Bravo Cura

Celebrating José Cura--Singer, Conductor, Director

 

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We haven't quite finished our Tosca Retrospective but we are going to be taking a break for Andrea Chénier;  we'll finish Tosca in 2018!

That's a long way of saying no update for a while.

 

 

 


Andrea Chénier

Teatro Colón, December 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 
Tosca Retrospective
 
 
 
Tosca in Hannover

 

Our quick review

Classy Casting, powerful chemistry, innovative staging--a perfect way to spend a summer evening while painlessly introducing opera to a world-wide community!

Congratulations to José Cura--signs of his intelligent design and directing expertise permeated the piece.  The essential touches of his creative re-imagining added depth and maturity to what otherwise might have been a vocally impressive but rather bland concert production.

This is a modern production, minimalist in concept (of necessity) but removed from specific time and place except in anecdotal references in the libretto; it is about coming together in relationships and facing the ultimate separation, about determining what is worth dying--or killing--for, about deciding what is essential to life, whether that be an entire country or a single man. José Cura is masterful in portraying Mario Cavaradossi as an intellectually and emotionally complex character, deftly rebalancing the weight of the three primary characters in favor of the painter.  He was well-partnered by Catherine Naglestad, who created a Tosca who flirted like a teenager and loved like a woman.  Indeed, the opera flagged when either was missing from the stage.

The staging also made use of its unique outdoor location, occasionally tearing a hole in that fourth wall to provide an unexpected but well-orchestrated element:  Angelotti and Cavaradossi flee to Mario's villa by racing down the middle aisle, Cavaradossi is lead to prison by crossing mid-audience and parallel to the stage; the first part of Act III is set off-stage and within arm's reach of the crowd. 

This Tosca wasn't perfect--we'll save the nitpicking for another time--but Hannover made a bold statement of intent with its first outdoor summer opera effort, thanks in large measure undoubtedly to the indefatigable Cura. 

We've watched it several times already and can't get enough:  brilliant camera work highlighting the nuanced performances, vocal excellence, and enough heat between the two leads to make the summer sun seem cold. A standing ovation from across the Atlantic.

 

 

"Hannover listens to Tosca in Maschpark"

HAZ

Jutta Rinas

20 July 2014

The expectations had been high: Singing on world class level, an open air spectacle and a terrifically illuminated town hall. Those were the promises of NDR TV boss Marlis Fertmann for Tosca in Maschpark on Saturday. The performance with NDR Radiophilharmonie under its outgoing chief conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen lived up to these promises.

On that place behind the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) - until now undiscovered as an opera stage - the 1500 ticket owners and many picnicking onlookers after a hot day and during a magnificently mild summer night under a jet black sky were rewarded with great music, great emotions and a wonderful light show around the town hall. Star singers like the Argentinean tenor José Cura (Cavaradossi), the German baritone Albert Dohmen (Scarpia), and the outstanding American soprano Catherine Naglestad impressed with a "Tosca" which was filled with importance, intensity, knowledge about dramatic passion and truthfulness. [...] Applause and standing ovations in the end.

 

"Tosca" - Die Besetzung


NDR Radiophilharmonie
Eivind Gullberg Jensen Dirigent

Mädchenchor Hannover

Johannes-Brahms-Chor Hannover

Solisten:
Catherine Naglestad - Floria Tosca
José Cura - Mario Cavaradossi
Albert Dohmen - Baron Scarpia
Yngve Soeberg - Cesare Angelotti
Simon Bode - Spoletta
Hyung-Woo - Lee Sciarrone
Philip Björkqvist - Carceriere
Martin-Jan Nijhof - Sagrestano
Katharina Held Stimme des Hirtenmädchens

 

Powerful voices, great spectacle

Luebecker Nachrichten

 22 July 2014

  

In front of the orchestra, there was still one meter of free space left. On this narrow strip, the development of a breathtaking opera took place. The concert-type performance of Giacomo Puccini's "Tosca" in Luebeck's Musik- und Kongresshalle (music and congress hall) was thrilling and vocally on the highest level. At the end of the evening, the audience was rejoicing at an opera without stage direction and costumes, made alive with only a few gestures, with looks, with a smile, a sigh, a paper tissue or with a step into the orchestra zone in order to gain some additional space.

