“Bésame Mucho,” Performed by Livier Morales
Penned in 1932 by a 16-year-old Mexican pianist who had yet to experience her first kiss, the song “Bésame Mucho” (Kiss me a lot) embodies the romanticism of popular Latin American music. As arguably the quintessential example of the bolero genre, “Bésame Mucho” holds the distinction of being the most recorded and covered Spanish-language song of all time. It has been translated into more than 20 languages and performed by scores of influential artists, including Mexican movie stars Pedro Vargas and Pedro Infante, legendary crooner Frank Sinatra, rock n’ roll icon Elvis Presley, French chanteuse Edith Piaf, Cape Verdean diva Cesária Évora, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and Canadian jazz artist Diana Krall, to name a few. Even The Beatles took a stab at the ageless melody, when the Fab Four auditioned for Decca Records in 1962 (and again later that year in London’s iconic Abbey Road Studios).
Mexican soprano Livier Morales, a member of the talented ensemble of Luna Rossa Productions’ vocalists dubbed Voices of Silversea, recently performed a rendition of the stirring bolero. A native of Villahermosa in southeastern Mexico, Morales began performing at age 15 when she joined the chorus of her home state of Tabasco. “Ever since I was a child, music has been always present in my life,” says the 30-year-old soprano. In 2008, she moved to Guadalajara to study with soprano Viviana Báez and other vocal teachers from Mexico and the United States. Seven years later, her calling took her to Italy, where she enrolled in the Luigi Boccherini conservatory in Tuscany, under the tutelage of Giovanni Dagnino. “Italy opened the doors to many festivals and concerts and eventually led me to join Luna Rossa,” says the young soprano. Her passion for music has taken Morales all over the world, frequently onboard Silversea, but she’s proud to return to her roots and share a piece of Mexico on the virtual stage.
Where is home right now?
My home now is in Guadalajara, Mexico. But I recorded the video in Mérida, a city in the Yucatan Peninsula in the south of the country. I go there very often because I love the city, the culture and the food, and I have family and friends there.
Why did you choose to perform “Bésame Mucho”?
“Bésame Mucho” is Mexico’s most famous song. In 1999, it was recognized as the most performed and recorded Mexican song in the world. And the most interesting fact is that it was written and composed by a woman: pianist Consuelo Velázquez, when she was only 16 years old! Velázquez herself declared that she composed it before she had experienced her first kiss ever. So to me, it’s fascinating that a 16-year-old girl could create such a deeply passionate piece that has had a lasting impact throughout the world. Personally, I have sung “Bésame Mucho” in many places and every single time, I am overcome with happiness. It’s amazing to perform a piece created by a woman full of passion for life, love and music.
What are some of your musical influences?
Before I studied classical vocal technique, I would mostly listen to 20th Century Mexican music: boleros, rancheras and other fine Mexican songs. I loved the poetry of their lyrics and the harmonious sound of the guitars and the voices together. When I started my vocal studies, Italy’s Bel canto became the most important influence. I fell in love with the Italian vocal music of the 1800s; Vincenzo Bellini is my favorite. As I’ve acquired more experience and knowledge of music, I’ve come to consider Mozart as my biggest love. The beauty and perfection of his music simply cannot be explained with words and I feel it fits perfectly with my voice. I also love French composers like Claude Debussy, Gabriel Fauré and Francis Poulenc. I always listen to their works and sing them. I like the elegance, delicacy and poetry present in their music.
How does it feel to perform on a Silversea cruise?
It was a big surprise! At the beginning, I had no idea what it meant to work on a ship. But when I started to perform on Silversea cruises, I had to sing many genres of music, not only classical. So I learned to appreciate every kind of music. There’s beauty in everything so the experience opened my mind to play and experiment with my voice, and to find different ways to use it. And I also discovered that I love to dance! I have truly enjoyed every second.
Is there any particular ship or destination that you enjoy the most?
Are there any standout anecdotes of your experiences onboard?
I have lots of memories of our performances on Silversea, some of them very funny, like somebody going on stage with her dress half-open! Once we made a Halloween show and a friend got stuck on the spider web we put on the stage. He was singing and trying to take it off, but as he was moving it was getting worse and everybody was laughing. I also remember that, during that show, I only had 15 seconds to change my wardrobe and I managed to pull it off. What happens behind the curtains can be very funny!