Bravo Cura

Celebrating José Cura--Singer, Conductor, Director

 

 

 

Operas:  Otello

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[Otello Liege CC and BS]

Otello in Liège

 

Otello, Liège, June 2017:  “It was not for the staging that we made the trip but for the title role, here embodied by the famous Argentine tenor José Cura, also heard at the beginning of the season in Turandot.  We cannot forget, as the curtain came down, the exemplary nuances of the whispered death.  And with the exception of a curiously negotiated “Exultate!” Cura displayed the vocal form that has not been heard from him since the time of early splendor (i.e., in the early 2000s when we heard him in the same part in Barcelona’s Liceu), and thus he remains one of the most idiomatic interpreters of the role today—and to speak frankly, and immense Otello, even more so Jonas Kaufmann did not seem to have fully convinced at ROH….” Opera Online, June 2017

 

Otello, Liège, June 2017:  “With all the recent excited anticipation of the role debut of a certain German tenor in London, it was still a revelation to hear once again José Cura in this most demanding of Verdi roles, which he has been singing for twenty years. He is a singer who has never been content to rely on a safe number of familiar parts, and this year alone he has sung Tannhäuser in French, and produced, designed and taken the lead in Peter Grimes. The psychological and vocal demand of the latter came to mind when he sang “Già la pleiade ardente in mar discende”. In Shakespeare's original, Othello says “for that I am declined into the vale of years,” and Cura, with his leonine mane of grey hair and grizzled beard, looked every inch the mature military leader, commanding of stature and profile.  At the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège, Cura's powerful spinto tenor immediately impressed with his opening “Esultate!” and left no doubt as to his authority in his masterful delivery of “Abbasso le spade!” in his quelling of the drunken Act 1 riot. With his years of experience, less becomes more. The waywardness of pitch and rhythm of earlier days are gone, and his sable dark resonant lower voice brought both exotic otherness and passion to the love duet. As Iago's poison took hold, Cura's imperious dignity and self-possession crumbled with lightning flashes of rage in his eyes. Encompassing dynamic vocal extremes, his subtle inwardness from “Ora e per sempre addio” and a grave sotto voce, almost muffled “Dio! mi potevi scagliar” through to a nobly pathetic “Niun mi tema” this was the tragic fall of a flawed hero on a Shakespearean scale.  The compelling strengths of Cura and the ensemble made for a moving evening, more so than the recent stellar event in London.“  Bachtrack, 30 June 2017

 

Otello, Liège, June 2017:  “Committed body and soul, capable of facing bravely this role feared by all tenors, José Cura creates a large-scale Otello with a strong force of conviction.  The singing does not reach a high level of refinement but the timbre displays a beautiful consistency while the voice, very strong, is powerfully projected.” ConcertoNet, 25 June 2017

 

Otello, Liège, June 2017:  From the moment Otello bursts onto the scene, he captures it and becomes the undisputed winner. José Cura returns to assume the role of Verdi's Otello with the maturity of middle age, giving an intense and painful interpretation, one which he is able to easily alternate between power of expression and delicate inner turmoil.”  GDM, June 2017

 

Otello, Liège, June 2017: “After a somewhat wayward start (a few lags between stage and pit), the first act went well with a correct love duet… [Act II offered a] final duet that electrified the room. The third act saw the triumph of José Cura’s Otello, a real beast on stage. His furious dialogues with Iago and then the famous monolog “Dio! Mi potevi scagliar” were offered by a great dramatic artist. In the fourth act, wounded, bruised like a wild beast, Cura delivered a moving “Niun mi tema.” Crescendo, 16 June 2017


Otello, Liège, June 2017: “The Argentine tenor José Cura explores his part with burning vigor and a profusion of colors. His “Abbasso le spade!” in which he proclaims his authority contrasts completely with his duet with Desdemona which closes the first act. He perfectly disseminates his perception of the volatility of happiness when he says he wants to die in the ecstasy of his partner’s embrace. His “Già nella notte densa” overflows with tenderness. Would the gods be jealous of this pure happiness?” Senior Magazine, June 2017

 

Cloak-and-Dagger Otello

DerOpernFreund

Jochen Rüth

06/21/2017

In the past, the Royal Opera house of Wallonia in Liège has always succeeded in bringing opera to the stage in traditional costumes, demonstrating that this approach is neither boring nor old-fashioned. In Verdi's late masterpiece "Otello", however, this was unfortunately not the case.

Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera tells the story in such a dusty way that one can almost imagine yawning. It can be argued that there is nothing wrong with offering a psychologically complex piece without interpretation, and the columns, palm trees and wood throne, placed on stage by Carlo Sala and assisted with the versatile and detailed costumes by Fernand would be at home in any world premiere. If, however, even during the most important moments, Iago’s “Credo,” for example, the rest of the stage is filled with extras and the children's choir hopping around so that unnecessary activities distract from the essential one, then all that remains is a superficial picture rather than  a structured dramatic narrative.

A hundred years ago one might have expected an Otello with fencing duels and the title character striding around in a long flowing mantle but today it all seemed a little bit too simplistic for this subject.  It also didn’t help that Mazzonis di Pralafera also used the pseudo-symbolism of the followers of Regietheater. That the protagonists are pushed on stage on carts or that Iago is stabbed in the back by Cassio in the final act to reflect the movements of the dying Otello remained as ineffective as the single ship and fish in the inescapable aquarium seen in the first two acts (during the interval, there were wagers on whether Desdemona would be drowned in it)—images without connection to a concept.

Similarly, Paolo Arrivabeni presented Verdi’s sophisticated score with little depth.  Before this I have gotten to know the native Italian as a passionate interpreter of the Italian repertoire; yesterday, however, he was able to expose the force of Verdi’s Otello only to some extent, showing a rather uninspired conducting full of unsteady applications and best only in the quite passages of the work.

And so on to the singers.  Most persuasive of all was the star tenor, José Cura, in the title role. The Argentine showed he is still at home in the royal class of tenors more than 20 years from his debut.  If his "Esultate" seemed a bit forced, he improved from scene to scene, vocally and theatrically convincing as the insanely jealous husband and broken man who is Otello at the end.  He was strongest when he relied not only on mere power but when transporting gentle, deep feelings across the orchestra pit, producing, for example, goose bumps in the final scene.

The audience was very enthusiastic about the singers’ performances. 

 

 

 

Otello Liège Rehearsals Start

 

And it's time for the last great opera of the 2016/2017 season: the rehearsal of Verdi's Otello has begun!

The Opera, one of the last of the composer, will be presented from 16 to 29 June at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège, under the musical direction of Maestro Paolo Arrivabeni, in a staging by Stefano Mazzonis Di Pralafera .

The role of Otello, considered one of the most demanding in the inventory, will be interpreted by José Cura (official);  he will be joined by Cinzia Forte, Pierre-Yves Pruvot-Baryton, Giulio Pelligra, alexise yerna, Roger Joakim, Papuna Tchuradze, Patrick Delcour.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Otello Liège Constructing the Sets

 

Let's go for the last opera of the season 2016-2017: Installation of sets of Otello has well and truly started!

"Otello" (Verdi), from 16 to 29 June at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège under the musical direction of Paolo Arrivabeni in a staging by Stefano Mazzonis Di Pralafera with José Cura, Cinzia Forte, Pierre-Yves Pruvot-Baryton, Giulio Pelligra, Alexise Yerna, Roger Joakim, Papuna Tchuradze, Patrick Delcour, Marc Tissons

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Otello Liège Open Rehearsal 

9 June

 


 

 

Otello Broadcast

27 June

 

http://www.operaliege.be/fr/activites/otello-live-web

 

Broadcast date:  Tuesday, 27/06/2017

Live Broadcast on Culturebox


Opéra Royal de Wallonie, in association with the production company Jim et Jules, RTBF and France Télévisions, offers a live broadcast on Culturebox, on medici.tv and on RTBF.
 

