Costa Rican baritone Enrique Granados is celebrating his 38th anniversary on the lyric stage with a series of four performances of Donizetti s comic masterpiece, Don Pasquale, at San José s Melico Salazar Theater starting Nov. 1. He is undertaking the title role for the first time in his lengthy career, which has been highlighted by 10 seasons at Buenos Aires prestigious Teatro Colón, as well as numerous appearances in Peru, Colombia and Venezuela since his 1968 operatic debut as the U.S. consul Sharpless in Puccini s Madama Butterfly.
Granados was a founding member of the Compañía Lírica Nacional in 1980, during the Rodrigo Carazo administration, and was Minister of Culture under José María Figueres from 1994 to 1998.He has appeared locally in many works during the past few decades with leading local artists; he seduced Zamira Barquero as Don Giovanni, and was Amonasro to Lupita González s acclaimed Aida.
At the reopening of the Melico Salazar Theater in the early 1980s, Granados sang the toreador Escamillo opposite Argentine Stella Silva in Carmen, and in a subsequent production he partnered with Russian Natasha Sevastianova. Memorable zarzuelas here in San José have included Luisa Fernanda, Los Gavilanes and La Corte de Faraón, the latter an extraordinary production by Lucho Barahona, which found ticket scalpers outside the National Theater when the announcement was made that the run could not be extended.
Don Pasquale was one of several options for Granados celebration, and was chosen because of the small cast and chorus required, and the comparative ease of assembling sets and costumes. Granados has invited colleagues with whom he has performed to share the stage with him.
His leading lady, Norna, will be María Marta López, who was Nellie Forbush to his Emile DeBecque in South Pacific. The Argentine tenor Pablo Gaeta will make his local debut as Ernesto, Fernando Grassi will sing Doctor Malatesta and Jorge Aguilar the Notary. Dante Ranieri will conduct members of the National Symphony and the Mozart Chorale. Dario Innella is directing the opera.
I m always happy to help young singers with questions, but I am not a singing instructor, Granados remarks.
Are there any roles he has always wanted to sing, but hasn t gotten to? Yes, he responds, two of the late Verdi baritone roles, Simon Boccanegra and Falstaff.
These are not frequently given in Latin America, and remain as might-have-beens.
Performances are scheduled for Nov. 1, 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. Tickets cost ¢8,000-15,000 ($15.50-$29) and are available at the Melico Salazar Theater box office, at Servimás, Häagen-Dazs and Bansbach stores, or online at www.mundoticket.com.