Bravo Cura

Celebrating José Cura--Singer, Conductor, Director

 

 

 

Operas: Otello in Ljubljana

July 2016

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Summer Festival

Ljubljana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Otello by Giuseppe Verdi at the Ljubljana Festival: the triumph of José Cura

[Excerpts / computer translation]

In the varied program of the Ljubljana Festival, it cannot be missed that the opera of choice this year fell to the Otello by Giuseppe Verid, one of the masterpieces of opera…with staging by Manfred Schweigkofler.

The South Tyrolean director does not seek any particular interpretation of the text and without a doubt the protagonist of the story is, as usual, Iago.  An Iago who, as we know, reduces Otello to a puppet with his intrigues, pushed him to the terrible femicide of Desdmona, and in this case open and closes the work with his presence on the stage.  Mission accomplished.

Schweigkofler sets the drama in a timeless space which captures historical references (the banners depicting the Lion of St. Mark, for example, the gothic atmospheres of Tim Burton and manga-inspired influences.

The set design, by Walter Schütze, consists of an imposing structure that rotates on the large stage and turns from time to time – thanks to the remarkable lighting system by Andrej Hajdinjak, giving three dimensions to the show – in the different environments in which the plot unfolds.  From my point of view the costumes of Mateja Benedetti – especially those worn by the women, just a step from the kitsch – are not particularly successful, but definitely are consistent to the idea direction.  Evocative and exciting the short fourth Act, with Desdemona’s white bed immersed in the darkness from which Othello will appear.

[,,,]

The attraction of the evening was, of course, the guest star José Cura as the Moor.  All the other singers were resident artists of the theater.

Cura is one of the plausible current interpreters of Otello, not only for the actor’s charisma and acting abilities but also for his vocal qualities. 

Despite an occasionally forced high note the sound of the voice runs well in the theater, his breathing technique allows him to hold the swings and weaving of the part and the central register is still flourishing.

Besides that, he has complete mastery of the part and his Otello is played with the phrasing that places the performance in the tradition that favors the psychological excavation of Jon Vickers to the more outward, muscular voice of Del Monaco.  Cura excels in making his protagonist’s descent into hell both effective and credible and the final Nium mi tema proved incisive and poignant, with the aria embellished with a sense of exhausted defeat that emotionally involved the audience. 

The large and sympathetic audience paid tribute to the show as a great success and the entire company was kept on the stage for a quarter of an hour, decreeing individual and real triumph for José Cura….

 

 

 

 

 

José Cura:  “You cannot be an opera singer if you can only sing”

Note:  this is a computer-generated translation and should not be considered definitive.  It is offered to provide a general idea of the conversation.  José Cura uses words with precision and expresses complex ideas with creative imagery.  The computer translator does neither.

 

I would not want to work with this incredibly outstanding orchestra if they had not felt my emotions, says the famous Argentinean tenor, who will be Otello tonight in Ljubljana.

Argentinian tenor José Cura appeared at the Ljubljana Festival several years ago with an evening of opera arias but this year he will present the role that has made him one of the most praised modern opera singer, the Otello of Verdi.

The singer, who is known for his intense and original interpretations of operatic character, told me some time ago that Otello was a hero who had become nothing, falling apart in bits of pieces of nothing.  In a conversation before this visit to Ljubljana he added:

“This is pretty simple to explain, namely what has changed in my life:  when I started singing Otello twenty years ago I had to paint my hair to make myself look older but now I have to occasionally darken it so I don’t look as old as I am.   

It is one thing to be young and pretend to know how to think and feel fifty, like Otello, but it something else to really be fifty years old or more and have the answer at hand.  This is of course also a parable about how your role is developing in your mind:  no matter how many times you go on as Otello, your understanding is always different because you are always discovering new colors and you are looking for, and sometimes finds, new meanings.  This role is simply fascinating.  


This is of course also a parable about how the application is developed in your mind: no matter how many times you went on as Otello is your understanding always different, because it keeps discovering new shades and you're looking for, and sometimes also vrtaš for new means. This role is simply fascinating."

 

 

Video Snippets

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Last Updated:  Friday, July 29, 2016  © Copyright: Kira