Friday, March 20, 2009
1. Nella Fantasia
2. Hunting High and Low
4. Love is a Miracle
8. Where the lost ones go (With Katherine Jenkins)
9. Nessun Dorma
11. Con Te
Cortes was born in Reykjavík, Iceland, on 2 May 1974 into a musical family. His father, Garðar Cortes Snr., was a world-class tenor who founded the Icelandic Opera, the Reykjavík School of Singing and the Reykjavík Symphony Orchestra. According to Cortes, his father had the same stature as Pavarotti and Domingo, and once when he was ill while performing in Oslo Domingo stepped in for him. "He sang the main spinto tenor roles, including Caravadossi [from Tosca], Otello, Alfredo [La Traviata] and Canio [Pagliacci]. He'd go away to sing Otello in Helsinki and he'd be there for several weeks, and he became so homesick he couldn't do it, so he didn't go as far as he should have and stopped." His English mother, Krystyna, was a concert pianist who studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. His sister Nanna Maria is an operatic soprano, while his younger brother Aron Axel is studying to become a baritone. When commitments permit, the Cortes children perform in the chorus when their father is conducting an opera.
Cortes spent six months at a Hertfordshire private school in England when he was aged nine and 11. He insists that there was never any pressure on him to become a singer. "At home, mum was always playing piano and dad was singing. I'd listen to dad's records of other tenors and whole operas but I also had a huge pile of Bon Jovi, Queen and Shakin' Stevens albums. I absolutely loved Prince and when I was 10 I was convinced I wanted to be a pop star. Then I got bitten by the acting bug."
At 13 he won the lead role of Nonni in Nonni and Manni (known in German as Nonni und Manni) (1988–1989), an Icelandic TV series about two children living with their mother and grandmother in the late 1850s which was filmed in Iceland, Norway and England and highly successful in Europe. Cortes got the part because he could speak English and ride horses bareback: "It was great fun: we had all sorts of adventures with polar bears, an erupting volcano and getting lost at sea with whales tipping the rowing boat over. I'd always loved movies but it didn't ignite until then." Actor Einar Örn Einarsson, who played Manni, remains Cortes's best friend.
Soon after he turned 18, Cortes decided he wanted to be a singer. "I loved acting but I realised I couldn't live without music. What decided me was the amount of times I have cried over a phrase in an opera or the piano. In opera you can combine the two and, apart from Domingo, there aren't that many singers who are good actors." He spent four years at his father’s school in Reykjavík and then won a scholarship to the Hochschule, or University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, but left after six months to study privately with Professor Andrei Orlowitz in Copenhagen. For the next five years he spent two weeks in Denmark, then flew home to earn enough to pay the tuition and the airfares. He sang at funerals and weddings, appeared as Tony in West Side Story at the National Theatre in Reykjavík in 1995, and for five summers worked with disabled people. At the opera he was the toilet cleaner, the usher and the doorman. Recalling his father's advice about the hardships of a musical career, Cortes has commented: "Even though he told me it was difficult, I still wanted to pursue this road. But looking back, you realise he was right, it is bloody difficult! Excuse the language."
Other teachers that he had the opportunity to work with included David Maxwell Anderson, Stuart Burrows, Paul Farrington, Paul Whynne Griffiths, David Jones, Kiri Te Kanawa and Robin Stapleton.
Format: Flac 254 mb.
Release date 2008
Posted by Blackbird at Friday, March 20, 2009