Celebrating José Cura--Singer, Conductor, Director
Gyor - 3 May 2015
Next Year in Győr - Maestro Cura Conducts Otello!
José Cura: "Yesterday Night was a Massage for my Soul”
Photo: Gábor Marcali
4 May 2015
translated by Zsuzsanna Suba
"After a night of love, the most important thing is the next morning," said José Cura on Monday referring to the great success of the super concert of Sunday in Győr, in a press conference held at the home of the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra. The Argentine tenor had such a great time in our city that next year he will also perform here, but this time he won’t sing.
"Beyond that, that we had a great concert yesterday, it also became evident that the new multifunctional hall of Győr, the Audi Arena is not only suitable for sports programs, but it can also be used to fill it with high culture," emphasized Géza Fűke, the director of Győr Philharmonic Orchestra. He added that the orchestra had play in front of two thousand people so far in Győr, but on Sunday night, however, they were able to reach 3500 people in this new location.
The leaders of the orchestra also gave a taste from the next season of the orchestra during the press conference they held with José Cura. It was said that in the next season the musicians will prove, that classical music can be fun, entertaining and it can be consumed by anyone. Géza Fűke revealed that they would like to reach as many young people as possible in the next season.
"Serious and boring are not synonymous words, classical music is very serious, but it is not boring at all!" began José Cura, who said that the orchestra of Győr aims at doing the same thing as he does, namely to gain joy to the audience.
"The composers were cheerful people, but we play Mozart or Bach in a serious way, though Bach had 21 children ...We should talk about these in regarding to classical music, if we want to bring it to young people, since they are also very much alive artists!" he pointed out and he continued: "What we have created yesterday night, it was not only a beautiful moment of music, but it was also a great moment of the orchestra. That kind of relationship which was formed among the orchestra, me and the conductor could be called as a really special relationship, and the audience was smiling, and this is our mission. I can only congratulate the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra, and I am glad to be part of their next season, too," he stated and added that during the 30 years of his career he did what he had to, and now he only deals with those things what he likes. "This concert also belonged to this message and yesterday night was a massage for my soul."
He also revealed that next year he is not going to sing, but he performs as a conductor with the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra; he will conduct Verdi’s Otello [in the Audi Arena, in a concert]. "We have to prepare the new generation of singers. Great young people will do their debut here, I will be the only old pirate on board, and it is a double pleasure for me that we will perform on the Shakespeare’s anniversary, who was one of the most humorous man,” he said, since the production will take place on the 400th anniversary of the death of the English playwright, on 23 April of 2016.
"It was one of the most memorable concerts of my life on Sunday,” said conductor Kálmán Berkes, the artistic director of the orchestra and he added that he was confident that José Cura’s production of next season will also be sensational, where the Argentine star will be the manager.
He emphasized, that guest conductors are very important; in addition to Cura, other stars will conduct the orchestra of Győr such as Zoltán Kocsis, Gilbert Varga and Kenichiro Kobayashi. The season program expands from Bach to Bartók and the works of contemporary artists can be also heard by the audience.
Dávid Fekete, Vice Mayor, highlighted at the press conference that they dared to dream big, and the multi-functional hall was built, which can also serve the culture next to the sport. Speaking about the next season he said, that is important that the orchestra think about young people as well, and their young soloists can receive special role too. "The Győr Philharmonic Orchestra represents a serious part in the cultural life, and not only in our city but also outside of the country's borders. The local government of course will continue to provide all the support to the orchestra," he emphasized in the end.
We will report about the 2015/2016 season in more detail to our readers. The photos of the concert of Sunday can be seen in our photo gallery which was made by Péter O. Jakócs. [http://gyorplusz.hu/galeria/10697.html].
He is familiar with our country [Hungary], he sang the title role of Otello in the Hungarian State Opera of Budapest in February, he is an honorary citizen of Veszprém, and soon we can welcome the versatile Argentine star in the city of Győr to prove with Andrea Rost and the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra that classical music, the great opera arias, like the songs of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, are eternal ones and they were born from passion.
José Cura actively participated in the preparation of the music program for the super concert in May, so he received Kálmán Berkes, the conductor of the evening and Gábor Ősz, the Deputy Director of the orchestra in Budapest. I accompanied them.
