Bravo Cura

Celebrating José Cura--Singer, Conductor, Director



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Such wonderful news!  José Cura is releasing another album on iTunes, and this one is so special: his absolutely wonderful performance of Rachmaninov's 2nd Symphony.


This is a very special recording, one that received the highest praise when first released and one which received constant critical accolades when performed in concert.  The temperaments of the reserved, sensitive Russian and the extraverted, romantic Argentine unites in a wash of music that almost overwhelms in vibrant intensity.  It is the version of the symphony we return to most often, ranking it as among the finest we've heard.

This is an excellent chance to own a (remastered) version of this excellent performance with Sinfonia Varsovia.  Check it out on iTunes.




Cura's Latest iTune Release!







From José Cura:

Dear friends

To begin with the last news: in coincidence with my upcoming concert with the Mulhouse Symphony Orchestra, in which I will perform my Magnificat and Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony, we have remastered my 2002 recording with Sinfonia Varsovia of this amazing work by the Russian pianist and composer, Sergei Rachmaninov, and it is now available in iTunes, directly by typing “José Cura Sinfonia Varsovia” or simply by clicking this link:…/sergei-rachmaninov-s…/1451963190…


But the news are even more exiting: in November 2019, gathering forces with the Hungarian Radio Orchestra and Choirs and with a selected group of international singers, we will record my Trypticum of Oratorios: Ecce Homo. We will be working tight during the following weeks to the recording, hoping to release it for Christmas 2019. So, please, HOLD YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!!!



Rachmaninov’s reviews:

Concert, Warsaw: After the first collaborative performance of José Cura and Sinfonia Varsovia at the National Philharmonic the skeptics must become silent. The temperament and charisma of the Argentinean tenor, combined with the ensemble's perfection, may bring many interesting artistic results. Wprost, November 2001

Concert, Warsaw: Sinfonia Varsovia played sensationally under Cura’s baton. The homogenous strains of the entire assemble was combined with the clarity of individual instruments' play. The polished solos, especially of the clarinet and oboe deserved the highest praise. Trybuna, November 2001

Concert, Warsaw: Yesterday the Sinfonia Varsovia inaugurated its co-operation with José Cura, the famous Argentinean tenor, in brilliant style. Gazeta Wyborcza, 26 November 2001

Concert, Warsaw: Sinfonia Varsovia played sensationally under Cura’s baton. Trybuna, 27 November 2001

Concert, Sinfonia Varsovia: It would be difficult not to notice the excellent rapport that José Cura has with the Polish orchestra. Under his baton the instrumentalists play freely, there is this wonderful stress-free atmosphere. Slowo Polskie, January 2002

Concert, Sinfonia Varsovia: José Cura’s concert is no doubt going to go down as one of the most important musical events in this region. Wyborcza Gazeta, January 2002

Concert, Vienna: The evening at the Great Hall of the Vienna Konzerthaus showed Cura’s Janus-faced talents. After the intermission, Cura proved his first class, innate (conducting) abilities with a breathtaking interpretation of Rachmaninov's vigorous ‘Symphony No. 2.’ To summarize this enthusiastically received evening: a highly talented conductor who also sings opera for his own pleasure. Die Press, December 2002

Concert, Vienna: [Cura] proved to be a meticulous interpreter of Rachmaninov’s ‘Second Symphony.’ Without airs and graces, with sweeping gestures and precise entries he sketched an electrifying body of sound, in which each movement was followed by frantic applause. Kronen Zeitung, December 2002

Concert, Vienna: José Cura had already led the Sinfonia Varsovia in a well-paced overture of Verdi’s ‘I Vespri Siciliani’ and the prelude of Act II of Giordano’s ‘Siberia’ in the first part, but after the interval he provided the true surprise of the evening: he conducted Rachmaninov’s ‘Second Symphony’ very well, letting the music flow smoothly, phrasing beautifully. This performance was a highly professional achievement which made it clear why the Sinfonia Varsovia has named him principal guest conductor (after all, no less than Yehudi Menuhin was his predecessor). A performance which surpassed even CD versions under Previn or Janssons [...] Der Neue Merker, January 2003