The three main characters were casted with stars: The soprano Catherine Naglestad (Tosca), the tenor José Cura (Cavaradossi) and the baritone Albert Dohmen (Scarpia) have got voices that would also adorn the Met or the Scala. (remark Romana: Well, they actually have done and hopefully continue to do so).

Jose Cura's tenor possesses mellowness, warmth and volume which are unmatched. In the very beginning, he struggled with the dry air due to the air conditioning and had to clear his throat several times. His acting skills also put the stamp on the evening. The character of Cavaradossi came alive. Catherine Naglestad was his fully equal partner. Her soprano has got incredible power in the upper register, her soft passages were like a bird's.

The choir (choir conductor: Gudrun Schröfel) and the orchestra also delivered a great performance. Under the baton of Eivind Gullberg Jensen, the NDR-Radiophilharmonie played with immense power from the first to the last note. The conductor acted very sensitively towards the soloists, his eyes and ears were constantly with them. At the end of the opera he looked as if he had just taken a shower, so much energy did he spend on the oeuvre. The Mädchenchor (girls' choir) Hannover and the Johannes-Brahms-Chor Hannover sang clearly and precisely.

 

Concert-Type "Tosca" in the Muk Outshines Every Conventional Stage Production

 

Unser Luebeck - Kulturmagazin

Helga Rottmann

21 July 2014

[...]

On Sunday, 20 July, Puccini's "Tosca" with a world class cast. Attentive TV watchers had already witnessed the production on N3 TV channel one day before. In the Hannover open air performance a church pew was available as a requisite for the artists, Lübeck had to rely completely on acting persuasiveness. And it worked well.

The wonderful Catherine Naglestad in the title role made dreams of masterful singing come true. With a fantastic intonation and thus a skillful development  of the notes - all together with credible gestures - she offered an extraordinary singing experience. And then José Cura as Cavaradossi. Well-known for his unconventional way of performing. But this alone doesn't make you win big points in today's opera business. His voice owns an overwhelming radiant power, his vocal mellowness made not only the ladies' hearts beat faster. In the beginning, you might have feared for his voice - he was flailing a handkerchief and pointed at his throat - but the fearful feeling faded away with each note he sang. You want to hear him again!

The role of Scarpia had been entrusted to Albert Dohmen. The bass-baritone has been successfully singing under the baton of all great conductors and integrated himself perfectly into the remarkable crew. The choirs from Hannover directed by Gudrun Schröfel fitted very well into this high class performance. But all this wouldn't have been possible without conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen. He conducted the orchestra full of energy and empathy. The soloists had the most sensitive conductor who often "went down to his knees" for them. To sum it up, a memorable experience of opera culture.

 

 

Great Singers, New location

Hannoversche Allgemeine

Jutta Rinas

21 July 2014

A "Tosca" for everybody: The NDR opera gala behind the town hall of Hannover delights the masses. Is it a model for the future?

[...] Spontaneous applause after the opera's famous arias - Tosca's "Vissi d'arte" and Cavaradossi's "E lucevan le stelle" - not only from the 1500 paying visitors but is also wafting from the thousands of listeners in nearby Maschpark. That is open-air opera which could hardly be more impressive and touching. In advance there had been talks about a huge event not having been witnessed for a long time in Hannover, about a "spectacle", even about the "musical event of the year in northern Germany". But even the boldest of optimists didn't probably expect that indeed everything turned out to be perfect - starting with the weather, a wonderfully mild summer night through the outstanding qualities of the star guests like José Cura and Catherine Naglestad, through the excellently disposed choirs under Gudrun Schröfel up to the well-balanced sound of the acoustically amplified music. On that place behind the town hall - so far undiscovered as an opera stage, you are treated this evening with great music, great emotions and a wonderful light show: A "Tosca" which is, due to its framework conditions, indeed a spectacular event, opening itself to an audience unfamiliar with classical music and at the same time - note for note, line for line - is filled with dramatic truthfulness and artistic intensity. [...]

