Recognized as one of the greatest exponents of bel canto repertoire in recent years, Mariola Cantarero has achieved great success in performing works like Traviata, Rigoletto or Bohème, in a constant search for the most suitable works for her vocal evolution, expanding her repertoire with these and other works, such as María Stuarda, Lucrezia Borgia, Anna Bolena, as well as Don Giovanni or Cosi fan Tutte.
She was born in Granada and started studying music at her hometown Conservatory. She would then continue her training with Carlos Hacar and, already as a professional, with Ruhtilde Böesch in Vienna. She has been awarded at several international singing competitions such as ¨Francisco Viñas", "Operalia 99", "Pedro Lavirgen" and "A.S.L.I.C.O. 2000".
She has also received many other awards in recognition of her profesional career, such as “Premio Opera Actual", "Revelación del círculo de amigos del Liceo", “Premio Imagen de la ciudad de Granada", "Ojo Crítico de RNE", "Mención de Honor de la Diputación de Granada", "Medalla de Oro al mérito de la ciudad de Granada" and "La Medalla de Oro de Andalucía".
She made her debut at Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa in 2000 with Rossini’s Le Comte Ory, achieving a great success and she became ever since a regular soprano at the main European theaters, such as Teatro Real in Madrid, Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona, Maggio Fiorentino, San Carlo di Napoli, L´Opera di Roma or Rossini Opera Festival. Furthermore, Mariola has frequently performed in Hamburg, Berlin, Zurich, Amsterdam, Strasbourg, and overseas at the Korea National Opera, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, San Juan de Puerto Rico, Santiago de Chile, São Paulo Opera, Detroit Opera and New Jersey.
She has worked with conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Alberto Zedda, Jesús López Cobos, Daniel Oren, Bruno Campanella and Roberto Abbado to name a few.
Among her recordings, it is worth noting: Luisa Fernanda, together with Plácido Domingo, performed at the Teatro Real in Madrid and conducted by López Cobos; Falstaff, performed at Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, conducted by Zubin Mehta; La Gazza ladra at Rossini Opera Festival; Il viaggio a Reims, performed at Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona, conducted by López Cobos; I Puritani at De Nederlandse Opera; Belcanto with Simón Orfila and Canciones en la Alhambra.
Recent performances include Liric Galas with Ismael Jordi at the Teatro de la Maestranza and the Teatro Cervantes in Málaga and Opera Garage's production of La Bohème in different Spanish cities.
Her engagements for this season include, among others, a Gala de Zarzuela with the Coro RTVE and El gato montés at the Teatro de la Maestranza.
Date: October 2021 Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.
ZARZUELA GALA WITH THE RTVE CHOIR 17 September 2021 19:30 Teatro Monumental, Madrid
EL GATO MONTÉS 17 February 2022 20:00 Teatro de la Maestranza, Seville 19 February 2022 20:00 Teatro de la Maestranza, Seville
El gato montés
Chanson perpétuelle, Op. 37
RECITAL LÍRICO. Teatro de la Maestranza. 2021
"Twenty years of career have passed for Mariola Cantarero and Ismael Jordi, two of the jewels of the Andalusian lyric quarry, (...), with instruments in perfect condition, fresh and lush, which allow them to move on the heights, in a double sense of the term: because they are still required by the great theatres of the world and because their treble remains in top form (...) Cantarero's voice is still powerful in the treble zone (...). ...) Moreover, her phrasing is full of small dynamic inflections that give variety and expressiveness to the singing, above all thanks to her delicate pianissimi, which worked wonders in her aria from Maria Stuarda, possibly the most moving moment of her entire performance". Pablo J. Vayón (Diario de Sevilla)
"A well-contrived programme, in which bel canto reigned supreme, began with pearls from the 'Lucia' (...) Mariola's voice floated in the air, subtle, ethereal, as if from another world. (...) Either she in 'Maria Stuarda', with her silky voice begging the clouds to take her to France, far from her hostile homeland, or she imposed herself as an unfading warrior in the "cabaletta" that would lead her to her death. (...) In 'Manon' it was not necessary to wait for the end of the opera: in the same act she could be the flirty and frivolous protagonist, with all the fireworks of her bravura aria 'Je marche', as in the subsequent 'Gavota' (...) and finish off with two stratospheric D's, as later to win back Des Grieux's love with supplications or seduction, displaying delicate and immaterial singing or pianissimi that seemed ready to break the song line. (...) After so many tears, the zarzuela was an explosion of colour, preceded by the Cantabrian mist ('Todos lo saben'), where Marola/Mariola's lyricism illustrated that mysterious, reserved and attractive halo, like a lighthouse, of the taverna, contrasting later with the bubbly and fresh 'Vals de Angelita'. (...) Unreserved applause. But there's no reason to wait 20 years to see them with us again". Carlos Tarín (ABC Sevilla)
"(...) "Oh nube che lieve" from Maria Stuarda showed [Mariola Cantarero] some firm attacks in pianissimo and a very lyrical phrasing, with a legato of enormous carats. Phrasing that turned to sensuality with Manon's gavotte. Phrasing of the finest quality came to the fore in the duet of Saint Sulpice from the same opera. In the second part of the recital, centred on zarzuela, she was full of sparkle and grace in the famous waltz from Chateau Margaux, playing with tempo to her heart's content. In the encores she brought out her most dramatic and heart-wrenching side with "Adiós Granada" and, above all, with a moving "Y sin embargo te quiero". Andrés Moreno Mengíbar (Beckmesser)
"They began with a highlight: the duet "Verrano a te..." from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, perhaps the best of the whole recital for its perfect emission, articulation, colour and bel canto beauty. (...) The emotion overflowed with the encores, all authentic and moving to the point of tears (...) Thank you, congratulations and long life to the best couple in Spanish opera". Álvaro Cabezas (Codalario)