Concert, Poland: In describing the concert with José Cura, one cannot ignore the whole non-musical layer–the theater created around the music by the Argentinean. On one hand he draws attention to himself with his very presence and his every gesture. On the other hand, he cares for the orchestra all the time, showing with every motion that they are the most important element. Cura’s concert is no doubt going to go down in as one of the most important musical events in this region, in this season. Wyborcza Gazeta, January 2002

Concert, Sweden: A tenor who can conduct: José Cura together with the Sinfonia Varsovia presented classical music at its best. Cura’s work as a conductor was brilliant —he had the Sinfonia Varsovia eating out of his hand. The orchestra started off with Grieg's 'Peer Gynt Suite No. 1.’ Rachmaninov's ‘Second Symphony' made up the second part of the concert. It was a joy to see José Cura conducting this piece. The baton was abandoned and instead, he conducted with his whole body. With fingers and big sweeping arm movements, he danced with the different instruments. Again the delighted audience gave standing ovations. DD, July 2002

Concert, Sweden: As a tenor, José Cura has a feeling and love for the climax of the music. This he brings to the conductor's podium. He begins slow music very slowly, soft music is very soft. Cura underlines the rubati and changes in tempo. He has a sense of drama. When it is already heavy, he pours on a little more. This worked remarkably well with the orchestral pieces during the concert on Saturday evening. In the waltz in "Anitra’s dans," Sinfonia Varsovia presented itself as an exquisite symphony orchestra—exact with details and radiance. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Cura’s moving interpretation of Rachmaninov's powerful ‘Second Symphony.’ The strong adagio was a knock-out and the 1200-strong audience responded with a long standing ovation. Falun Kuriren, 29 June 2002

Rachmaninov CD: The first movement exposition bowls along compellingly enough to merit its full repeat here; the scherzo is as bright and articulate as the finale; and the now-clichéd love song contours of the slow movement retain a certain freshness. BBC Music Magazine

Rachmaninov CD: A performance you imagined but never dreamed you would experience: fast and powerful, impressive, vivacious. Great Rachmaninov playing. Classical Music Web

Rachmaninov CD: A fresh and virile Rachmaninov reading from the tenor-turned-conductor [who] has definite ideas about how the music should go. Gramophone

Rachmaninov CD: The production convinces with its passionate, highly emotional expression, its romantic exuberance, its diffuse, elevated idiom, and its directness in the communication of feelings. In the conductor one senses the “breath” of a singer in long musical phrases: ample and rich in sound–like a pleasant ecstasy. Salzburger Nachrichten

Rachmaninov CD: Cura, temporarily abandoning the stage, directs the Warsaw orchestra in a fast and powerful performance. Cura’s grasp and focus is impressive; the more so in a work that has its longueurs. This performance is full of vivacious temperament and fairly flies along. Cura makes many telling points along the way and the fact that his foot is down on the gas pedal matters not a bit. Some might find it shockingly quick but provided you do not insist on the viscously protracted you may well find yourself wanting more Rachmaninov from Cura. Rob Barnett

Rachmaninov CD: [Cura knows] exactly what to do with the music, and he leads an expertly shaped, urgently vital performance, as true to the spirit of the music as to the letter of the score. Listen, for example, to the sure way in which he builds the introduction, and to the feeling of a true allegro with which he imbues the first movement (with exposition repeat). His decision to take the second subject in tempo and then relax and slow down only at the cadence theme proves far more emotionally clinching than many a more indulgent treatment (and it also makes the repeat sound inevitable rather than redundant). When the big climax arrives, with crashing cymbals and bass drum, he conveys the feeling of pent-up energy being unleashed without needing to make a massive ritard that checks the music's momentum. If you love this symphony, you will certainly have to hear this surprising performance from a very unexpected source. Classics Today

Rachmaninov CD: One obviously need not worry about José Cura’s "old-age pension:" wherever his dramatic tenor’s ambitions will lead him in the future, he has begun in time to build a second career as a conductor, and he doesn’t confine himself to opera. Cura’s two new releases with Sinfonia Varsovia reinforce the impression that singing is his job but conducting is his true passion. And the recordings leave no doubt that he knows what he is doing. The combination of Slavic melancholy and Latin- American temperament is definitely fertile. Although the musicians bathe in emotion in Rachmaninov’s 'Second Symphony,' the conductor always remains in control. Fono Forum



Upcoming Performances








24. 02. 2019. ZAG Grand Hall 

An evening with José Cura and János Balázs
Program: Argentine songs

Whether as a tenor or as a conductor or composer, José Cura has been returning regularly to Hungary for almost two decades, since his debut in concert at the Erkel Theater.