The farewell of Eivind Gullberg Jensen from Hannover being a huge success is also due to the fact that his ensemble of singers are not only convincing with their singing skills but also with their acting skills. Even in moments where you can see a cameraman moving back and forth on the stage with his heavy equipment just directly in front of Tosca and Cavaradossi while the two of them are swearing each other eternal love, down in the audience you can still feel intimacy, intensity. Catherine Naglestad impresses with her acting which - like her wonderfully streaming soprano - seems to be developing from deep inside of her. Everything is there, in a seemingly natural, moving way: her jealousy towards Cavaradossi, her hysterical anguish during the torture scene, the violence with which she stabs Scarpia. José Cura is a heldentenor who renounces at using the stereotypical gestures of opera business, who notwithstanding all melodrama also proves to be very strong in soft, lyrical moments.[...]

In the end standing ovations and the open question: Will there be a second open-air opera behind the town hall? The organizers, Matthias Ilkenhans, ochestra manager of NDR Radiophilharmonie, Wolfgang Besemer from Hannover Concerts or the City of Hannover are for sure enthusiastic about "Tosca" - and send out cautious signals towards the future. Wolfgang Besemer says he is hoping that such event can be realized again.

 

 

 

Tosca Open Air in Hannover

(follow-on in Lubeck)

 

 

Rehearsal Photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Performance Photos Coming!

 

 

 

 

Great New Review from Das Opernglas:  Cura as Cavaradossi in Wiesbaden

Thanks so much to Romana for sending and translating!

 

 

Translation by Romana:

[...] Great enthusiasm was above all inflamed by José Cura who sang Cavaradossi in Tosca twice. The Argentinean presented himself in top form, captured the audience sustainably merely by his stage presence. Over the years, his voice has gained even more colours and above all more warmth, this was audible  especially during the first duet with Tosca. At the same time, the artist has preserved his vocal force as could be heard for the two "Vittoria" calls in the second act. As Cavaradossi, Cura not only relied on volume and effects of the famous "E lucevan le stelle" aria in act three, but delighted with differentiated singing. Thus he intonated "Recondita armonia" at the beginning of the opera with pleasing vocal suppleness and good alignment. From his very first appearance he was the natural center of the performance, furthermore proved himself as an excellent team player and visibly and audibly got along well with American soprano Adina Aaron who excelled in the title role. [...]  Das Opernglas issue 7-8, 2015 pp. 28-29

 

 

 

Tosca in Wiesbaden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 
   

 

    

     

 

 

 

Tosca

Reviews

Tosca is celebrated at a May Day Gala with José Cura and Adina Aaron

 

Wiesbadener-Kurier

Volker Milch

26 May 2015

[Gist / Excerpt]

If it is especially nice, the neighbors at Platz 36 tend to get along. During the Gala performance of Puccini’s Tosca at the State Theater, there were all kinds of opportunities, and given the violent passions that raged in the orchestra pit and on the stage, one might not have been surprised at a certain loss of control in the auditorium.  It was a rousing evening.

Strong-man charms

Guest conductor Will Humburg established point of view:  the opening bars rang out in all their strength.  The force, the ‘violenza’ that Puccini writes in the score, is not only a brutal outbreak in wild syncopation but stretches as a dark primer to the operatic thriller about the painter Cavaradossi and his jealous lover, Floria Tosca, who are harassed by police chief Scarpia.  It requires strong voices to assert themselves against this maelstrom of great emotions, and José Cura, prominent as the guest Cavaradossi, soon makes clear that he is not a whispering tenor esthete but a real man with a virile manly timber and powerful, high note brilliancy. 

Under these conditions, he can also find a way to shine in the tenor-confection “E lucevan le stelle” so ravishing sung that the audience gave him an ovation. In any case, rarely have visitors to the Wiesbaden May Festival Games been so collectively inflamed as by the experience of this Tosca, with Adina Aaron in the title role and Samuel Youn as Scarpia.  The final applause included a standing ovation from screaming fans, shouts of bravo, and broad, enthusiastic agreement which included conductor Humburg, the Wiesbaden State Orchestra and Choir.