 


 

 

Otello Rehearsals in Liège

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Otello Broadcast

27 June

 

http://www.operaliege.be/fr/activites/otello-live-web

 

Broadcast date:  Tuesday, 27/06/2017

Live Broadcast on Culturebox


Opéra Royal de Wallonie, in association with the production company Jim et Jules, RTBF and France Télévisions, offers a live broadcast on Culturebox, on medici.tv and on RTBF.
 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tragic Dignity and Pathos from José Cura as Otello in Liège

BachTrack

John Johnston

30 June 2017

 

With all the recent excited anticipation of the role debut of a certain German tenor in London, it was still a revelation to hear once again José Cura in this most demanding of Verdi roles, which he has been singing for twenty years. He is a singer who has never been content to rely on a safe number of familiar parts, and this year alone he has sung Tannhäuser in French, and produced, designed and taken the lead in Peter Grimes. The psychological and vocal demand of the latter came to mind when he sang “Già la pleiade ardente in mar discende”. In Shakespeare's original, Othello says “for that I am declined into the vale of years,” and Cura, with his leonine mane of grey hair and grizzled beard, looked every inch the mature military leader, commanding of stature and profile.

At the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège, Cura's powerful spinto tenor immediately impressed with his opening “Esultate!” and left no doubt as to his authority in his masterful delivery of “Abbasso le spade!” in his quelling of the drunken Act 1 riot. With his years of experience, less becomes more. The waywardness of pitch and rhythm of earlier days are gone, and his sable dark resonant lower voice brought both exotic otherness and passion to the love duet. As Iago's poison took hold, Cura's imperious dignity and self-possession crumbled with lightning flashes of rage in his eyes. Encompassing dynamic vocal extremes, his subtle inwardness from “Ora e per sempre addio” and a grave sotto voce, almost muffled “Dio! mi potevi scagliar” through to a nobly pathetic “Niun mi tema” this was the tragic fall of a flawed hero on a Shakespearean scale.

As his nemesis Iago, French baritone Pierre-Yves Pruvot reminded one that his compatriot, Victor Maurel, created both Iago and Falstaff. Outwardly bluff and jovial as “Onesto Jago” he manipulated the plot with his warmly ripe baritone by watchfulness and insinuation instead of villainous posturing. He was especially insidious and lubricious recounting Cassio's 'dream', and his vocal reserves enable a forceful Credo, coloured by blank negativity and dismissed by laughter, rather than raucousness.

As Desdemona, Cinzia Forte was cast traditionally as a chaste, almost angelic heroine. With her slightly tremulous lyric soprano she could not ride the Act 3 ensemble and was at her best in the more tender and vulnerable moments such as “Guarda le prime lagrime”, and her plangently sung Willow Song and finely phrased Ave Maria. Giulio Pelligra was a more forthright Cassio than some, making his succession to Otello as Governor of Cyprus more plausible. Other roles were well taken by the house ensemble, with an assertive Emilia from Alexise Yerna.

The production was originally mounted in 2011 by the Artistic and General Director, Stefano Mazzonis de Pralafera, in sets by Carla Sala and handsome Renaissance costumes by Fernand Ruiz. It is conservatively traditional, other than a fondness for overcrowding the stage with props and extras. The set was a simple arrangement of columns and drapery with various scenic elements slid on and off by visible stagehands, allowing for fluid open set changes between acts. The main directorial interventions were two paid minions of Iago who distractingly wheeled Desdemona and Cassio around on small platforms as he manipulated them. Cassio, however, had his comeback, stabbing Iago in the back during Otello's final “un bacio ancora”, ending with an additional corpse on the marital bed.

The evening served as the last performance of Paolo Arrivabeni as Music Director after ten years. The Director General made a short speech in appreciation after the interval. Arrivabeni secured tight ensemble in an often brisk performance, only lacking real rhythmic incisiveness and a sense of melancholy grandeur. His tenure has clearly led to fine orchestral playing and enthusiastic choral participation.

Despite some clumsiness in the staging, the compelling strengths of Cura and the ensemble made for a moving evening, more so than the recent stellar event in London.

 

 

Otello, Liege, Act I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Act II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated:  Sunday, August 27, 2017  © Copyright: Kira