Your repertoire is defined by Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello recently sang this title role in the Hungarian State Opera of Budapest. Many people think that your most memorable performance was in 1997 under the baton of Claudio Abbado together with the Berlin Philharmonic. You also directed this work in Buenos Aires in 2013. How has your relationship changed over the decades with this opera?
I sang the title role of Otello 200 times; there is no famous one or most important interpretation, because every performance is different. The previously mentioned two performances in Budapest were born under a lucky star; I have been working with the team of the Budapest Opera for almost 15 years, they are composed of fantastic singers, musicians and conductors.
Is this the reason you return year by year?
I ask you this question: I'm a professional, I am going there where I am invited and my fee is paid and I do my job. You would also do the same, if being paid for it, right? Of course there is another aspect of this. I like to be here because everything is given in Hungary for that I can work in professional conditions, so we create great productions year by year, well, this is the reason why I'm here.
The great sandwich
What is the Hungarian audience like in your opinion?
The audience of course cannot the musicians. This looks at European level in such a way, as a big sandwich: people are temperamental in the south, they respond to everything immediately. In the middle of Europe, a little to the north: in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, they are much more restrained, more relaxed. Well, more to the east in Hungary, in the Czech Republic or in Russia, the audience and the musicians follow the mentality of Southerners, because they have the real Gypsy blood inside them, which is very important when the reception of music and artistic experience is concerned.
Returning, when I performed for the first time here in 2000, my most surprising experience was the first applause, which was not only a single applause, but a passionate outburst of emotion, "Wow! - This is not anything!" This is so typical of the Hungarian audience, when they really like something, they are very persistent in that and follow the artist, otherwise, the tragedy of great fall would come, but fortunately I haven’t experienced this yet.
You move around the country. You performed in Veszprém, Miskolc, Gyula, Szeged, and now how do you prepare for the concert of Győr?
We added the finishing touches to the music program with the management of the orchestra. The most beautiful and best-known pieces of operas will ring up in the Audi Arena of Győr. I am looking forward to singing with Andrea Rost, with whom I had met long ago [in 2003]. I do not know the orchestra of Győr yet, but the person of Kálmán Berkes, the conductor, is a guarantee that we will be in good hands, because I know from practice that the conductor's work defines the success of the whole evening by a high percentage!
"I beg you live!"
You are a versatile: you sing, conduct, direct, design the set. How can you deal with so many things?
I am! What does this mean? Those who are like me who are engaged in doing many things and are doing them well and are successful, all of them make certain others very nervous. They do not understand; they are jealous of it and ask, "How can you do so many things?" Of course, the question continues like this, "Why do you deal with five things, and not with just one?!" I do not think that I would be the best in everything, but what I am doing with incredible persistence, diligence and talent, I make a success of that, and that's what counts.
I believe it is better to die with happiness and satisfaction than knowing you've lived your life unhappy and frustrated. Anyway, you can never do anything that pleases everyone; you can never be the winner.
But you're a winner!
Yes, by those who believe in me, but for those who do not like me, I already failed a long time ago. But after twenty-five years the audiences that follow me and buy tickets for my concert, they play it safe, they know what you get for your money, they know what the Cura brand means.
But how many things can a credible artist do? The best musicians play their own instruments very well, but do they wonder about the others’ concerts? Do they go to a museum or theater? Do they go to music festivals just to have fun? I can continue this line: which musicians or singers go to ride or would like to do a parachute jump ever in his life?
I beg you! We, the stage artists who spend most of our time on the stage and continuously serve the audience, we cannot live by locking ourselves in our art!
What is the Cura brand? Is it only a marketing trick or a just simple formula about Cura who always gives himself?
There is no word or marketing trick, it is simply saying: I give myself in every situation. As we're talking here, well, I'm like this on the stage, the same way as when I'm taking my wife out to dinner. I live my life with passion. Because it is too short to do all these with boredom, don’t you think?
Of course that I am a seriously respected Maestro: "Yes, Monika, well, what's the next question ....?" And then the readers would think: "Wow, what a serious man Cura is!" In fact, this is so: I am a world-renowned artist, but I'm sorry, who said that serious and boring is synonymous?