The artist, now in his mid-fifties, has been a celebrated star of the opera stages for more than a quarter century.  His exceptionally large and suggestive repertoire has been immortalized in countless sound and video recordings, many of which are award-winning.

This time, accompanied by the exceptional piano mastery of János Balázs, José Cura brings us a program of Argentinean chamber songs, in which we will be able to admire his magnificent singing art.

Traditionally, in the first part of the concert, the Cziffra Festival Awards will be announced.








Stiffelio Retrospective




Debut -- Royal Opera House 1995


Stiffelio, London, June 1995: “His voice is certainly of that caliber; a reedy, almost pre-war tone in the quieter passages is replaced by awesome, open-throated power at high volume. At the top of his range he can supply unlimited pressure without buckling the sound.”  Evening Standard, July 1995


Stiffelio, London, June 1995: “The Argentine tenor is tall and imposing of stature and the top of his voice is thrillingly free and secure. He has a nice line in flashing eyes and flaring nostrils, and neatly suggested the man’s fundamentalist smugness in the early scenes. Above all there is an elemental power to his stage persona which is well suited to the role.”  The Times, June 1995


Stiffelio, London, June 1995:  “What made last night particularly thrilling was the Opera House debut performance of Argentinean tenor, José Cura, in the title role. His Stiffelio sucks the audience into a personality festering with piety, priggishness, hypocrisy, and irrepressible rage.”  Evening Standard, June 1995


Stiffelio, London, June 1995: “A real tenore di forza, with a commanding stage presence and an unusually dark, burnished timbre, burgeoning unexpectedly into a brilliant ringing top, Cura is a real find, an Otello in waiting.”  Independent, June 1995










Vienna 2004 / 2009


Stiffelio, Vienna, November 2004:  “José Cura debuts in the role of the Protestant clergyman Stiffelio, whose wife is unfaithful to him and who is torn between the hatred of a husband toward his rival and the religious obligation to forgive. Cura acts and sings--absolutely glorious and radiant in the upper notes--so passionately, he’s almost frightening.”  Kurier, November 2004

Stiffelio, Vienna, November 2004: “This time around, it was an explosive jealousy-based drama which developed an irresistibly alluring pull by virtue of the all-out vocal and physical commitment, the total effort of the performers. José Cura’s Stiffelio was almost torn to pieces by the intensity of his raging, scorching jealousy. He hits all high notes, his voice responds impressively and is of great appeal to this critic. Although he has no real aria, he does have many solos, duets and ensemble parts. Stunning, overwhelming- the way he reads the gospel story of the adulteress to the congregation in the final scene. The audience was fired up and the sold-out auditorium celebrated the artists elaborately.”  Der Neue Merker, November 2004

Stiffelio, Vienna, November 2004:  José Cura was heard in the title role (role debut). His embodiment of an externally dignified but internally torn clergyman was vocally and dramatically convincing.” Weiner Zeitung, November 2004

Stiffelio, Vienna, February 2009:  “With distinctive baritone and manly roughness in the low [notes] and with lots of strange sounding tones in the high, José Cura appeared as the preacher who was cheated on. Those who do not like him will always knock the effusive style of his singing while those who like him can almost always take pleasure in his intense singing and acting portrait in the role, as happened this evening when he thanked with much applause. To try to bind Cura to a bel canto song line would require a renunciation of intensity and expression.”  Der Neue Merkur, February 2009  

Stiffelio, Vienna, February 2009:  “Star tenor José Cura interpreted the title character with increasing fervor and vocal power. He formed a credible, multi-faceted character.”  Wiener Zeitung, 11 February 2009