"It was that clarity of diction and intonation that was one of the things we most appreciated in this couple of whom we still remember that anthological Traviata of ten years ago, and who continue to exhibit magnificent chemistry and rapport. Love appeared in Verrano a te... from Lucia di Lammermoor, (...), with Mariola Cantarero exquisitely modulating her voice and singing with enormous sensitivity; and the heartbreak came in the duet of Saint Sulpice from Manon, here with the soprano displaying her most heartbreaking vein (...). ) Grace to spare has the Granada soprano, who displays as much dramatic force in Maria Stuarda's Oh nube che liebe as she does elegance and sensuality in Manon's popular Gavota (...). ) Also with the zarzuela that Fernández Caballero dedicated to wine, Chateaux Margaux, the Granada-born soprano took advantage to display glamour and coquetry, always taking care to the smallest detail in her perfect intonation and that capacity she has to control the emission and volume of her generous voice, capable of overpowering high notes. " Juan José Roldán (El Correo de Andalucia)
"(...) Mariola like a lyric who moves with exquisite elegance through the scores with her warm and dreamy timbre, able to reach the necessary treble and coloratura with firmness and articulation, over a very well worked and uniform voice; (...). ) The two were immense in the Saint Sulpice duet from Massenet's Manon, after Cantarero "shone" through the bel canto passerelle of Je marche sur tous les chemins and the gavotte, both numbers culminating in a very powerful D each. The soprano moved between heaven and earth in Oh nube... and the warlike ardour of the cabaletta Nella pace (...) The second half was devoted to the more effervescent zarzuela - though they began with the hazier duet Todos los saben from La tabernera (then an exultant No puede ser in the tips), where Mariola's lyricism was laced with Marola's nebulous personality. (...) We are not used to seeing Mariola singing "tipsy" the delights of Bordeaux, but Châteaux Margot took her there in Angelita's Waltz, a number of great freshness not without a customary and brilliant high C at the end. The duet containing the very famous pasodoble from El gato montés brought the programme to a very brilliant close and gave way to five equally well-known and intense encores". Carlos Tarín (Ritmo.es)
"Graciousness to spare as the Granadan soprano, who showed such dramatic force in Oh nube che liebe from Maria Stuarda,as well as panache and sensuality in the popular Gavota from Manon, which Aguirre accompanied not only on piano but also the choruses, conveniently abbreviated, like the instrumental parts, for recital performance. Also with the zarzuela that Fernández Caballero dedicated to wine, Chateaux Margaux, the Granadina took the opportunity to display glamour and coquetry, always taking care to the smallest detail in her perfect intonation and that capacity she has to control the emission and volume of her generous voice, capable of breathtaking high notes. In the encores, which occupied practically a third part of the recital, she sang with great feeling the song by Los emigrantes, Adiós Granada mía, as well as a remarkable version of the famous copla Y sin embargo te quiero". Juan José Roldán (El Correo de Andalucia)
EL GATO MONTÉS. Ópera de Tenerife. 2019
"In the cast, we find the Andalusian soprano Mariola Cantarero, who sang the role of Soleá. The bel cantabile possesses a beautiful voice, with very good technique and brilliant in the high register. With this as a base, she endowed her character with a special charm and singular expressiveness. Her emotive interpretation of Soleá managed to charm an audience who empathised with her and her love dilemma". Celia García (Platea)
"Andalusia was presented as the stage for this almost veristic drama in which Soleá, embodied by the Granada soprano Mariola Cantarero, exemplified with her timbre of voice and scenic poise the uncertainty between two loves and the deep inner drama she suffers." Estrella Ortega (Ópera Actual)
LA BOHÈME GARAGE. BILBAO. 2018
"Soprano Mariola Cantarero's voice has always been penetrating and wide, but she also sang with care in her intensity and her singing in her aria "Si mi chiamo Mimí" was very applauded". Nino Dentici
FUENTEOVEJUNA. Ópera de Oviedo. 2018
"In the cast, we must highlight the sensational performances of Mariola Cantarero, exemplary Laurencia,..." Cosme Marina (ABC)
"Laurencia could be a turning point in the career of soprano Mariola Cantarero. Mariola Cantarero sings and interprets a Laurencia that gains in character and dramatic depth as the scene progresses. The soprano from Granada resolves the vocal demands very well and creates a role that I am convinced could be a turning point in her career, exhibiting a dramatic vein that reinforces her artistic capacity ... " Cosme Marina (Nueva España)
"Fuenteovejuna gives hardly any respite to a cast of well-chosen singers, to perform characters that rapture, and keep up a demanding vocality. This is the case of Laurencia, embodied by Mariola Cantarero in Sunday's premiere of a title that will have a double cast to open the season. The soprano maintained an imposing presence on stage, in the evolution of her character, with great vocal and dramatic strength". Diana Díaz (El País)
"On the stage, soprano Mariola Cantarero was a great discovery, and her interpretation of the role of Laurencia was very credible. A very demanding character both musically, because of the changes of register, and scenically, because of the drama involved and her lengthy presence in the action". Andrea García (La Nueva España)
"Mariola Cantarero, a lyric soprano evolving towards more dramatic roles, models her character of Laurencia with poetry, strength and warmth. The soprano from Granada left a good memory in the Campoamor in zarzuelas such as 'Luisa Fernanda' and also in 'Lucia de Lammermoor'. She was applauded from her opening aria, but the most surprising thing about her performance is that she gains strength and dramatic gravity as the opera progresses". Ramón Avello (Comercio)