We drive young people away the classical music with this, pretending behaviour, because we passed the world-famous works to them such a way and take ourselves so seriously that the result is horribly boring! I beg you, though classical music is valuable art, it is also fun! It isn’t a dead, but it is a living, pulsating thing we are talking about.
Thus artistic credibility begins with self-identity. Do you transfer this knowledge to the younger artist generation too?
There is no problem with young people, they are wonderful and talented; the trouble is we don’t take them seriously enough. I know this from experience, because I do master classes everywhere. "Maestro! What do we need to do to become famous and satisfied artists?" they used to ask me. I can give artistic aspects to them, but to find out from whom and how one will become successful and satisfied as an artist, there is no recipe, everyone must follow a path of your own, and you cannot get away with this. The key message is: "be yourself!" For now the easiest way is being famous, you upload some silly videos on the Internet and you're the star of the day. The fame is an easy thing, but we, the artists strive for excellence.
The symphony orchestras think that one of the main problems in terms of their survival is facing up to the rejuvenation of the audience. Can you believe this, too?
I do not, my concerts are full of young people. They are waiting for me at the end of the program at the artists’ entrance, and we are enthusiastically talking about how they like my style, the way I handle this genre. This is new for them, as they say, it is full of freshness. Of course, the externalities contribute to this, for example that most of the time I do not wear tails because I think it is anachronistic. Why we can’t wear jeans on the stage in the 21st century? But I tell you another typical example for the externalities! Do you know how long I am called as Maestro? It is very funny: since I wear glasses – for fifteen years. Until then I was just a tenor, but now I am certainly a very serious Master. Isn’t that ridiculous?
Do you bring this above mentioned freshness to Győr, too?
Yes, but the concert of Győr has four participants: Andrea Rost, Kálmán Berkes, the orchestra and myself. The combined effect hopefully will be something very good and positive, I am just sure in this, because Kálmán Berkes has a great sense of humour and this is very important! Such a concert is all about positive energies. I hate it when someone enters to the stage with such a facial expression as if someone had died at that moment. I beg you; you cannot play Mozart in such a way. Or I can mention the greatest figure of the Baroque period, Bach. Check out how the musicians’ faces look during the concert! I would only add to this, that Bach had 21 children, and you can imagine the rest.... But here is Schubert, who wrote the score with one hand while he was drinking beer with the other one, and then this is very serious.
Far from disrespectful, I just want to say that there is the man himself behind all greatness, genius, an ordinary mortal. Why it is important to recognize this? If we see the men in these geniuses, we recognize the frailty in them, so the more we honor the miracle that they have created. Thanks to their human being they always have relationship with today, and so their work will live forever. Well, I think this should be the sense of the artists on stage day after day, and they should represent this to the public.
Earlier you asked me about the brand. Well, I think that it is my mission to shed light on these relationships. Twenty years ago, one British critic wrote, "Cura should take note that classical music was not written for his amusement!" That is why my critics don’t have a high opinion of me, I do not belong to the canon, but interestingly, I can still win young people to my case! I’ve been at war with the teachers of conservatories and the critics for twenty-five years, and if God will merciful to me, I can continue this fight for another twenty-five years, and then after I headed for heaven or even hell.
Do many of your students want to follow you?
I don’t have in the strict sense of the word, but I give master classes everywhere in the world. There I tell them what I think about this profession, and then I put them on their way. They decide what they want. But as we talked about earlier, the most important is to be yourself, because you cannot pretend or feign yourselves during the whole life.
At the beginning of, they always tried to compare me to someone: to Domingo and Carreras, and I was glad that I was different, not the reincarnation of one star.
A mature tree
Well that José Cura is the fourth tenor?
Yes at the beginning of my career, and also that I'm the new Karajan or just the reincarnation of Caruso. This is just the same approach as that Messi is the new Maradona. Stupidity! Is it not possible that I'm just me?
But you look closely at the issue of the three Tenors: Pavarotti - God rest his soul! - is no longer among us, Carreras doesn’t sing and Placido sings less and less, so we are talking about three great musicians of the past century, so where do I come into the picture now? It was just a great help for the press that I could be classified into somewhere by them. Although the agencies also used this cheap marketing trick in order they could sell even more tickets. But I don’t like these empty tricks, I believe that many years of hard work and patience are needed for the excellence.
