tenor, composer, conductor, director
Besides being one of the world’s greatest tenors, José Cura is a polymath, a Leonardo da Vinci of our time.
Seen and Heard International, November 2015
But Cura is much more than an operatic star: he is a trained composer and conductor, an opera director, a stage designer, a brilliant performer, and a natural showman determined to use the best music to engage, entertain, and educate.
After studying Composition and Orchestra Conducting in his home town, Rosario, José Cura moved to Buenos Aires in 1984 to hone his skills. To gain insights into stage life, he worked in one of the professional choirs at the Teatro Colón from 1984 to 1988, where his voice developed into the distinctive bold and bright tenor with tints of dark baritone that led him to international fame. A career that, since 1991, has seen him frequent the world’s most prestigious theatres, as one of the greatest performers of the Italian and French traditional repertoire. To his already legendary interpretations of Otello, Stiffelio, Samsón, Canio, Calaf, Dick Johnson, Cavaradossi, José Cura has added, in 2017, two new titles to great acclaim: Richard Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” and “Peter Grimes” by Benjamin Britten.
In 1999, José Cura resumed his conducting career, working with top orchestras like the London Philharmonia, the London Symphony, the Vienna Philharmonic, Sinfonia Varsovia, the Toscanini Orchestra, and the Hungarian Philharmonic, among others, in operatic and symphonic works, thrilling audiences with his performances both in the pit and on the platform.
2007 saw the world-premiere of “La Commedia è finite”: the creative reimagining of Pagliacci coupled with dance and mime, designed and directed by José Cura, which marked the beginning of his career as a stage director and designer.
In 2010 he set designed, directed and starred in Saint-Saëns “Samson et Dalila” at the Badisches Staatstheater, crafting an innovative, modern take on the classic. The production is available on DVD. The unanimous plaudits of the audience and critics for his “La Rondine” at the Opéra de Nancy and “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci” at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, both in 2012, sealed his stature as a director of distinction.
His production of “Otello” at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires was selected as one of the most successful productions of 2013 by international voting. His show “A Scandinavian bohème” (2015), a new production of Puccini’s “La bohème” for the Royal Swedish Opera, was considered by both press and audiences to be one of the most successful productions ever staged in the prestigious opera house. In Autumn 2016, his production of “Turandot” at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, has received enormous acclaim. In 2017, his new co-production of “Peter Grimes” in Bonn and in Montecarlo, in which he also debuted the title role, was labeled as “… A feast and a masterful evening”. Lately, in 2018, his new production of “Nabucco” for Prague State Opera was claimed to be “… A brilliant and thoughtful and integrated fusion of sets, lighting and costumes.”
Year 2014 was marked by José Cura’s return to his activity as a composer: in November, the South Bohemian Opera (Czech Republic), premiered his “Stabat Mater”, written in 1989 and in Easter 2015, after his return as Don José at La Scala, the world premiere of his “Magnificat”, written in 1988, took place at the Teatro Massimo di Catania.
From 2015 to 2018, Maestro Cura has been appointed “Artist in Residence” of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. As part of his commitments with the prestigious Czech ensemble, he ad premiered some of his compositions like the Czech premier of his Magnificat, which took place in 2016, the world premiere of his oratorio “Ecce Homo”, which took place in March 2017 and in September 2017, the world premiere of his piece, “Modus”, together with the world premiere of the symphonic version of Ariel Ramirez’s famous “Misa Criolla” and “Navidad Nuestra”, done by José Cura upon request of the author.
From 2015 to 2018, Maestro Cura was appointed “Artist in Residence” of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. As part of his commitments with the prestigious ensemble, he regularly conducts two symphonic concerts per season and has also premiered some of his compositions like the “Magnificat”, which took place in 2016, the world premiere of his oratorio “Ecce Homo”, which took place in March 2017 and in September 2017, the world premiere of his piece, “Modus”, together with the world premiere of the symphonic version of Ariel Ramirez’s famous “Misa Criolla” and “Navidad Nuestra”, done by José Cura upon request of the author.
In June 2015, José Cura was honoured by the Argentinean Senate, with the Domingo Faustino Sarmiento Prize for his achievements in education and culture and, in November 2017, he was named Professor Honoris Causa of the National University of Rosario, Argentina.
See more at www.josecura.com
This was a great success for the first directorial effort by the internationally renowned tenor. Cura, in his début as a stage director, created a new way of thinking about “Pagliacci”. During two weeks of unflagging work as director, set designer, writer, singer, and also as actor performing his self-written monologue, Cura gave his extraordinary passion, energy and enthusiasm to this show.
It has been one of the rare opera evenings (Samson et Dalila’s production) that are etched on one’s memory and you won’t forget for your whole life.
Der Operfreund 2010
José Cura, the Gesamtkunstwerker (an artist who creates and crafts an integrated, total work of art).
The exceptional project (Samson et Dalila production) lent wings to the ensemble and created an artistic result that would do credit to any international operatic stage.
More than merely slavish illustration, José Cura succeeds in recovering the “Turandot tone” so unique to Puccini’s career and so difficult to define: that of an epic choral work in which China unfolds in all its magical sensuality but also its cruelty. At the same time, the kitsch—a pitfall so common when it comes to Asia—is avoided by thorough work on lighting and costumes. The ingenious way in which the children’s choir is integrated into the action deserves to be highlighted.
Peter Grimes production: The performance was a plea for the ensemble theatre and that only together one can create great moments of opera. This in turn can only succeed if there is somebody who can bring together everybody and if there is a coherent overall concept. José Cura provides all this in Bonn, and he also offered a touching and vocally terrific role portrayal. No wonder the complete auditorium stood up for standing ovations when the tenor came on stage for the final applause.