Bravo Cura

Celebrating José Cura--Singer, Conductor, Director





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Postmodern Opera Party with José Cura


Beata Baublinskienė

1 January 2015  


The famous Argentine tenor José Cura New Year’s concert at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater was unexpected. 

After the orchestral introduction to Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci, the famous tenor voice was heard coming…from the stalls.  He began to sing as the clown Canio from his sit among the audience.  Of course, after a few phrases he stood up to go to the stage, but even here he improvised when he took the hand of a little girl who led him from the audience, a unexpected but small and important role with which the celebrity started the concert. 

In fact, the epithet “unexpected” perhaps best described the entire festive and very informal evening of opera.

From the beginning, the so-called fourth wall separating the actor from the audience was broken, with the famous tenor and even cleverer director delicately created an informal atmosphere equal to the rock or jazz concert.

He spoke Lithuanian with the audience (“Good evening” uttered easily and without an accent) in public for the first time, saying he already had links with Lithuania because his daughter’s boyfriend is Lithuanian.  “Perhaps soon I will be one of you,” joked the famous Argentine who together with his wife has raised three children. 

He warned at once (now in English) that this would be no ordinary concert and special evening—a New Year’s Celebration (Party)—and proposed that we relax and enjoy.  He, in turn and together with all the performers on the stage, would literally “sweat” for the benefit of the audience.

Admittedly, I have probably never before seen such a heartfelt and informal spirit in the LNOBT.  Nevertheless, most of the program of the concert itself did not even remotely remind me of the classic popular songs medley that traditionally flood the stage on [New Year’s Eve].  Yes, the Canio aria from Pagliacci was performed with all the vocal, dramatic, and inspiration that you would expect from the tenor who had conquered the world, but it also introduced the Prolog, scenes from the first act and the intermezzo.

Of course it was possible to enjoy José’s aria from Georges Bizet opera Carmen but also heard the opera’s overture, the Carmen and Don José duet and all of Act IV.  According to Jose Cura’s idea, the program, in which he appeared as a soloist and as a conductor, was made up of larger [dramatic] scenes.

 In addition to the above, there were amazing excerpts from Giuseppe Verdi’s operas Nabucco and Aida and Camille Saint-Saëns’ opera Samson et Dalila.  Even the most demanding tastes of music fans could not be found wanting against the concert program works for both the selection and quality of the performances, which met the highest classical standards. 


As careful and attentive to the glories of his stage partners, Cura showed special affection and gratitude for the LNOBT Orchestra, obviously feeling great passion for his second musical vocation—conducting.  The maestro even embraced the orchestra concertmaster Angelę Litvaitytę.

A tribute medley of popular repertoire operas formed the encore:  the Slave Chorus from Nabucco, ‘Libiamo’ from La traviata, and, of course, the fabulous aria of Calaf ‘Nessun dorma’ from Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot completing the fantastic evening.   

And among the encores came the Beatles’ song ‘Yesterday’ with Cura singing and accompanying himself on the guitar.  As he commented, “What is common between opera and the Beatles?  Their ‘Yesterday’ is also a classic—classic pop.”


So, as sung in 1965, the Beatles song ‘Yesterday’:  “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…” José Cura’s inspirational arch, charisma and human warmth radiated through the LNOBT and created a New Year’s evening atmosphere that was free, sincere, and extraordinary.  A postmodern New Year’s Opera Party. 





























Last Updated:  Saturday, January 17, 2015  © Copyright: Kira