So to become a true artist! At the beginning every talent is only one option, one seed. I am convinced that after thirty years of hard work a strong, mature tree came from that seed. Everyone can decide whether he/she loves the cool shade or fruits of this tree, but the point is that I'm a tree, and not only a little seed.
These the thoughts you want to put them into a book! You should write it down!
You have it, I told you everything now.
José Cura and Andrea Rost Enchanted Each Other and the Audience
Translated by Zsuzsanna Suba
“…. I'm so much a man as much as the one is a woman who came into the room” - wrote Frigyes Karinthy, and of course, this is also true inversely: the woman is so much a woman, as much as the man is a man. Well, this happened in Győr, in the concert of José Cura and Andrea Rost.
The people of Pest can treat the concert with some suspicion, how that concert will be, which is held in a Sports Arena named after Audi. [….] The Arena of Győr is not like the Sports Arena of Budapest. It is more beautiful, more tasteful and it has a better acoustics. There is no need to compromise at the expense of quality when opera singers step on the podium.
José Cura, who has always been able to get close to the audience from the very first moment, now walked down from the grandstand while he was singing The Prologue from Pagliacci, and he shook hands with some spectators until he reached the stage. There he also sang and conducted the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra too, which otherwise was conducted by Kálmán Berkes.
The way Cura was conducting, it was the soaring itself. One could follow the feelings and motions of his face and hands on the huge projectors as much as the musicians could see it. The friendly, creative atmosphere with them was palpable. It wasn’t pure chance, that in the middle of the concert he said these words to the audience: "This could be the orchestra of London, Berlin or New York, but this is from Győr. It is Yours in Győr!”
Of course, the answer was a proud applause, because it was true what he said, and the way he said it, it was sincere. Whatever José Cura did or sang it was always sincere and spoken from the heart. He lived Otello’s deep pain in front of us just as Alfredo’s conquest too, as he won Violetta over in La Traviata. In other words, he won Andrea Rost’s heart, who sang meek and virtuous arias at the beginning of the concert.
But the second part of the concert was full of coquetry and conquest. The duet and aria of Alfredo and Violetta grabbed not only the audience with a huge emotional arc, but José Cura, the man too, with whom Andrea Rost has not performed together yet. Now they mutually enchanted each other and the audience.
But before everything was flooded by a “purple haze”, the humor exploded from both of them too. Andrea Rost sang Marguerite’s “Jewel Song” from Faust for the second time improvising it according to the moment. In the first part of the concert, she was bewitched by the jewels as usual. In the second part, she sang it in a flirting mood and she bewitched, astonished José Cura. Both of them and also the audience knew: good fun is going on here. And of course, it was brilliant singing and music.
We ended in a rampage by the end too. José Cura accompanied their duet of Yesterday, the song of the Beatles by a guitar. At the end of the show - as it should be -, he sang Calaf’s aria from Turandot and the Brindisi from La Traviata. They sang the latter by three of them together with the young Daniel Foki. The young baritone who won the audience’s award of the classical talent show “Virtuoso “ also performed in this evening singing Figaro’s aria and this final, joint song.
Sometimes it is very good to go out from Pest into the country.
World-class and charming concert of José Cura, Andrea Rost and Győr Philharmonic Orchestra
Audi Arena, Győr, Hungary
3 May 2015
Almost at the end of a busy and spectacular season, the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra had another weapon up its sleeve. It happened a year ago when the orchestra announced the event “Opera arias in concert” with the performances of two world famous artists, the Argentine tenor José Cura and the Hungarian soprano Andrea Rost in a newly built location, in the Audi Arena, in Győr. Though these two singers met together on one occasion in a concert more than ten years ago in Budapest, it was the first time when they performed together in such a super concert thanks to the invitation of the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra and its artistic director Kálmán Berkes. They all were such a natural partners to each other as if they would act together for years and many concerts. We - and more than 3500 people who were gathered there from all over the country and even abroad - can prove that these two exceptional artists and the orchestra impressed the audience remarkably with their exquisite and compelling achievement on 3rd of May 2015. The inauguration of the compact, multifunctional Sport Arena of Győr to host a concert of classical music and opera arias harvested spectacular and memorable success. This could be measured well by the warmth and intensity of applause and love what the audience produced after each number.
