe also spoke in English from this point.  The presenter had become superfluous and from this point the discussion developed into a lively and interesting introduction to Britten’s demanding and, for some, bulky work.

José Cura is philosophical about his approach, the message clear:  Grimes’ fight against the s sea is probably also the struggle for life by many people in a merciless society. As an outsider, Peter Grimes is observed by the village community and condemned without compassion.  An old theme in the history of mankind:  whoever does not adapt is excluded.  Fisherman Grimes is also not a ‘diplomat’ and so the drama takes its course.  Whether he is guilty of the death of the two boys is ultimately denied but Grimes is probably non-contactable, according to today’s medical terms, and also bi-polar, but ultimately he is a man who cries out for affection.

The libretto of the opera is based on the poem by George Crabbe, which Cura calls an important foundation for his production.  Certainly he has also found a new challenge in this part as a singer who will set new standards.  Just as clearly, this discussion also highlighted José Cura's concern for the planet.  The turbulent social and political events simply cannot leave an artist who has grown up in the totalitarian system of Argentina uninvolved.  Under these circumstances, this production - a co-production with the Monte Carlo Opera - will surely become a moving operatic experience.






Tenor.  Director.  Set designer.


Theater Bonn

2 May 2017

José Cura makes his debut as Peter Grimes in Bonn.  The star tenor will also take on the role of director and stage designer.  He explains in an interview how he does this.

In the upcoming PETER GRIMES production, you will be singing the title part, directing and staging.  How do you tackle all these different challenges?

José Cura: I have been doing this holistic approach to new productions for 10 years now. The secret to be able to direct a show, while taking part as an actor in your own production, is to work with lots of advance, preparing and anticipating as many situations as possible, and to have a trustful supporting team that knows exactly how you want things to be. Taking about designing the stage, for me, a great part of creating a show is to inhabit a set, that’s why, to conceive such set, I first imagine the action I may develop in it, and then design the physical space where such action will take place, so that I have everything I need.

Can you tell us a bit about the pros and cons of this 'all-round position'?

José Cura: There is no such thing as “because you break the rules, you are surely wrong”. Every “way” of doing things has advantages and disadvantages. No system is perfect. I have always been known for my intellectual honesty in performing as a singer, so it is not strange that I conceive my spectacles in the same way. In my shows, the characters behave or convey their psychology in a certain way, because when I plan things, I start from a concept in which I fully believe from A to Z, and I carry on such concept taking care of all aspects myself. But, on top of all, the main reason for doing this is that I enjoy the process a lot, regardless of the fatigue implied, which is the only serious disadvantage I can think of.

Risking to get lost in my own ego is not a possibility, even if it may look like, because each of my collaborators, including the in-house professionals (technicians, tailors, electricians, etc), are asked to be absolutely honest in their contribution, even when they think their honesty may upset me. I believe there is no way to grow up as a man and as an artist, if you cannot capitalize the advices of those who you have delegated responsibilities. Needless to say, that there are people who criticize my choice of grouping several aspects of a production under myself, but nobody, in good faith at least, can criticize the professionalism of the production process and the quality of the results. You may dislike my work —all points of view are fair and welcome—, but you cannot deny the seriousness with which it is done.

You are playing Peter Grimes for the first time ever and I have read that you wanted to sing this part for a very long time.  What's so intriguing to you about this opera and this part?

José Cura: It is a piece where the coherence between text and music is such that one has the impression of doing “schauspiel”. On top of that, it is the last “card” I needed to complete my dreamed “poker” of operas: Otello, Samson, Tannhäuser and Grimes. Having done these four “grands” (one for each main operatic country), makes me very proud. By the way, this year alone, I have started with Tannhäuser, continued with Grimes and will end the season with Otello: a tough but very rewarding semester! There is one more title I would love to do to complete the “big five” and this is “Dame de Pique”, but I think Tchaikovsky will escape my artistic greediness, due to the language barriers…

Nature and especially the sea play a decisive role in PETER GRIMES.  Do you connect somehow with the sea?

José Cura: I am a guy of the Argentinean pampas… The sea was 1000 kms away from my house, in Rosario. Still, the attraction to the water has always been very strong in me. Maybe it is because I hate confined spaces places, suffocating environments. Claustrophobia, that’s also what Grimes is about: The restrictions of a hermetic society, that drowns its own inhabitants.

You’ve sung in Bonn a couple of times.  What do you associate with the city and the theater?

