I love opera with a red hot burning passion, and though “Granada” technically is not an aria, when legendary tenor José Carreras sings it you sure want it to be part of a huge stage production about love in the Spanish city.
Written by Mexican composer Augustín Lara in 1932, “Granada” has been recorded by a million people—Mario Lanza, Frank Sinatra, and Frankie Laine, to name a few, and as an instrumental in jazz, rock, and pop styles. The version I fell in love with is Carreras’ from the 1990 Three Tenors performance in Rome. The whole album is perfect, of course, but this song is one of the tracks I have played the most.
There’s something grand and sweeping about it. It makes me feel I’m starring in some foreign movie in the early 1960s where I play a curvy and seductive, yet down-to-earth dark-haired goddess who is sought after by many rich and powerful men. All I really want, however, is a regular guy who is nice to me and loves my cooking.
Granada, tierra soñada por mí
I had such fantasies about being a movie star when I was in high school, which is when this album was released. I wanted to be an actress back then, even though I took a drama class in tenth grade and I was horrible. The only thing I was good at was improvising an argument, but there really wasn’t any acting involved in that—I’m Serbian, and arguing is our national pastime!
I love to sing along with opera because it’s così drammatico! Even if you don’t know the words or speak the language, you get caught up in all the drama and fantasy of it. That’s why I loved opera so much when I was in high school. I never read teen novels or sci fi or anything else that didn’t seem like the truth to me. Opera was my way to escape; rock and roll was my reality.
This is my favorite recording of “Granada” because it transports me to another world. And that’s what’s so great about music: you can relate to it even if you’ve never been to that exact place and time.