The Audi Arena offered a spacious and friendly environment placing the audience on the huge floor and the lower tribunes of the arena around. The vast podium stood in the focus at the front and it was strongly illuminated and equipped with giant screens on both sides of the stage and also on more sides in the middle part of the auditorium above together with well-arranged and tuned microphones and speakers. TV cameras projected the concert to the giant screens together with the subtitles of the musical pieces of the program. Thus everybody could follow what was going on the stage in great detail and stunning quality. The program was well balanced by mixing famous opera arias with popular orchestral pieces (Overtures, Intermezzos). Everybody offered their best and we didn’t spare with our applause throughout the evening.
We enjoyed a thrilling, world-class and unique concert, which gave us a well-composed and high-level operatic entertainment equally representing dramatic moments and light humour; so we couldn’t wish more. Special mention must be made of the excellence of the orchestra led by Kálmán Berkes. Of course, José Cura also took over the baton from him for the sake of two numbers. The musicians’ musical shaping, their variations of colour and harmony together with their full, rounded and flowing sound virtually embraced and enchanted us from the beginning till the end. All the opera solos, duets and orchestral pieces possessed of beautiful projection of great music.
José Cura was simply in superb vocal form, he showed us the fames of his trademark again; the warm, caressing timbre, soaring intensity and daring high notes of his voice, his brilliance to light up the audience with visceral thrill, his protective attention toward his partners, sparkling humour and great sense for the moments of gentle spontaneity. He brought the proper sensitivity, passion and depth to his characters acting as Tonio, Canio, Cavaradossi, Otello or Alfredo. His two profound Otello monologues mirrored perfectly the cross-section of the drama in his painful, mad, moving and tearful confessions representing one of the highlights of the evening. His voice carried darkly glowing colour, dynamism and increased in radiant intensity with the eruption of true feelings or subsided by the vibration of his soul in the most poignant moments. Andrea Rost also lived on the stage as an equally lovely singer and partner. She proudly displayed her beautifully projected girlish, brilliant and healthy soprano not sparing with her coloratura and virtuosity either. She was in her elements the best in her great arias from Faust and La Traviata. The real treat was the duet of the two singers, the ever changing, funny-serious games of wooing, flirtation and conquest during the lovely secret meeting of Cura’s Alfredo and Rost’s Violetta where spontaneous, stage giving situation of the moments were also exploited.
The concert ended with four inimitable encores of abundant humour and improvisation in a common joy of music making. During this extra session, frenetic applause and ovation lasting ten minutes altogether rocked the auditorium among the encores while we cheered and stomped our feet for whishing more and more. We would keep on our wild celebration much longer. But holding the hands of the concertmaster girl, it was José’s watchful action and leading force which emptied the stage in the right moment before they would have been stayed there for hours. It’s worth writing more about the concert in the chronological order of the program.
The first part of the concert started with Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. At José Cura’s first entrance seeing and hearing Tonio’s generous and communicative baritone story telling in the Prologue of Pagliacci (“Si puň?... Si puň?…”) you already felt that he was going to delight us with exceptional vocal performance. During his dazzling and warm aria he greeted and jovially shook hands with some lucky spectators as he walked toward the stage from the tribune and explained the essence of true theatre. He also acted with his voice and face expressing fondness and irony toward us. Then he welcomed us with a healthy “Good Evening!” in Hungarian language. He immediately made a comment on our thunderous “Hungarian” applause which was “special, different, and acted like a punch!”
A cosy purple-coloured sofa and a small, decorative dressing-table with looking-glass and a chair stood in front of the orchestra on the right and left side of stage. I was convinced that Cura would use the latter prop for his next, great tenor solo. But José Cura threw himself into the sofa and rested there during the juicy and emphatic Intermezzo and put himself into the role of Canio, the hero of the same opera for whom the stage and life was not equal. Cura poured out the most dramatic rendition of “Recitar! .… Vesti la giubba …”. His performance not only boasted of his full-blooded, soaring voice but it also incarnated the deep pain, loneliness and tears of Canio’s injured soul. Our extended applause indicated our acknowledgement and then we addressed it also to Andrea Rost when she stepped to the stage for a lighter encounter. She acted Nedda’s flying aria (”Qual fiamma ….”) in a beautifully constructed, soft but vivid style and with a voice of great stamina. It told us how much she was enjoying this role that she just recently had built into her repertoire on the opera stage. After more applause, José Cura appeared on the podium, this time as a conductor for the Intermezzo of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. He lived in a very sensitive and natural symbiosis with the orchestra. He applied a pronouncedly slow tempo which was somehow unusual from him but soon it led to the accentuation of the creamy, rich sound of the strings and the attentive melodic expansion of a bitter love story that ended with Puccini’s the dissonant zenith. Huge applause granted the stage again!
