Jose Cura is a unique talent, composer, arranger, conductor, and, yes, he somehow finds time to sing. In VERISMO the Argentine tenor wields a baton in support of his own rich voice, and focuses on the particular school of opera which has been his specialty. For most people, the word verismo describes a tabloid-style Italian opera in which lusty peasants chase each other around with knives, but this disc shows that there is more to it than 'Cav' and 'Pag,' that in fact verismo is a wide-ranging genre of naturalism but not always brutality, and capable of the tenderest emotions.
This range comes easily to Cura, whose voice can have the soft, consoling warmth one associates with a great baritone in addition to the more obvious heroic assets one expects from a great tenor. His skill at characterization is apparent right from the start as he sings Tonio's prologue from 'Pagliacci' before launching into Canio's famous 'Vesti la giubba,' a fresh and thoughtful performance not really reminiscent of any of his celebrated predecessors. The tour continues with Catalani, Franchetti and generous helpings of Giordano, Cilea and, of course, Mascagni, all well served by both Cura the tenor and Cura the conductor.
New York Times (Publisher) (5/28/00, p.25) - "...In the hit-and-run show stopper "Amor ti vieta,"...the delicacy of the phrasing (lines taken in a single breath alternating with lines of similar length taken in two) is as unusual as it is natural and discreet. There are discoveries like this to be made throughout..."