Bravo Cura

Celebrating José Cura--Singer, Conductor, Director




Operas:  Otello in Wiesbaden

January  2016

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Otello in Wiesbaden


Otello in Wiesbaden


















A Fabulous Review!



Online Merker

Christian Konz

Rarely can one experience such targeted direction and focus on character as in Uwe Erik Laufenberg’s Wiesbaden staging of Verdi’s Otello. Without a big fuss, but always logically, stringent in the personal direction, maybe a bit flat in the choral scenes, but always impressive and with momentum without gimmickry right up to the thrilling, sensuous final scene.

Gisbert Jäkel’s white column space and Jessica Karge’s tasteful costumes support the request to keep as best as possible the dramatic original spice of Shakespeare in Verdi’s opera drama.

This is possible with first-class performers. And as the lovers, one experienced two great personalities.

José Cura has completely permeated the role of Otello. Vocally inexhaustible, impressively mastering even the most difficult passages but also able to find the contextual nuance between the feelings of powerless emotional emptiness and glowing rage, he explored the lion of Venice as a driven victim yet always made him humanly understandable. His dark, heroic tenor soared effortlessly in the high notes but was also resplendent and velvety in the middle register.

Cristina Pasaroiu as the petite-fragile Desdemona was an event in her concentration in tone and character. With pure timbre she generated intimate long phrases and at the same time became larger through modesty. Her final scene was both touching and beautifully sung.   

Matias Tosi as rowdy, lanky Jago offered a wiry, crafty villain, vocally rather more bass than baritone and thereby lacking bloom in the high notes.  The Cassio of Aaron Cawley showed the variability of a still young tenor. Bass Young Doo Park offered gorgeous sounds as Lodovico. As Emilia, Celeste Haworth presented committed acting in her dramaturgically important role but sang with little Italianate style. The Montano of Nathaniel Webster and the Rodrigo of Benedikt Nawrath along with the herald of Christian Balzers made for a strong singer's ensemble. Bianca (Rose Alt / mime) served as a willing victim to the wild extortion of male fantasies which didn’t spare rape and degradation of the female gender in this staging.

The choir of the state theatre (director: Albert Horne) made a strong sound performance. Leo Mc Fall at the conductor's desk operated with passion but must work to hold together the business every now and then. Some of the big ensembles (third act) threatened to disintegrate into individual actions and in other ways as well it not always coincides in fermatas and transitions with stage and orchestra. Nevertheless The State Orchestra offered beautifully detailed achievements from the English horn with the flutes in the last act, but also with the soft attuned dark brass. 

An absolutely recommendable evening which, unfortunately, will not be experienced with this cast again.  Wiesbaden was worth the long far journey.















Rehearsal Photos by Sandra Ott











BravoCura Review


The Wiesbaden production was a well-crafted, minimalist staging offering the singing actors the freedom to explore the edges of their characters without undue constraint. This atmosphere played brilliantly into the organic, expressive performance of José Cura, creating a magical evening that somehow made Otello feel fresh again.

The production stayed away from modern re-interpretation (by and large) and from the larger philosophical questions associated with 'otherness' to deal with the story is an unapologetically straight-forward way. It was a clean, crisp, uncomplicated reading that refocused on the human drama.

The simplicity of the staging played to Cura's considerable strengths as both actor and singer: from the moment he arrived on stage (stepping through an entrance on the audience level and then climbing onto the stage for ‘Esultate!’), his charismatic general dominated the stage. Moving seamlessly from triumph in battle through the intensity of seduction, the agony of self-doubt, the anger of betrayal, madness of jealousy and the nuance of remorse, this Otello captured the complexity of the character while never losing touch with his humanity.  Despite the good efforts of the rest of the cast, the space felt empty without him.

Vocally, Cura displayed his seemingly inexhaustible resources, showcasing soaring high notes and burnished middle, with mastery. 

Cristina Pasaroiu was an effective Desdemona, vocally and theatrically.  Matias Tosi was an interesting Iago, not quite capturing the vocal parameters of the character but establishing a strong stage persona.  Conductor Leo McFall had problems, notably in maintaining connection between pit and stage; on occasion his dynamics seemed off. The orchestra sounded under-rehearsed based on the number of ‘sour’ notes and occasional lack of unity.  Still, the magic of Verdi's music merged with the talents of the performers on stage made for a night at the opera to remember.

















































Photos by Aleksandrs Dolchev


















Photos by BravoCura
















































Last Updated:  Saturday, February 06, 2016  © Copyright: Kira