Then, the utilization of the table with the mirror and the chair was revealed on the stage as Andrea Rost sang the “Jewel Song” from Gounod’s Faust. Andrea showed us her other side, her lighter, lyric and lustrous soprano of great virtuosity. She acted happily and flirtatiously with her voice and seduced herself by the necklace and her own imagination. You had to watch and admire her constantly, she moved a lot and almost danced on the stage and finally placed the brilliant jewel proudly around her neck. It was nice to imagine how well Marguerite’s role would suit her when she would do her debut in the Hungarian State Opera in this month. She deserved the long applause. Then we got a surprise when the young baritone, Daniel Foki, who won the audience’s award in the contest of the Hungarian classical music talent show “Virtuoso “. His other prize was the invitation of the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra to take part in this concert and he sang Figaro’s famous aria from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. Daniel won the audience over here too thanks to his pleasant timbre and courageous, energetic and joyful acting performance. Then we listened to Andrea Rost’s superb solo from Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur („Io son l'umile ancella …”). She beautifully shaped the aria in different way again adding elegance, humble melancholy and crystal clear, shining top notes to her haunting performance. To win the audience’s heart forever, José Cura’s ensuing Cavaradossi solo (“E lucevan le stelle”) was a good candidate. He fascinated us by his soft, dynamic and bitter vocalism and riveting passion as he underlined the melody and profound message of this great aria. We cheered him enthusiastically but the musicians left the stage for the intermission.
The entire second part of the concert was dedicated to Verdi and opened with a fiery Overture of La forza del destino. Cura controlled the musicians only with the subtle movements or little flashes of his hands and eyes, yet the orchestra flew under the baton of our smiling and pleased conductor. After our celebration he took the time to praise his partners and drew our attention to the great quality of the musicians of the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra. As he said to the audience: “Do you know that this orchestra is from Győr? It doesn’t come from New York, Berlin or Vienna, it is yours, remember!” We agreed with our amplified applause. Then we had the pleasure to enjoy more music from Verdi’s Otello.
José Cura offered all his heart for his two dramatic solo which represented the most dramatic moments of the character, the unstoppable falling of his power and the ending of his life. His “Dio! mi potevi scagliar ” was built up masterfully departing it from Otello’s total despair and soft, meditative mood. From this point until the arrival of his luminous, mad triumph of “Oh, Gioia!”, he demonstrated his charismatic psychoanalytical portrayal of the Moor with the colours of his voice and its unsparing power, emotion and passion. Andrea Rost followed him as Desdemona in her appealing prayer at her deathbed (“Ave Maria ..”) before the arrival of Otello. In Otello’s last solo (“Niun mi tema”) Cura delineated the immerse pain and last moment of the character with such a credibility that we saw real tears of love and self-accusation in his eyes as he realized the loss of his Desdemona during his touching farewell from his life. He was almost weightless when he slowly left the stage and we were still in silence when the last notes of the orchestra faded. Our gradually erupting applause indicated that this dramatic Otello section represented one of the zeniths of the concert. We could rest during the beautiful Overture of Nabucco played by the orchestra under Kálmán Berkes’s firm and emphatic hands.
