Bravo Cura

Celebrating José Cura--Singer, Conductor, Director

 

 

 

Operas:  Il corsaro

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Performed once in staged production and twice in concert format

 

Il corsaro, Turin, March 1996:  On this occasion, José Cura (considered in some quarters as the new tenor hope) in the title role showed - as in all my encounters thus far - a sympathetic presence and an intrinsically interesting voice in need of further training.’  Joel Kasow, CultureKiosque, March 1996

Il corsaro, Turin, March 1996:  ‘The Argentine tenor possesses a special voice, one decidedly out-of-the-ordinary.  It is a voice that has a particular timbre: male, fiery, with sensual variagations. It has a dark center but brightens as it climbs. It is not large but big enough to meet the requirements of the score; however, his youth and freshness can be a means of hiding the limits of his technique, one which can be defined as somewhat personal rather than to say questionable...In addition, the Corsair in Turin possesses the physque of the role. As a captive, tied to the trunk of a large tree, naked from the waist up, with a powerful and authletic body, appropriately lit, this crucial scene is stunning.  He has the allure of a film star and provides the answer to the requirement for an image that has become urgent in today’s opera. As an actor he has instinct, credibility, and charm. But the young Cura has another card to play:  he hasd the momentum, the impetuousness, and the boldness that Corado demands.  He has all the elements needed to express the iconoclastic anger that is the distinctive characteristic of the Byronic hero, so imbued with the spirit of the romantic.’  Giancarlo Landini, OperaClick

Il corsaro, London June 1996:  'Cura with a properly Byronic mixture of energy and sensitivity. The beautiful dungeon scene, an oasis of calm amid all the swagger, went especially well-it is always good to hear tenor singing softly and sweetly.'   Rodney Milnes, The Times

Il corsaro, Barcelona, February 2005:  ‘The Verdi master Carlo Bergonzi found shattered gold in the role based of elegance, sense of phrasing and control of the Verdi style.  Cura opts for a different approach, one more direct and visceral, one taking advantage of the strength of his voice with its resounding center, its dark color, its attractiveness, its great dramatic appeal. A straightforward Corrado, thrilling without filigrees, greatly applauded by the public.’ Javier Pérez Senz, Il Pais, February 2005 

Il corsaro, Barcelona, February 2005:  ‘Last Monday was the first performance of Verdi’s opera “Il corsaro”, and also the official debut of the great Argentinian tenor José Cura, who sang the role with energy and power, completing his first aria with enormous effectiveness. Cura’s performance grew in quality through the rest of the opera: the duo with Medora and the prison aria kept the Liceu audience totally satisfied, because this tenor performs  with all the requirements of a Verdian opera of the “primitive” type, such as “Corsaro”: energy, emotional intensity and security.’  Roger Alier ,La Vanguardia,  2 February 2005

Il corsaro, Barcelona, February 2005: ‘Not even the stellar presence of José Cura prevented the numerous holes found in this type of [concert] staging.  The charisma and vocal presence of the Argentine tenor are beyond doubt but the concert provided evidence of technical limitations (unorthodox attacks, high note problems, sudden ending of sentences) and a style of singing much more comfortable in declamation than in careful phrasing.  Still, in the jail scene, the most interesting snippet in the work, Cura managed a dramatic internalization that was more than remarkable.’  Xavier Cester, Avui, 2 February 2005

Il corsaro, Barcelona, February 2005:  ‘José Cura, the star of the night, was comfortable in those passages where he was able to convert to the heroic voice with his explosive personal style. He sang his part in accordance with his musicality and temperament, with his trademark vision which can thrill and which, if lacking in the obvious tradition of belcanto, replaces the loss with an outpouring of high notes and glimpses of ornamentation.’  Pablo Meléndez -Haddad, ABC, February 2005

Il corsaro, Barcelona, February 2005: The protagonist was the tenor José Cura, who sang his role with skill, teaching with his voice the beautiful colors of a lírico-spinto, the voice required for a hero who has to alternate between fierceness and tenderness.’  Nino Dentici, Opera, 31 January 2005

Il corsaro, Barcelona, February 2005: ‘In the production at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, where regrettably the work was not staged, the vocal cast did justice to the score.  In the starring role of the Corsair, we had the pleasure of enjoying the powerful voice of José Cura, who made a good beginning with his cavatina and offered a vigorous and energetic performance of the character.  To his intense vocal performance he delivered theatrical expressivity, which compensated somewhat for his sometimes malleable phrasing.  His success was overwhelming.’  Ovidi Cobacho Closa, Crítica musical catalane, February 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

José Cura, the Corsair 

 Pablo Meléndez -Haddad

José Cura, the star of the night, was comfortable in those passages where he was able to convert to the heroic voice with his explosive personal style. He sang his part in accordance with his musicality and temperament, with his trademark vision which can thrill and which, if lacking in the obvious tradition of belcanto, replaces the loss with an outpouring of high notes and glimpses of ornamentation.

