- Audio CD (22 Sept. 1997)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Erato
- ASIN: B000005E5L
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,907 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Jose Cura - Puccini Arias - Cd
The Argentinian tenor José Cura took nine days in summer 1997 to record these 21 Puccini arias, which is about par considering there are rarely more than two in any opera. Counting Il Trittico (the trilogy of Il Tabarro, Gianni Schicchi and the all-female Suor Angelica) as one, all ten Puccini operas are represented. They follow in reverse order of composition starting with the unfinished Turandot of 1924 and finishing with the youthful Le Villi of 1884. The order enables the disc to begin with Cura's inspirational power-singing in "Nessun Dorma", where he manages to generate genuine lump-in-the-throat passion despite the unromantic recording venue of London's Air Studios. He is meltingly tender in caring-sharing Rodolfo's "Che gelida manina" in La Bohéme, heart-rendingly final in Pinkerton's insincere "Addio fiorito asil", and sobbingly distraught in Des Grieux's "Vedi son Io" where he whacks out a terrific speaker- rattling top C. Other tenors rely on the heroic quality of their voices to render them handsome, but not Cura as the centrefold in the entertaining booklet reveals. The Philharmonia, living up to its original function as a recording orchestra, is conducted unjealously by Cura's fellow Latin-American tenor Plácido Domingo. --Rick Jones
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Indeed, Cura's voice reminds some listeners of Del Monaco's, although he sounds to me like he might prove to be a more interesting and imaginative singer than Del Monaco (to me Del Monaco usually sang like a bull in a china shop, and I never found his occasional big moments enough to offset the frequently crude, insensitive phrasing and inability to sing at any dynamic level but loud or louder). Cura's singing here is gutsy and full-blooded, but he is also capable of sensitive phrasing and soft singing. His breath control is admirable and he is able to sustain some long phrases. His recording of Nessun dorma is stunning, one of the best I've heard, and the best performance on this CD. Unfortunately his high notes are not always this good; sometimes they are not cleanly attacked or well placed, and sound somewhat strained. The CD is well recorded (in 1997) and contains 21 Puccini arias, an unusually generous (71 minutes) and comprehensive collection that includes, besides all the standard ones you'd expect (and no less than five from Manon Lescaut), Gianni Schicchi, Il Tabarro (2), Edgar, and an extended scena from Le Villi.
On the strength of this CD I bought Cura's next two operatic recitals, Verismo Arias (1999) and Verdi Arias (2000), and I regret to report that I am less impressed with either of them than with this Puccini recital. But this disc can be confidently recommended.
for now (regrettably) there's only a puccini collection available with cura, but what a CD! it's one of the most comprehensive collections of puccini tenor arias in years, and includes (apart from the famous pieces from tosca, la boheme, manon lescaut, and yes, even nessun dorma :) ...) lesser known but gorgeous gems from gianni scicchi, il tabarro and others. incidentally, placido domingo is the conductor.
jose cura's voice ... ah, the voice. remember mario del monaco? cura reminds one of the young del monaco. it's a big voice, with immense power yet exceptional control. it's not as flexible and ringing as pavarotti's, not as sweet as domingo's, not romantic like carreras'. but it has qualities none of those guys have: the depth (yes, depth...for a tenor anyway), the passion, the delivery, the control. it's a huge voice,too.
there are elements of del monaco but also of franco corelli's delivery technique, bergonzi's control, tuckers's attack. staccati are remarkable for a dramatic / heroic tenor, legati flow with ease, power and musicality. no problems with the high c, either. rodolfo, kalaf, cavaradossi, des grieux: the top notes are safe and immensely powerful, almost triumphantly so.
this voice will be heard a lot in the future. as radames, vasco da gama, don jose, manrico, kalaf, samson, cura will be matchless for a long time.
maybe i'm a bit biased (not being a great fan of any of the three tenors in their present state of aging), but jose cura would have been a truly sensational newcomer even 10 or 20 years ago. by today's standards, he's outstanding and, at 36, destined to be the world's greatest tenor within a year or two (in my opinion, he already is - alagna, heppner, domingo notwithstanding).
watch out for new opera recordings with jose cura; they will be phenomenal.