Monday 24 December 2007

Happy Christmas and New Year
Jose Cura sings music from Misa Criolla and Nuestra Navidad in the Christmas Concert from Asissi

Wednesday 5 December 2007

Dec 5: Happy Birthday to Josep Carreras & Jose Cura

Photo is from the Jose Carreras Gala in Vienna 2004, February 27: I have replaced the original conductor David Gimenez with Jose Cura, Agnes Baltsa was Carmen, and Josep Carreras was Don Jose.

Happy Birthday to both tenors!!!

Josep Carreras (b. Barcelona, Spain 1946 December 5th),
JOSE CARRERAS occupies a privileged position in the music world. Born in Barcelona, he studied music in his hometown. In 1970 he started his professional career in the Gran Teatre del Liceu of Barcelona in NABUCCO and LUCREZIA BORGIA.

His meteoric musical career resulted in early debuts at the world's most prestigious opera theatres and festivals, including the Theatre alla Scala of Milan ; the New York Metropolitan Opera House; San Francisco Opera; the Vienna Staatsoper; London's Royal Opera House; the Oper of Munich; Chicago's Lyric Opera; and the Festivals of Salzburg; Aix en Provence; Edimburgh and Verona.

José Carreras has collaborated with the most renowned orchestra conductors including Herbert von Karajan (an artistic and personal relationship which lasted over twelve years and included performances
in Salzburg, Berlin and Vienna), Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Chailly, Colin Davis, Giuseppe Sinopoli, James Levine, Carlo Maria Giulini, Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Metha, and with pre-eminent stage directors such as: Franco Zeffirelli, Jean Pierre Ponnelle, Giorgio Strehler, Luigi Comencini and Harold Prince.

His repertoire includes over sixty operas and has performed for Television, Cinema and Video several operatic films. His extensive discography includes over 150 recordings, notably 50 complete operas, oratories, popular and classical recitals. He has been awarded with many Gold and Platinum Discs world-wide.

He has given frequent recitals in the world's most famous halls: Carnegie Hall and the Avery Fisher Hall in New York; the Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican Hall and the Royal Albert Hall in London; the Salle Pleyel in Paris, at the Musikverein and Konzerthaus of Vienna, the Berlin Philarmonie, Suntory Hall and NHK Hall in Tokyo, the Grosses Festspielhaus of Salzburg, the Philarmonie and the Hercules Saal in Munich, the Palau de la Música of Barcelona, the Teatro Real of Madrid, the Accademia Santa Cecilia of Rome.

Among the numerous national and international prizes and distinctions which have been bestowed upon José Carreras, there are an Emmy from the Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences of the United States; the Grand Prix du Disque from the Academy of Paris; the Luigi Illica Prize; a 1991 Grammy Award; the Sir Lawrence Olivier Award for his performance in "Stiffelio" at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Kammersänger and Lifetime Honorary Member of the Vienna Staatsoper; Honorary Member of the London Royal Academy of Music; he received the Gold Medal of the New York Spanish Institute; the Gold Medal of the City of Vienna ; the Gold Medal of Fine Arts bestowed by His Majesty the King of Spain; the Gold Medal of the City of Barcelona; the Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Catalunya; Prince of Asturias Award 1991; Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier dans l'Ordre de la Légion d'Honneur de la République Française; Gran Croce di Cavaliere and Grande Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana; Honour Medal of the Bavarian Government, Grand Honour Award of the Austrian Republic, Komandor's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Polish Republic, Commandeur de la Médaille du Sahametrei of the Royal Cambodian Government, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and The Albert Schweitzer Music Award 1996. Furthermore he is Honorary President of the Julian Gayarre International Singing Competition and Honorary President of the London Arts Orchestra.

He has also been awarded the title Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Barcelona (Spain), the Universities of Loughborough and Sheffield (United Kingdom), the University Mendeleyev of Moscow (Russia), the University of Camerino (Italy), the Napier University in Edinburgh (Scotland), the Rutgers University (United States), the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (Spain) and, most recently, the University of Coimbra (Portugal). He is Honorary Member of the European Society for Medicine, of the Leukaemia Support Group and the European Haematology Association. He is also Honorary Patron of the European Society for Medical Oncology. He has been awarded the Gold Medal of the Catalan Transplant Society, the Diamond Tulip Award of the Stichting Day by Day Foundation of the Netherlands, the St. Boniface General Hospital Research Foundation 1996 International Award and in February 2004 the Golden Cross of the Social Solidarity bestowed by Her Majesty the Queen of Spain.

José Cura,

Chapter 1

For music lovers, it is a rare treat to come across an original: an artist whose talent, vision, and integrity set him apart from the rest; a singer whose distinctive voice is instantly and indelibly lodged in one's memory; an actor whose presence on stage breathes fresh life into tired characters; a conductor who, like the singer and the actor, cannot conceive music without a full dramatic meaning; a man whose passion and commitment are rivaled only by his intelligence and sense of humanity. Such an artist is José Cura.