 

 

 

 

Dresden October 2016

 

COMPUTER GENERATED TRANSLATION

 

Tosca with José Cura at the Dresden Semperoper

OperaPlus

October 29, 2016

[The performance was] fast-paced and with an enormous dramatic situation obviously enhanced by the music of Puccini and the convincing performances of singers.   At the beginning of the third act, which takes places on the ramparts of the Castel Sant’Angelo, we heard the song of the shepard, often song by a soprano but here entrusted to Leopold Reichemu from the Childrens’choir, which made it sound more natural.   It was a suggestive situation during which the boy chooses from piles of shoes that remain from those executed.  The jailer (good bass Alexandros Stavrakakise) complies with the final wish of the prisoner Cavaradossi.  As he writes the farewell letter, José Cura emotionally sings the famous aria E lucevan le stelle.  Tosca arrives to tell him the soldiers will fire blanks and he should fall after the shots as if in the theater.  Both singers performed with feeling during this brief moment of happiness…. But the time arrives and the firing squad comes and the condemned, proudly and without fear, stairs into the mouth of the guns.  We hear gunshots and then Cavaradossi falls on the ground next to the pile of shoes.  Tosca kneels next to him after the military platoon leaves and calls him to his feet.  But in vain.  He is dead.  Wily Scarpia had lied and the bullets were real.  Spoletta returns with other police officers to seize Tosca for the murder of their boss.  Tosca is faster than they are and plunges into the abyss from the walls.  The scene is visually very impressive, accented by a long, undulating scarf falling from ropes.

Musically, the performance was very good and the two leads headed by José Cura offered a profound experience.  A prolonged, enthusiastic ovation testified to the great satisfaction of the audience.  Additional Tosca performances will be available next year, but without the famous tenor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

Calendar 2017

 

Month

Dates

Work

Theater

City

January

28, 31

La Bohème (production)

RSO

http://www.operan.se/in-english/

Stockholm

February

4, 7, 10, 16, 19

La Bohème (production)

RSO

http://www.operan.se/in-english/

Stockholm

 February

19, 22, 25, 28

Tannhäuser

Salle Garnier Opera de Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

 March

8, 9

Concert:  Symphonic

(Ecco Homo)

Smetana Hall Municipal House

www.fok.cz        www.obecnidum.cz

Prague

 May

7, 10, 13, 26 

Peter Grimes (tenor, director, stage design)

Theater Bonn

Bonn

June

3, 7, 9, 12, 14

La Bohème (production)

RSO

http://www.operan.se/in-english/

Stockholm

June

16, 20, 22, 25, 27, 29

Otello

Opera royal de Wallonie 

www.operaliege.be

Liege

July

8, 15 

Peter Grimes

Theater Bonn

Bonn

 October

4, 5

Concert:  Symphonic

Smetana Hall Municipal House

www.fok.cz        www.obecnidum.cz

Prague

October

29

Concert:  Charity

Alexandrinsky Theater

St Petersburg

December

5, 10, 13. 16

Andrea Chénier

Teatro Colón

http://www.teatrocolon.org.ar/en/the-theatre

Buenos Aires

         

 

Calendar 2018

 

Month

Dates

Work

Theater

City

January

1

Concert:  New Year

 

Warsaw

February

20, 23, 25, 28

Peter Grimes

Oper de Montecarlo

Monte Carlo

 March

15, 17

Pagliacci

Royal Opera House Muscat

 Oman

 March

21, 22

Concert: Debussy / Ravel

Smetana Hall Municipal House

Prague

May

13

Recital:  Argentinean Songs

Semperoper

Dresden

June

 13, 14

Concert:  Aregntinean Songs/ Karlowicz 7th Symphony

Smetana Hall Municipal House

Prague

June

28, 29

Nabucco / Set Design / Stage Director

Prague National Theater

Prague

 July

7

Concert:  Singer / Conductor (Open Air)

Rychenbergpark

 Winterthur

July

11

Concert

Music Pavillion

Zagreb

September

21, 23

Fanciulla del west / Set Design, Stage Direction, Conductor

Tallinn Opera House

Tallinn

October

7

Concert:  Argentinean Songs / Dvorak 9th Symphony

Stadthaus

Künzelsau

October

13

Recital:  Argentinean Songs

Stadthaus

Winterthur

 

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

This page is an UNOFFICIAL fan page Mistakes found in these pages are our mistakes and our responsibility.   

 

This fan page is dedicated to promoting the artistry of  José Cura.  We are supported and encouraged by Cura fans from around the world:  without these wonderful people, we wouldn't be able to keep up with the extraordinary career of this fabulous musical talent. 

 

If you have something concerning Mr. Cura you would like to share, contact me at bravocura@cox.net

 

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Last Updated:  Sunday, December 03, 2017  © Copyright: Kira