Monday, 22 March 2010

Sweet-sour from Zurich: Jose Cura triumphs as Rodolfo in La Boheme

March 20, 2010
Mini-review: Adriana Damato comes into the right Mimi in scene 3+4. Jose Cura is convincing as Rodolfo all the time. So it is sweet and sour.

Travel: I did not expect to fly to Oslo but after looking at the many closed roads I decided to do that. So I had to have a hotel room near the airport, Radisson Blu. It was great. The room was great, the bed and it even had a bath-tub. I did not bath, but the bathroom was also great. My bed was wonderful.

Flight: Soon it was breakfast time. And time for my flight with KLM via Amsterdam to Zurich. I enjoyed my flight to Amsterdam and liked Schiphol airport. The gate personnel seemed to be uninterested in the getting the people boarded in the plane. They just chatted with each other when we were already standing in line for boarding since the monitor was blinking in read letters BOARDING. No information that it will take some more minutes and they did not even look out at the plane. It was rude. And naturally my mood was not a happy mood when we finally was boarded. The people on the plane was nice but it did not really make me in a KLM-friendly mood.

Food and drink was served on both flights. That was good. After 5,5 hours travel with Schiphol airport included, finally in Zurich Airport 1530. There I noticed that my hotel in Zurich was not so ideal so I tried to use on my mobile and it looked great until I tried to book my hotel. So then I phoned HRS and got a storno on the other hotel and booked Hotel Europe. Hotel Europe was perfect even though my room only had a shower and no bathtub, but more important was that it is close to the opera house. I took the train to Zurich HB, and then tram to the Opera House.

Hotel: 1700 and I was in my hotel room. Already I had a blister. Shoes are important and I must have chosen the wrong ones. I relaxed a bit and listened to my IPOD. Since I had not listened to South Pacific with Jose Carreras and Kiri Te Kanawa in 3 months that was up in my playing list called All not just 3 months. When Finale Ultimo was started to play I suddenly thought I have to eat and it was just 1 hr until opera time. I found an Asian food restaurant near Stadelhofen train station. Then I ordered and got my Poulet Süss-Sauer, it was the most delicious chicken meat, wonderful rice and the sauce was really more sour than sweet, the pineapple bits was the sweet taste. But it was too much for me even though it looked still as it was calling my name.

Opera: Lots of JCx friends there. It did not look as it was many of us in the beginning but then I started to see friends all over the house. I was not sure if I would enjoy this production but I really. It was a modern La Boheme but not in a way that would make the story improbable. Jose Cura as Rodolfo was laying on a sofa. He looked larger than life and when Gabriel Bermudez came in, he too looked larger than life. But I was on row 2 so maybe that why all looked so big. Still Jose Cura and Gabriel Bermudez are both muscle men. Andreas Hörl was Colline. He is a tall man with a sweet bass voice. Cheyne Davidson was a solid Schaunard.

Then came the disappointment. Adriana Damato, who I last saw as a perfect Lina in Verdi's Stiffelio, came in as a too solid Mimi. Not only was her Mimi to solid and healthy looking (or even heavy) but her acting was like wood and not the kind Puccini needs. Her singing was good but she really needs to get her acting skills in order. It also should not be obvious to the viewers the strain singing gives. After the very realistic acting from the boys suddenly old-school opera. Jose Cura created the magic with his singing and reacting to his Mimi and of course Adriana Damato rose to her best with him.
Highlights: The duet Questo mar rosso (Cura/Bermudez), Che gelida manina (Jose Cura) and O soave fanciulla (Cura/Damato). Adriana Damato's singing Mimi's aria was great and not so great at the same time.

Scene 2: Now, finally Adriana Damato is Mimi as good as anyone. Christine Kohl is Musetta and sings her aria with flair. I liked the staging of the scene, unconventional but it works. This production really works.

Highlight: Quando me'n vo (Christine Kohl)

Scene 3: Again the production worked it magic. Adriana Damato, Gabriel Bermudez, Jose Cura, Christine Kohl makes this a musical highlight. Acting and singing is great.

Highlights: duets and quartet

Scene 4: Loved it. I was worried that Adriana Damato would not be acting well, but she was superb. Jose Cura was so immersed in his character that he had a hard time trying to smile at the curtain call, he had really experienced Mimi's death as reality.

Highlight: Adriana Damato's and Jose Cura's duet Sono andati. Normally Colline's aria Vecchio zimarra is a highlight but it was not so for me.

It was a great role debut for both Jose Cura and Gabriel Bermudez as Rodolfo and Marcello. It was worth going to Zurich. Jose Cura was fantastic as Rodolfo. In the end I must say I was not too happy with the conductor, Massimo Zanetti. He had a reading of Che gelida manina that was really slow, I think.

After the performance we all went to the backstage and waited. When Jose Cura came he sat down so that we could take photo, talk to him and get autographs. It took a long time for Cura till he finally could get out and have his dinner. I also got my night food, this time from McDonald's.

Hotel / Flight: Another night with light sleep. Up 0630. 0712 S16 to Airport from Stadelhofen train station (5 minutes walk from the hotel). Then I had my breakfast at McDonald's in the Airport, this time chicken burger. KLM this time too. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is OK, better gate personnel this time. First flight 1010 and landed in Oslo 1540. 50 minutes flight home. Then the airport bus and a walk so I was home 1900. Tired.


5 new photos of Jose Cura. More Cura photos:

For more reviews from my travels, see

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