The 67th Dubrovnik Summer Festival’s music programme opened last night by the world famous tenor, José Cura, whom music critics often call “the fourth tenor”, alluding to The Three Tenors.
He performed with amazing soprano Linda Ballova, and their concert, along with the Symphony Orchestra of the Croatian National Television, and maestro Mladen Tarbuk, turned the evening into one really magical night.
Interpretations of the most famous opera roles, among which stands out the role of Verdi’s Otello, brought fame to José Cura and the festival audience enjoyed several arias precisely from Otello – a love duet from the first act, Dio! Mi potevi scagliar of realizing Desdemona’s deceit and the moment of his death and falling beside his loved one.
The program included the symphonic poem Hamlet by Blagoje Bersa, as his earliest orchestral work in which he wanted to depict events in the soul and mind of the great Shakespeare’s hero. Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s suite Midsummer Night’s Dream was inspired by the theater production of Shakespeare’s comedy. Symphonysts performed the Wedding March from the suite, which originally accompanied wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta.
Continuation of the evening brought a touch of Spanish and Latin American culture. After Ritual Firedance by Manuel de Falla and two compositions by Astor Piazzolla, Cura performed three songs of very successful Mexican author Armando Manzanera, whose songs, transcribed into English, were performed by musical giants such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Elvis Presley.
A bit about the amazing lady:
The Slovakian soprano Linda Ballová (1981) graduated from the Bratislava Conservatory (2006), and from the Bratislava Academy of Music under Zlatica Livorova (2011). After that, she began to appear extensively. She has performed at the Slovakian National Theatre in Mozart operas The Magic Flute (2003-2005) and Don Giovanni (from 2011), in Smetana’s The Bartered Bride (the role of Mařenka, from 2011), Janáček’s Jenufa (title role, 2012-2013) and Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov (the role of Fiodor); at the Moravian-Silesian National Theatre the role of Dryad in Strauss’ Ariadne on Naxos (2006-2007), Siebel in Gounod’s Faust (2008-2009), and Cherub in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (2008-2009). From 2013, she has appeared at the Aachen State Theatre interpreting the roles of Rusalka in Dvořák opera of the same name (2013), Emilia Marty in Janáček opera The Markropulos Affair (2015) and Elisabeth in Wagner’s Tannhäuser (2015). She has sung several times on the concert stage of the Slovakian Philharmonic performing with great success as a soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C major, Op. 86 and Schubert’s Mass in A flat major. She has collaborated with José Cura since 2014.
Worth mentioning among numerous awards Linda Ballová has received are 1st Prize in the Slovakian Conservatories Competition (2005) and the Best Vocal Expression Award in the International Iuventus Canti Competition. She also won the Best Vocal Expression Award in the Mikuláš Schneider – Trnavský International Competition (2006), and was ranked among finalists in the Ferruccio Tagliavini International Vocal Competition (2010).
The versatile artist José Cura has prepared yet another treat for the festival audience. Apart from his successful career of a tenor, conductor and composer, José Cura is also a talented photographer. In his book Espontáneas, he presented his fascinating photos, which will be exhibited in Sponza Palace starting from 13 July.