Stiffelio, Vienna, February 2009:  “The hapless man of God, Stiffelio, arrived (as in the last few years) with José Cura and it is certainly one of his best roles - he does not do much yet conveys the internal struggles credibly. Vocally, we have heard the same for some time:  passages with real, beautiful tenorial brilliance - and all too many in which he audibly does not control his voice. Applause.”  Der Neue Merkur, February 2009

Stiffelio, Vienna, February 2009:  “While he maintains an active schedule as both singer and conductor in Europe, José Cura remains curiously absent from North American rosters. (He adds a quartet of Turiddus and Canios in March and April to the scant fifteen Met performances he has given over the past decade.) Stiffelio is a superstar tenor's opera, and Cura has the power, passion, dedication and sheer charisma to pull off a role that is not first-rate Verdi. At forty-six, he can boast a voice in spectacular shape; the slight huskiness that drifts in under pressure in dramatic passages is easily forgiven as an exchange for the moment. There is a ping, a squillo to this big, burnished trumpet of a voice that remains virtually unmatched for sheer tenorial excitement. Michael Halász occasionally stumbled with rhythmically-complicated passages, failing to make a case for this rarity except as a vehicle for the likes of Cura."  Opera News, 7 February 2009

Stiffelio, Vienna, February 2009:  “For José Cura (who also sings Don José in Carmen from February 25) the role of the sectarian priest Stiffelio is an ideal one: he perfectly displays the warmth of a religious leader at the beginning, later the despair during his budding jealousy and the rage of the offended man. Throughout, Cura is always Cura, an extraordinary figure and a unique personality. In that he outshines most of his tenor colleagues. Cura not only portrays his character with great sensitivity for human emotions, he obviously also feels them himself! And he convinces vocally, creates nuances and moods with his dark tenor voice; equally convincing his art of expression and phrasing. His wife Lina’s brief affair provokes in this brooding missionary a range of emotions far from pious, even a desire to fight a duel with his rival Raffaele.  Ovations!”  Wiener Zeitung, 11 February 2009













Fan Photos










Zurich 2004 / 2006

Stiffelio, Zürich, September 2004:  “As Stiffelio, tenor José Cura demonstrates the full range of nuances from pastoral depth to ardent virility not only by being near-perfect in appearance, but also in voice.”  Tagblatt der Stadt Zürich, 2004

Stiffelio, Zürich, September 2004:  “In José Cura’s portrayal of Stiffelio, one can observe the conflict of emotions-a conflict between vindictiveness and reconciliation, worked out carefully by Verdi. Especially in the ‘piani’, Cura finds incredibly beautiful colors and a great vividness.”  NZZ, 2004

Stiffelio, Zürich, September 2004:  “José Cura paints an immensely vivid and malleable picture of the protagonist, the pastor of a sect: (and he does so) with superb body control down to the fingertips and with differentiation in his musical character.”  Der Landbote, 2004

Stiffelio, Zürich, September 2004:  “Stiffelio is at the center of the opera, sung superbly by José Cura. As an actor, the 38-year-old Argentine tenor has strong stage presence in personifying the inner conflicts of his character. From his dark tenor of almost baritonal timbre, he manages to elicit surprisingly velvety colors and shadings. In his strong emotional outbursts, Cura’s Stiffelio points toward Otello.”  Neue Luzerner Zeitung, 2004

Stiffelio, Zürich, September 2004:  “The Stiffelio by José Cura…stresses the avenger. Vocally he images the role as a precursor of Verismo: constant and high pressure even during the quiet moments, often sung with strangely discolored vowels. Cura brings such tremendous energy on stage but he remains guilty regarding the musical line.” ZO, 28 September 2004   

Stiffelio, Zürich, September 2004:  “This role, in which (José Cura) made his debut at Covent Garden and attracted attention ten years ago, does not come across as unoriginal or exaggerated in any way. Cura is rather looking to emphasize the finer points, i.e. an inner drama—an intelligent portrayal.”  TagesAnzeiger, 2004

Stiffelio, Zürich, September 2004:  “José Cura portrays this main character with a high degree of authenticity.  And if he hadn’t sung so splendidly and used such an unbelievably easy and surely guided voice, if he hadn’t sung the high notes tied in so organically to the singing line, you could hate this uncontrollable, intemperate man. [Part of] Cura’s exceptional charm lies in his quite specific timbre. A tenor singing the role of priest is quite unusual, because these roles are usually reserved only for basses. But Stiffelio, a bundle of passionate temperament, simply has to be a tenor.”  Opernglas, 2004