As the last number of the official program, we received a long piece (“Oh, qual pallor” – Addio!”) from La Traviata, where all the four phases of the lovers’ sudden encounter were remarkable rendered. I loved every colour and inch of Cura’s light-hearted Alfredo as he just acted with the brightness and playfulness of his timbre and ardent, supple voice in expressing his unrestrained happy moments of love in the solos and duets with Andrea Rost’s opulent Violetta. The first, brilliant impetus of the orchestra twanged a joyful, happy feeling in our soul and helped us to imagine the atmosphere of the “Ball” on the stage. Alfredo immediately started his wooing while Violetta was running away from him until the point when they both collapsed into the comfort of the big sofa. There we enjoyed Alfredo’s dare body language and caressing, amorous lines (“Un dě felice…”) in his sweet and busy declaration of love. Violetta’s ringing trills and flirty smiles answered to him diligently without giving any serious commitment or kiss to our tenor. Light pianos equipped with thrilling vocal decorations closed this part of their duet. Then after more dancing with the music they started this game again playing with Violetta’s flower (“Amor dunque ..”) which offered new hopes to Alfredo (“Quando?”). José's voice swelled with infinite happiness, he barely could control himself and it was he who said goodbye to the girl in the hope of the next day with a meaningful “Addio!”. We were ready to produce our never ending clapping, but the orchestra continued the music and some moments later we were delighted by Violetta’s sensitive and joyful aria (“Č strano!”). Andrea showed thousands of faces of Violetta in her impassioned solo. The best of her beautiful singing voice belonged to her pitch-perfect and richly adorned highest notes. José’s powerful tenor joined to her (“Amore, amor č palpito..”) from the rear rows of the orchestra with unspeakable joy. Long minutes of frenetic applause, laughing, whistles of joy, and many bravos arrived to the stage for their really electrifying and virtuoso performance and common sense of humour.
Then all the rules were broken and we were entertained by the encores lasting for almost thirty minutes including ten minutes of crazy applause and celebration. José was completely relaxed here and tested Andrea’s courage with his guitar and finesse to persuade her singing “Yesterday”, one of the greatest song of the Beatles in a duet. With an irresistible charming smile he even pulled a paper with the text out of his pocket and set her down to the chair very politely. Then he joked with the strength of “pálinka”, the position of the microphone and the shape of the guitar. After some preparation he finally managed to sit next to Andrea on the podium and started to play the guitar. They created wonderful moments as Andrea’s light soprano blended with José’s dark, soft and silky timbre and the guitar. What a nice picture was when Kálmán Berkes was resting on the sofa watching and listening to his guests in a pleased, happy mood while the orchestra accompanied them gently. Of course, they couldn’t escape from our ovation. The next encore was owned by Andrea and she surprised us with the second, but very irregular performance of the “Jewel song” from Faust. Now Jose sat astride the chair and watched Andrea, who was racing up and down on the stage and sang her aria exclusively to him in a tireless, flirting mood so José starred her in growing astonishment like a dreamy teenager. Then he laughingly told us that this whole scene was an absolute improvisation, he didn’t even know what aria Andrea was going to sing. By that time the whole auditorium was in the state of continuous laughing. Then Jose compared his situation to Frank Sinatra’s relationship with his legendary song (New York, New York), that as a tenor he couldn’t finish the concert without singing “Nessun dorma ..”. He turned to Andrea and commanded her into the chair again with a big flash in his eyes: “Here comes my revenge!” So we were spoiled by his unique aria and he performed it like a true confession of love to Andrea caressing and courting her with Calaf’s words. He finished it producing soaring and free high notes at the end holding it for ages. Of course, the Arena exploded giving new and more waves to the audience’s exalted joy.
Soon José gathered everybody on the stage and addressed nice words to the young upcoming singer, Daniel Foki and asked us to join to the refrain of “Brindisi” from La Traviata. During this common music making we again reached the climax of high spirits seeing them together as José refilled the glasses, drank a toast to the stage, flirted with Andrea, etc. Finally his high-spirited mood ran away with him thus he launched the beautiful, closing top note of the aria alone without Andrea’s arrival. She did the same regardless of him too just a moment later. During this finale we were laughing till the tears came and they just surrendered themselves with unrestrained titter to our wild celebration and love. During the last phase of our rhythmic and thunderous applause José finally waved goodbye to us and nicely hastened the orchestra to left the stage and the concert ended. We wish that José Cura and Andrea Rost will take part together in a concert again in the future.
We are also glad and really excited knowing that José Cura will return to the Audi Arena of Győr next year for a concert too, this time for conducting Verdi’s Otello with the participation of the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra and young international singers on the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. It will be a real pleasure, since this is the opera which he experiences and knows the best from inside being one of the greatest Moors of our days on the stage for almost two decades now.
Last Updated: Sunday, April 17, 2016 © Copyright: Kira