- Performer: José Cura
- Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra
- Composer: Ruggiero Leoncavallo, Alfredo Catalani, Umberto Giordano, Francesco Cilea
- Audio CD (11 Oct. 1999)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Erato
- ASIN: B00000K2WD
- Other Editions: Audio CD | DVD Audio
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 174,442 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
José Cura - Verismo
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Cura,Jose ~ Verismo
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
With nothing but praise for this gorgeous recital, I'm sorry to report that Cura's promise seems unfulfilled eight years later. He hasn't made outstanding opera sets to date, although he has certainly made some glamorous DVDs. The voice has darkened further and the top notes aren't as secure. He doessn't express joy with his voice, which can make his portrayals rather somber. His dramatic flair seems subdued also. I don't keep up with every detail of Cura's career, but presently he seems overshadowed by Villazon, a much less powerful but equally artistic tenor. Let's hope the lull is only temporary.
What struck me most, however, were the vocal changes he rang with each aria. What a tired old man his Canio was, and what an exciting contrast to the stunningly youthful and exuberant Marcello! His Chenier made me wish that I had caught it onstage earlier this year (of course, there'll be plenty of time for that). This is an artist who can make me "see" his entire performance just from hearing it. There are not many singers capable of doing that for me.
I, too, have to take exception with Mr. Levine's characterization of Mr. Cura as ill-prepared. I have seen him a number of times and found him to be so utterly prepared that he is completely free on stage. And that's the best kind of Night at the Opera! As for the remarks about the top of his range in the recording of "Samson" -- excuse me -- were we listening to the same recording?
Thank goodness, though, there was no cavilling at this fine CD. Mr. Cura is assuredly THE artist to be reckoned with in the next century!
By no means would I call him the best, particularly in the past 30 years. That would be a gross mistake of discrediting many great artists who will forever hold their place in our hearts (e.g. chronologically, Wunderlich, Kraus, Bergonzi, Pavarotti, Domingo, Carreras). Not that he wants to be compared to the greats yet, modestly saying that he would need to have 30 years of singing to stake his claim. On stage he is exciting and convincing actor, even though he struts around a little too much which is generally expected from Hollywood pretty boys and not from opera singers who are supposed to show more class than that. Only ugly men would feel so bitter that they would critisize his good looks though. A singer should be pleasant to look at as much as to hear him or her sing. Granted, Happner or Margison have good voices, but by being, ahem, large, they are somewhat difficult to imagine as Calaf or Chenier. The case of "looks=stardom" is more applicable to Marcello Alvarez or, ironically, to Andrea Bocelli. Despite all the hype, you absolutely can't accuse Jose Cura of lack of musicality: he obviously gives serious effort to understand and interpret the works in his own unique way. He is not vulgar: unlike the celebrated golden age "screamers" he is able to sing in sotto voice and project nice pianissimos, although his instrument by its very nature would never allow for exquisite tender romantic moments that the Big Three, for example, are able to deliver.
Luckily, Jose Cura knows to stay clear of Donizetti or Bellini for now and focus on what he does best - verismo, the subject of this album. Yes, like many, I feel that he should have gotten an esteemed conductor for this album, thankfully there are still a few who would love to work on this rare under-explored material. On several selections the slow tempi proved difficult even for him to manage. The sobs and sighs have to go, in most cases the composer did not really intend them; often they are appropriate on the stage, but not on studio disc (the laughter in Vesti La Giubba excepted). Generally the program here consists of selections nearly impossible to find elsewhere. Thus, it is hard to compare the character study that Cura offers to others. Overall, this album is a welcome addition to a music library and must be appreciated.