Born in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina, on 5 December 1962, José Cura's musical talent matured quickly: at 12 he was playing guitar under Juan di Lorenzo's guidance; at 15 he debuted as a choral director; and at 16 he began studies in composition with Carlos Castro and piano with Zulma Cabrera. In 1982, he entered the School of the Arts at the National University of Rosario to continue his musical education; the following year he became assistant conductor for the university choir. At 21, he won a grant to study at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires where he remained for six months. Cura continued to sing in the opera chorus while focusing on composition and conducting until 1988, when he began working with Horacio Amauri to develop proper singing technique.

Determined to make a career in opera, José Cura moved to Italy in 1991 and began voice training with Vittorio Terranova. In February 1992 he made his debut in Verona as the father in Henze's “Pollicino.” In Genoa he played Le Remendado in Bizet's “Carmen” and the Capitano de ballestrieri in Verdi's “Simon Boccanegra.” Cura was engaged in March 1993 for his first major role, starring as Jan in the Trieste production of Bibalo's “Signorina Giuglia.”

Signorina Giulia, Trieste: 'Jan, the servant, perfidious and cynical, was the young Argentine tenor José Cura, extraordinary as a singer-actor.' Trieste Oggi, April 1993

In the same year, he made his debut in the Straus operetta, “Ein waltzertraum,” and attracted critical attention for his performance as Albert Gregor in Janacek's “The Makropoulos Case.”

Cura began 1994 with a series of highly successful debuts: Ismaele in Verdi's “Nabucco” in Genoa and Don Alvaro in Verdi's “La Forza del Destino” in Turin were followed with Ruggero in the world premiere of the third version of Puccini's “La Rondine” (Turin) and Roberto in the same composer's rarely performed first opera, “Le Villi” (Martina Franca); the latter performance is particularly noteworthy for providing Cura's first complete opera recording.

Le Villi, Martina Franca: 'The Argentine tenor José Cura, a truly great performer with a vocal instrument beyond the common, very strong and expressive, imposed himself in the role of the main character, showing that he is an authentic spinto-drammatico tenor, a register today quite rare. Cura, besides a big and beautiful voice, has the stage power of a true actor.' Il Quotidiano, August 1994

La Rondine, Turin: 'The future looks bright for the Argentine tenor José Cura, who has a lyrical voice with brilliant top notes. The role showed off his considerable stage presence.' Opera, 1994

In November, he made his US debut in Chicago as Loris Ipanov in Giordano's “Fedora,” opposite Mirella Freni; he subsequently reprised the role in Trieste in 1995, in London in 1996, in Vienna in 1997 and 1998, and in Tokyo, Zurich and Lecce, Italy, in 1998.

Fedora, Chicago: 'May God bless the mother that gave you birth.' Exito, December 1994

Cura capped the year with a gala concert at the Teatro Colón, marking his solo debut in Argentina's most important musical venue.

He continued adding roles to his expanding repertoire in 1995. In February, he returned to Italy to star as Paolo il Bello in the Palermo production of Zandonai's “Francesca da Rimini.” In June Cura debuted in London's Royal Opera House (ROH), Covent Garden, in the title role of “Stiffelio” on the opening night of the Verdi Festival.

Stiffelio, London: 'What made last night particularly thrilling was the Opera House debut performance of Argentinean tenor, José Cura, in the title role... His Stiffelio sucks the audience into a personality festering with piety, priggishness, hypocrisy, and irrepressible rage.' Evening Standard, June 1995

Stiffelio, London: 'The Argentine tenor is tall and imposing of stature, and the top of his voice is thrillingly free and secure…He has a nice line in flashing eyes and flaring nostrils, and neatly suggested the man's fundamentalist smugness in the early scenes. Above all there is an elemental power to his stage persona which is well suited to the role.' The Times, Jun 1995

Stiffelio, London: '... Cura is a real find, an Otello in waiting.' Independent, June1995

In July he sang his first Cavaradossi (“Tosca”) at the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago. That September he made his first appearance on stage in Paris in the Opéra Bastille's production of “Nabucco” and in November, he starred in his first “Fedora” in Europe at Covent Garden.

Nabucco, Paris: '... the fascination arrives with the Argentinean José Cura, a Latin-burning Ismaele. This brilliant tenor, easy and natural, has a golden career ahead of him.' Tribune de Genève, September 1995

Fedora, London: '[Cura] is a superb actor, a convincing-looking hero and an intelligent, spontaneous and gifted musician…I have no doubt that Cura, with his unusually distinctive sound and equally abundant talent, will also rise to the dreaded super-tenor status as special hero by appointment to the cognoscenti.' Evening Standard, Nov 1995

In 1996, Cura built upon his burgeoning reputation and solidified his position as one of the most promising tenors of his generation. Following his portrayal of Osaka in Mascagni's allegorical opera “Iris” at the Rome Opera in January (available on CD), he returned to London to star in Saint-Saëns' “Samson et Dalila,” a role for which he has received universal acclaim. For his debuts in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Cura added two roles to his repertoire, Pollione in Bellini's “Norma” and Don José in “Carmen.”

