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JOSE CURA - Stage Director

José Cura

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 the Teatro Colón from 1984 to 1988. In 1991 he moved to Europe and, putting temporarily aside his composer and conductor activity, he concentrated in developing the career as a top tenor for which he became worldwide known, and resuming his conducting career from 1999 on.

But new twist rocketed this astonishingly eclectic artist into yet another discipline tightly bond to the stage: in 2006 he was invited by the Rijeka Opera House, to experiment his ideas as a director. As a consequence, 2007 saw the world-premiere of La Commedia è finita: the creative re-imagining of Pagliacci coupled with dance and mime. Designed and directed by José Cura, La Commedia è finita marked the beginning of his career as a stage director and stage designer. After a first attempt in repertoire direction with Un ballo in Maschera, Bonn 2008, 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. In 2013, his production of Otello at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires was selected as one of the most successful productions of the year by international voting. His show “A Scandinavian bohème” (2015), a new production of Puccini’s La Boheme for the Royal Swedish Opera, was considered by press and public to be one of the most successful productions ever of that prestigious opera house. In Autumn 2016, his production of Turandot at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie, has received enormous acclaim. In 2017, his co-production of Peter Grimes in Bonn and Montecarlo, in which he also debuted the title role, was labeled as “… 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.”, and his new production of Fanciulla del West was premiered to great acclaim in Tallinn’s opera house.

Nabucco

2018 Prague State Opera

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Fanciulla del West

2018 Tallinn State Opera

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Peter Grimes

2017/2018 A coproduction between Bonn Opera House and Opera de Monte Carlo

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Turandot

2016 Opera Royal de Wallonie

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La bohème

2016 Royal Swedish Opera

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Otello

2013 Teatro Colón

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Cavalleria rusticana – pagliacci

2012 Liège Opera House

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La Rondine

2012 Nancy Opera House

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Samson et Dalila

2010 Karlsruhe Opera House

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Ballo in Maschera

2007 Köln Opera House

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La commedia è finita

2007 Rijeka Opera House

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Nabucco, Prague: It’s spectacular; breathtaking. A thoughtful and integrated fusion of sets, lighting and costumes. Brilliant. Bachtrack, July 2018
Nabucco, Prague: José Cura has managed to create a very specific and original production which quite successfully combines a conventional concept with an imaginative and pleasantly visual one. Harmonie, 29 June 2018
Peter Grimes, Monte Carlo: A feat and a masterful evening. The feat was accomplished by José Cura; this "protean artist," also a renowned conductor, assumed the staging, the sets, the costumes and the lighting for this production, while incarnating the eponymous character —a particularly overwhelming job! The lighting —magnificent— contributes to the magic, being at once realistic, naturalistic and dreamlike and something more, something from a true psychological thriller. In the face of so many perfections one must consider that this spectacle will be included among the historical evenings of the Monegasque scene. Metamag, March 2018
Peter Grimes, Monte Carlo: The prodigious José Cura performed the title role and directed: impressive! He directed the staging, the sets, costumes and beautiful lighting. More than ever, opera seems to be a total art. Fragil, March 2018
Peter Grimes, Monte Carlo: This staging was faithful to the text, perfectly legible, the set scenes were perfectly coordinated, with even a few moments dreamlike. OperaActual, February 2018
Peter Grimes, Monte Carlo: José Cura designed an exemplary show. Podcast Journal, February 2018
Peter Grimes, Monte Carlo: A magnificent ‘Peter Grimes’ at the Monte Carlo opera. Musicologie, February 2018
Peter Grimes, Monte Carlo: The direction is sensitive to the psychological complexity of the characters and to the situations that restores the dialectic between nature and society. Cura’s work focuses on highlighting the incarnations. Anaclase, February 2018

Peter Grimes, Bonn: Peter Grimes engaged the audience throughout the evening. It was certainly very pleasing to the eye and generated an emotionally charged atmosphere. OperaWire, May 2017
Peter Grimes, Bonn: Cura's convincing directorial leadership was a plea for the ensemble theater 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. Das Opernglas, May 2017
Peter Grimes, Bonn: A more authentic setting for the story of the fisherman heading for a tragic end than Cura’s staging could hardly be portrayed. Cura meets the dark atmosphere of the opera precisely. General- Anzeiger, March 2017

Turandot, Liège: A masterful production. Crescendo, October 2016
Turandot, Liège: This ‘Turandot’ was without a doubt a splendid accomplishment that could equal that of La Scala or the Met. Performances of this level place the Opéra Royal de Wallonie Liège on a larger international level and make us want to attend other productions at this opera house. Klassiek-Centraal, October 2016
Turandot, Liège: José Cura is one of the few singers who can assert himself as a director and, in doing so, look far beyond the bounds of the singer's life. Opernnetz, September 2016
Turandot, Liège: Sublime production. Anaclase, September 2016