 

 

 

Not sooner than in 157 years

Javier Pérez Senz

They put this opera on from from time to time, whenever a famous tenor is eager to show his ability to give life to Corrado, the main corsair.  And José Cura, the principle draw in the concert version of Il Corsaro at the Liceu, was eager to show his voice and dramatic temperament. He even kept our souls in tenterhooks during the evening with his glasses: now I put them on while the choir is singing; now I leave them on while I am singing; now I take them off as I am not singing; now I put them into their box.

The Verdi master Carlo Bergonzi found shattered gold in the role based of elegance, sense of phrasing and control of the Verdi style.  Cura opts for a different approach, one more direct and visceral, one taking advantage of the strength of his voice with its resounding center, its dark color, its attractiveness, the great dramatic appeal. A straightforward Corrado, thrilling without filigrees, greatly applauded by the public.

 

 

 

EL CULTURAL                        

 José Cura

 “The routine in the life of a singer turns out to be traumatic.”

 

The Argentinian tenor José Cura (Rosario 1962) will play the leading role in Il Corsaro by Verdi in Liceu on Monday, 31 January. He will return here next year with Otello. The singer talks with El Cultural about his relationship with el Real and his career as a conductor.

After winning Operalia in 1994, his arrival in the world of singing was something of an event, “Something that was formed as part of the marketing machinery and something you cannot control. Someone is in fashion, then time passes and one gets to the same level or even better. Then came Alagna, they got tired of him and moved to the other. Now it is Floréz’ turn, but he will pass as well and then it will be the turn of somebody new.” Since then he has been concentrating on being “a good singer” because “once all the artificial fireworks pass away, they will see you as “a serious and respected artist.” He has become one of the most famous dramatic tenors of his generation. He is able to absorb all his talents and combine his singing career with conducting, “a time when my voice rests and vice versa, which is very important. These are vocations that can be done in parallel.”

EL:  It is hard to be taken seriously as a conductor being a singer, yet the same doesn’t apply to a pianist or violinist.

 JC:  These are the prejudices of the past. Throughout history, with rare exceptions, the singer was the person who was known for his voice and that was that.  If by any chance he understood what was going on in the pit, it was better. If he didn’t, nothing happened. This is less common now, as the singers are more prepared.

EL:  Does conducting help you to escape from sometimes-terrible routine of a singer?

JC:  Without doubt. I try not to sing as many performances as I used to do. With nearly one hundred singing dates a year, it ended up being traumatic. And not just from the physical point of view—as an artist you end up entering the stage saying, “Uf, not again!”  Now I do about 50 dates. The voice is infinitely grateful. Also, conducting is the way to plan for the day when I decide to retire from singing.

EL:  The boom of the voices from Latin America, is it a pure coincidence or are you a special special race?

JC:  The condition of life in America is very different from those in Europe. To become a serious musician (in America), you must invest at least ten or fifteen years of your life before you are able to say now I reached maturity, now I have the authority to be well regarded. How many young people in Europe are willing to invest so much time? There are times in life that you need the strength, the healthy rage that comes from despair. That is why so many singers come from there or from the former Soviet Union. They know they have to fight--if they don’t, they won’t eat.

EL:  You bring spectacle to the opera. Is it what the theatre lovers want?

JC: If I look at the success that I have had, I have to say, yes, but I know there are people who don’t like the way in which I approach my characters. Just like many of the public, I like to see a passionate and devoted artist.  If I have to listen to an excellent interpretation sung without heart I prefer to stay at home and listen to a CD.

EL:   Is that the reason why you prefer live recordings?

JC:  Live recordings are necessary for economical reasons, because they are so much cheaper. On the other hand, to be an “animal” on stage I prefer the risks a live performance brings.  Live, I can display all my potential for strength and charisma. If one is not the type of the artist who equates perfectionism with quality but with charisma, meaning and emotions, then in that case live recording is better for him.

EL:  You will return to Liceu with Otello, the warhorse of your repertoire.

JC:  Those who have seen my Otello understand what I want to transmit, with an original way of treating the voice and moving the body. My interpretation is based more on the theatrical message, more on Shakespeare not just on Verdi. In this sense I identify a lot with the Otello of Ramon Vinay, one that was not based on the beauty and infallibility of the voice but more on the message which gets through to us not with a beautiful timbre but through the creation of a distressed and terrible Otello.

EL:  You have already forgotten the incident of Real but you don’t sing there.

JC:  The first thing Sagi did after taking charge was to come to my house for lunch to see what we can do for my return. Until now, the right opportunity hasn’t turned up. I forgot about the incident within a few days, as soon as I learned that the motivation behind the attack were extraneous.

 Carlos Fortezza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated:  Thursday, September 17, 2015  © Copyright: Kira