Stiffelio, Zürich, September 2004:  “Thanks to the stage presence of José Cura and Leo Nucci, at least two protagonists receive character traits. But Reinaldo Macias as seducer and Emily Magee as seduced stand helpless on the stage--the performance falls musically into a dead end. José Cura’s personality is so great that José Cura's personality is so great that it can also be called "behorsororiginell.”  But the photographer and conductor tenor keeps himself and his sometimes ebullient forces in check and sings quite well.  His voice, meanwhile, has the characteristics of old jeans:  sometimes cool but upon closer inspection you realize they some of the exposed areas are patched and others have lost color.”  Aargauer Zeitung, 28 September 2004  

Stiffelio, Zürich, September 2004:  “In this Zürich production, nobody –with one exception—found any really workable solutions to the challenges. The exception? His name is José Cura. The Argentine tenor was the only one who really breathed life into his character; the only one who was capable of creating intensity and credibility, of portraying a real human being with real conflicts.’  Zürichsee Zeitung, 2004

Stiffelio, Zürich, September 2004:  “Two world stars - tenor José Cura and baritone Leo Nucci - save a weak opera by Giuseppe Verdi.” Blick,  28 September 2004

Stiffelio, Zürich, September 2004:  “A Zürich premiere: At the Opera House, Verdi’s Stiffelio was performed for the first time ever--a powerful opera, sung and enacted by strong singers of great renown....The delight of this production--awarded hearty and warm applause at the first performance--is that it gives wings to Verdi’s soul rather than turning out to be a cut and dry exercise in philology. With great, intense commitment both singing and acting, tenor José Cura offers up a Stiffelio who should be able to forgive another human being but who instead is boiling with jealousy and ire. At the very end, his eyes are still fixed on the Bible, staring at it, as Lina just at that very moment has been granted forgiveness “from above” on a religious level through the words of the preacher. Cura sings with a voice capable of developing and displaying immense power.”  Thurgauer Zeitung, 2004

Stiffelio, Zürich, September 2004:  “José Cura, the Stiffelio, was the only member of the cast who had sung his role before. Verdi imagined that Stiffelio would sound like "a great silver plate struck with a silver hammer"; Cura's timbre is more akin to a bronze tocsin. He has a visceral, chest-oriented ferocity, and there is certainly no lack of heft or vigor to his sound. One could wish for more subtlety in his delivery of the words and a smoother spinning of the musical lines, but his delineation of the character's dilemma, torn between his fundamentalist morals and his intense sexual jealousy, was very impressive indeed. Some Stiffelios I have seen in previous productions could not escape a certain sanctimony; Cura created an unusual and most effective character with his almost unbridled sexiness. Lina must have been desperately frustrated by this Stiffelio's absence to have fallen for the bland playboy charms of Raffaele.”  Opera News, December 2004
















Click on any of the photos above for short videos from the Zurich 2006 production of Stiffelio






























2019 Performance Calendar









Conductor:  Rodrigo & Beethoven 4th

Auritori Municipal Enric Granados




Singer / Conductor

Union Hall




Singer:  Argentinean songs

Music Academy Grand Hall



8, 9

Conductor:  Piazzola, Cura, Rachmaninov

La Filature / Grande Salle




Concert: Singer

Tchaikovsky Conservatory Big Hall



26, 28

Concert: Singer

Smetana Hall




Conductor: Rozycky’s Anhelli – Puccini’s Suor Angelica in concert




7, 9


Margaret Island



15 - 22

BBC Cardiff Singer of the world / Member of Jury

St David's Hall





Cologne Opera House



3, 5, 11, 14


Cologne Opera House





Teatro Antico Plovdiv



12, 14

Andrea Chénier

Royal Opera House




Conductor:  Beethoven’s 9th

Royal Opera House




Concert:  Singer





Conductor: Beethoven & Cura

St Stephen Basilica




Conductor:  Verdi’s Requiem

Müpa (Palace of Arts Budapest)














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:  Sunday, February 17, 2019  © Copyright: Kira