La bohème, Sweden: The author Rodolfo has been transformed into Strindberg, the composer Schaunard has become Grieg, the philosopher Colline emulates Søren Kierkegaard, the painter Marcello is Edvard Munch and the cabaret singer Musetta is his mistress Tulla Larsen. Only Mimi remains the same as the young woman with the cough and the cold hands. Dramatically everything hangs together. Dagens Nyheter, November 2015
La bohème, Sweden: A terrifically pleasant experience. Eskilstuna-kuriren, November 2015
La bohème, Sweden: A beautiful version, good looking, touching, and professional. Kulturbloggen, November 2015
La bohème, Sweden: It was a very fine opera experience and perhaps what explains the successful premiere is that one man, José Cura, was primary responsible for the directing, costumes, staging and lighting. OperaLogg, November 2015
La bohème, Sweden: Nordic bohemians convince with vocal splendor. It is imaginative, with good humor and much charm. SvD, November 2015
La bohème, Sweden: Cura combines naturalism and symbolism in a way that both Munch and Strindberg could have felt at home in the bohemians’ drafty attic. Svenska Dagbladet, November 2015
La bohème, Sweden: An elegant transfer from the quarters in Paris to the Stockholm Old Town. Expressen, November 2015
La bohème, Sweden: It’s a roaring success! Financial Times, November 2015
La bohème, Sweden: A wholly engaging performance, fresh with the Nordic setting and the revamped characters. José Cura is indeed a phenomenon. Besides being one of the world’s greatest tenors he has primarily singlehandedly controlled all the various functions that build a performance. A polymath, a Leonardo da Vinci of our time. Seen and Heard International, November 2015
La bohème, Sweden: The production is beautiful, stylish, touching and professional on all levels. It is worth seeing if only because it is so nicely executed and thoughtful and in-depth. This production tells the story strongly yet still speaks to the modern audience. I hope colleges and other schools with young people book tickets: it presents just the right ideas to allow people discover the great world of opera. Kulturbloggen, November 2015

Otello, Buenos Aires: We must applaud the staging of José Cura, based on three stage sets, mounted on the revolving plate, representing an exterior courtyard, the main hall of the palace, and the bedroom of the leading couple, which were rotated on the wooden platform with such precision that every scene occurs in the right place, creating an almost cinematographic framework. Cienradios, July 2013
Otello, Buenos Aires: A passionate and gripping portrayal. The scenery was cleverly constructed on the revolving stage, enabling easy flow from one to another as well as in rotation showing snapshots of behind the scenes happenings. Seen and Heard International, July 2013
Otello, Buenos Aires: Cura follows the contents of Verdi's opera. And he explores them intelligently. The fluidity of the scene pays tribute to Verdi's extraordinary musical and dramatic achievement, and Cura obtains it through an admirable use of the revolving stage, not only to create three different spaces, but also to enable a constant circulation and effective temporary illusions. The general approach is impeccable; Cura’s production concepts shine. Clarín, July 2013

Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci, Liege: These days, it is no longer quite so easy to achieve the same effect as fifty or even a hundred years ago with these most frequent examples of verismo operas but José Cura has definitely done it with his adaptation and proves that with clarity, inspiration and delight in detail it is definitely still possible to stage a work in a traditional manner and be of interest to the audience. Der Opernfreund, December 2012
Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci, Liege: By inviting José Cura to stage Mascagni's ‘Cavalleria rusticana’ and Leoncavallo's ‘Pagliacci,’ the ORW has pulled off a successful coup. Le Soir, November 2012
Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci, Liege: The Argentinean, who is evolving from a star tenor into a 'stageall- rounder,' is making his third guest appearance at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie. The Liege audience, applauding enthusiastically, will surely remember the evening still for long time. Aachener Zeitung, November 2012
Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci, Liege: José Cura enchants with a production that leaves nothing to be desired. Online Musik Magazin, November 2012
Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci, Liege: Cura accommodates the stories for both operas in a consistent stage design: the Italian quarter of his homeland Buenos Aires in the 1920s when his own ancestors arrived. One by one he had the streets of the quarter recreated and the resulting image, by no means kitschy, is of appealing beauty. He tells the story in a realistic way, needing no artificial ideological or philosophical superstructure to maintain tension. All performances are sold out. BRF Online, November 2012
La rondine, Nancy, May 2012: Cura was eager to reveal the seriousness of purpose behind Puccini's work, not as a Viennese-style operetta, but as a work dissecting the female psyche that could stand beside the works of Richard, rather than Johann, Strauss. This complex psychological tussle was directed with skill by Cura. Opera News, August 2012
La rondine, Nancy: Puccini’s La rondine was the work chosen by José Cura to lead, both as director and conductor, a troupe of young artists with whom he has had the opportunity to work in the master classes he gives each year in Lorraine. His work was most respectable and appealing; the direction of the actors led to a perfect naturalness; the costumes were elegant; and the sets, colorful and well lit, constantly appealed to the eye. Resmusica, May 2012

Samson et Dalila, Karlsruhe: There could hardly have been a more spectacular premiere. The opening night jubilation set a high standard for the rest of the season. Orpheus, November 2010
Samson et Dalila, Karlsruhe: Cura knows his job and has mastered the director's craft. Rheinpfalz, October 2010
Samson et Dalila, Karlsruhe: It is no exaggeration to speak of a great moment of opera, one that will go down in the annals as top-rate at Karlsruher Staatsoper. Der Operfreund, October 2010
Samson et Dalila, Karlsruhe: The exceptional project lent wings to the ensemble and created an artistic result that would do credit to any international operatic stage. Opernglas, October 2010
Samson et Dalila, Karlsruhe: A soloist who sings fantastically and directs so the audience loves him, not every opera house has such heroes. Das Orchester, October 2010

La Commedia e Finita, Rijeka: Ovations to Cura's direction. That's in recognition to the first work of José Cura—one of the greatest opera singers, conductors and composers of nowadays—as stage director. Vjesnik, June 2007