Das Opernglas

October 1997

José Cura

The issue publishes an interview of Joé Cura where he makes some rather strange statements.

Asked if he was not afraid to sing Otello and Radames too eartly: He said ... The real question is: are the parts of Otello Radames real dramatic roles are. I do not think so. They are only very often described as dramatic. The part of Otello is pure belcanto!!!, a form of dramatic belcanto??? Because of Del Monaco a complete new tradition was created. After him it seemed impossible not to yell the part. But Plácido Domingo has demonstated that it is not correct. He has sung the role of Otello with the voice of lyric spinto tenor. He has given dramatic accents thanks to the intelligence of his interpretation. The same is true for Samson.

First Domingo does not the voice for Otello. He is not a spinto, has not enough volume for the role. In other times, he would not have been a tenor of the first rank. As for Samson, this is really an easy role.
Asked how is it with Radames?Cura said: it is also a lyrical part. Celeste Aida is one of the most lyrical aria of my repertoire.
Radames requires more than Celeste Aida from the tenor.
Asked is it possible to sing the high B at the end of the aria pianissimo as written.Cura said No, it is completely impossible. It is not a question of technique, but depends on the pitch of the orchestra which is today a half tone higher than at the time of the creation of the work. Verdi was not voice killer. He knew exactly what he could ask or not from a singer.
Apparently Cura has not heard from Bergonzi's rendition of the aria. As for the higher pitch of orchestras today as compared to the ones of last century, I suggest that Cura reads the article of Stefan Zucker Pitch Putsch, published in the 1989 issue of Opera fanatic. Maybe Cura could learn something from it, unless he wants to join the ranks of Lyndon Larouche supporters.

On the positive side, the new CD of Cura published by Erato can be recommended. It contains all the Puccini's arias. Cura shows a good voice, and dramatic sense. I hope Cura sounds the same live. A curiosity the underdog in the pit is Domingo.

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