Samson et Dalila, London: 'The young Argentinean never seems to put a foot wrong. His Samson is full of soul; a commanding and vibrant tenor performance that captures the Hebrew leader's weaknesses with as much theatrical devotion as his god-like strengths....' Evening Standard, January 1996

Samson et Dalila, London: 'There's superbly musical singing from the Samson of José's a handsome, firm, incisive sound, and Cura makes a powerful presence of the stage. The audience was ecstatic.' Independent on Sunday, February 1996

Norma, Los Angeles: '...and yet it is because of a tenor that fans will be clamoring for tickets for Norma, if not for other reason than to say that they saw José Cura then. The young Argentine, making his local debut Thursday, has being singing professionally for only a few years. But Cura has it all. He has that special presence that causes you to never stop noticing him when he is on stage. He is exceptionally good-looking and could easily suit popular television or film. He sings with a firmness of voice that is smooth across the registers yet commandingly virile. His pitches are dead-on. He gives each phrase a natural musical shape, he can act, and it surely doesn't hurt that he happens to be a conductor and composer. Best of all, Cura proved an ensemble player of the most noble sort, doing nothing to upstage the performance only enhance it.' Los Angeles Times, September 1996

Norma, Los Angeles: '... it was José Cura, as Pollione, with his breezy strutting, his chiseled gold coin looks, and his silvery incandescent voice, who announced the arrival of a huge new talent.' Downtown News, September 1996

Carmen, San Francisco: 'Blessed with dashing good looks and a dancer's presence, the young Argentine tenor made a riveting impression. If his technique is a little reckless, the thrill of the voice is undeniable.' San Francisco Chronicle, October 1996

After performances in Verdi's “Il Corsaro” in Turin and Puccini's “Tosca” in London, Cura traveled to Melbourne and Sydney to take part in the Puccini Spectacular, a show specifically developed for his Australian debut.

Tosca, London: 'The young Argentinean super-tenor-to-be has already made two immensely impressive Covent Garden role debuts this season, first as Ipanov in the gripping revival of Fedora and more recently as Samson in Saint-Saëns' opera. Cura's performances are always profoundly moving, expertly paced, and vividly acted, his Cavaradossi is no exception.' Evening Standard, April 1996

Puccini Spectacular, Sydney and Melbourne: 'By popular acclaim the night belonged to José Cura, the audience roaring its approval of the personable young tenor at the curtain calls. He is highly impressive in straight-from-the-shoulder passages. The powerful timbre and vigorous delivery in such sections tends to outshine his equally effective interpretations of ''E lucevan le stelle'' and ardent, non-hysterical ''Nessun dorma''.' The Age, May 1996.

Other key roles included Le Villi, Leoncavallo's “Pagliacci” and Giordano's “Andrea Chénier” at Opernhaus Zurich, Mascagni's “Cavalleria Rusticana” at the Ravenna Festival (conducted by Riccardo Muti and broadcast on Italian television), and “Pagliacci” at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw (conducted by Riccardo Chailly and televised live). In December, he starred in the Puccini segment of the BBC “Great Composers” documentary, telecast in December 1997.

Tuesday 4 December 2007

Terje Stensvold Wiener Staatsoper Debut

Wotan in
6. Dezember 2007

Terje Stensvold

Der Norweger Terje Stensvold war vorerst an der Norwegischen Staatsoper fest angestellt, wo er zahlreiche Hauptrollen sang, u. a. Mephisto, Jago, Don Giovanni, Danilo, Figaro, Klingsor und Gianni Schicchi. Im Jahre 2000 begann seine internationale Karriere, die ihn u. a. an Häuser wie die Opéra La Monnaie in Brüssel, nach Monte Carlo, an das Royal Opera House Covent Garden, an die Hamburgische Staatsoper, die Oper Frankfurt, nach Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Barcelona, an die Deutsche Oper Berlin, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin und Komische Oper Berlin führte. Zu seinen wichtigsten Partien zählen Scarpia (Tosca), Holländer (Der fliegende Holländer), Pizarro (Fidelio), Jochanaan (Salome), Barak (Die Frau ohne Schatten), Balstrode (Peter Grimes) und Dr. Schön (Lulu). Derzeitigen Pläne umfassen u. a. Wotan/Wanderer in der Neuinszenierung von Wagners Ring des Nibelungen an der Königlichen Oper Stockholm, an der Deutschen Oper Berlin und in Frankfurt, Pizarro in Covent Garden London, Berlin und Barcelona, Barak in Amsterdam und Philip II. (Don Calos) mit der Canadian Opera Company Toronto. Terje Stensvold ist auch als Konzertsänger sehr gefragt. An der Wiener Staatsoper debütiert er in der Saison 2007/08 als Wotan in der WALKÜRE am 6. Dezember und ist hier im Frühjahr außerdem als Holländer (April) und als Jochanaan (Mai) zu hören. Letztere Partie hat er schon im April 2007 im Rahmen des Gastspiels der Wiener Staatsoper in Zaragoza gesungen.
Wiener Staatsoper website