By: Hal de Becker


Antonio Carnota is a young Spanish singer-musician who recently appeared in concert at Winchester Cultural Center. 

He is an accomplished pianist with a showy style who also possesses an engaging smile and personality.  Unfortunately, his singing didn’t match his playing or his looks.

At one point in his patter he told the audience, with ingratiating modesty, that he may not be a good singer.   He was right.  His voice was thin, his delivery unsteady and his range limited.  Clearly, he was more in his element at the piano than the microphone.    

His performance appeared especially unpolished when he sang to the dubious accompaniment of poorly recorded music.  

His routine contained excessive visual embellishments that tended towards preciousness and seemed designed more for cabaret than concert hall.  They included gimmicks such as tapping out notes on piano keys with the backs of his knuckles instead of finger tips, and repeated overhead flurries of fluttering hand movements.

His program, though, was appealing and included Joaquin Rodrigo’s masterwork, Concierto de Aranjuez, and excerpts from works by Bach and Pachelbel.  Songs by Maria Grever, Jacques Brel, and Augustin Lara, including the latter’s classics, Granada and Solamente una Vez, were also performed, as were a few of Mr. Carnota’s own compositions. 

Two guest artists participated in the performance and were ably accompanied at the keyboard by Mr. Carnota. 

A strong-voiced operatic tenor, Marco Varela, gave a worthy rendition of the aria, Recondita armonia, from Puccini’s opera ‘La Tosca’. 

Mistakenly, however, he introduced the aria as a farewell from a doomed lover to his sweetheart.  Actually, according to the lyrics, it’s an artist comparing his dark haired lover, Floria Tosca, with the blond beauty in his painting as he sings of “…concealed harmonies of contrasting beauties.”

Cuando Calienta el Sol received a wavering and effortful performance from an apparently unprepared guest soprano.    

Mr. Carnota is not without talent but his show had the look of a work in progress and did not rise to Winchester’s customary level of excellence – at least not this time.    

July 30th Winchester hosts Fiesta Mexicana in a program of dances from the various states of Mexico.  In August and September the Center presents numerous, programs of music, dance, song and drama showcasing different cultures, including Hispanic, Asian, North African and American.  More info at 702-455-7340.