José Cura: Each time I have been in Bonn it was just for a couple of days. Therefore I cannot say a lot about the city. This will change, hopefully, now that I will be there a month and a half. I say “hopefully”, because the work to be done to put Grimes on his feet is so huge, that it will probably not allow me to be a tourist…

As for the Opera House, I feel very comfortable working there. People are professional and caring, and their determination to keep high and proud the standards of the House, despite the hard economical times, deserves all our support. After Grimes, in which I will have worked with the choir and the ensemble, I would love to be back one day to conduct the legendary Beethoven Orchestra, another of the solid pillars on which Bonn’s Opera leans on.




Monte Carlo


Stiffelio, Monte Carlo:  “In a role he thoroughly knows - he made his debut at Covent Garden in 1995 - José Cura is once again unreservedly involved. The incarnation is striking, overwhelming.  We will pass over with a certain indulgence the timbre whose coppery colors is beginning  to tarnish, the high notes that tend to open too much, but it is surprising that a singer who is also a conductor allows his phrasings to languish at this point to the detriment of the measure and the rhythm. Charism does not do everything.”  Diapason, 26 April 2013

Stiffelio, Monte Carlo:  “The famous Argentine tenor José Cura (also an actor, composer and conductor) plays Stiffelio with a dark staining of his masterful-- though slightly worn--voice, suggestive phrasing and rare stage personality, giving moral power of this pastor of the Protestant sect. Cura also shows the transformation of Stiffelio: at the beginning of the first act, when he receives the papers compromising his wife, he is ready to forgive but by the end of the same act is suffering the negative emotions of the wounded man. True forgiveness will only be possible in the third act, when  Stiffelio discovers his true mission …”  Maestro,  10 May 2013

Stiffelio, Monte Carlo:  “In the title role, José Cura shows himself to be dramatically convincing (as expected), although it is sometimes difficult to distinguish his Protestant pastor from Otello, which, along with Samson, appear to be his ‘favorite’ role.  Vocally, Cura always displays an incredible vocal health, in a central range that nevertheless never fails in the high notes, allowing him to take care of his singing line, a rare happiness for the ears.”  ConcertoNet, 20 April 2013

Stiffelio, Monte Carlo:  “The Argentine tenor José Cura made his Covent Garden debut in the role of Stiffelio and now that he is older, the role fits him like a glove.  Stiffelio is not a ‘jeune premier’ who, like so many Verdi heroes, is head-over-heels in love with the soprano and making great love declarations.  Rather, he is an older, married man who—carefully expressed—finds disappointment.  Cura has a dark, baritonal voice that perfectly fits with the dark story he tells in the first act, in which he speaks of the great sinfulness he has seen during his travels.  He still does not know that sinfulness has already crept into his own home…Viva Verdi!” Opera Magazine, 29 April 2013

Stiffelio, Monte Carlo:  “In the title role, José Cura offers a profusion of very moving operatic accents and rare intensity.  The vocal structure and tonal richness of the Argentine tenor assures a stage charisma where the exigency of the spiritual vies with the ardor of passion--and this he offers from his first appearance on stage to his ascent to the pulpit at the end.  He collapses at the end of Act II in a mystical prayer with an emotional paroxysm that literally seized the audience…” Musicologie, 25 April 2013

Stiffelio, Monte Carlo:  “It is not enough to have great voices to save Stiffelio.  What is needed is the addition of soul in the heart and throat, a frankness, an urgency, a dramatic momentum (the famous Verdi slancio), otherwise it falls back into the routine of note for note, making the staging do the rest.  Invested like no other, carrying on his shoulders, from his entrance, of the sins of the world and that of his wife’s to come, José Cura, transcendent, brings to the title role a valor, a generosity, a brightness of timbre, a bite, a cast-iron professionalism.”  Sortir, 21 April 2013





































































Now Available!













Calendar 2017








28, 31

La Bohème (production)




4, 7, 10, 16, 19

La Bohème (production)




19, 22, 25, 28


Salle Garnier Opera de Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo


8, 9

Concert:  Symphonic

(Ecco Homo)

Smetana Hall Municipal House



7, 10, 13, 26 

Peter Grimes (tenor, director, stage design)

Theater Bonn



3, 7, 9, 12, 14

La Bohème (production)




16, 20, 22, 25, 27, 29


Opera royal de Wallonie



8, 15 

Peter Grimes

Theater Bonn



4, 5

Concert:  Symphonic

Smetana Hall Municipal House









Find Cura on Wikipedia!


Want to know more about José Cura?  Check out his Wikipedia page (click on the photo and find out such neat things as.....

  • Full name:  José Luis Victor Cura Gómez
  • First starring role:  Bibalo's Signorina Julia, Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi, Trieste, Italy, 1993
  • First performance in US:  Giordano's Fedora, Chicago Lyric, USA, 1994



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Last Updated:  Monday, May 08, 2017  © Copyright: Kira