Juan Diego Flórez
Juan Diego Flórez Salom (born January 13, 1973) is a Peruvian operatic tenor, particularly known for his roles in bel canto operas. On June 4, 2007, he received his country's highest decoration, the Gran Cruz de la Orden del Sol del Perú.
Juan Diego Flórez was born in Lima, Peru, on January 13, 1973 where his father, Rubén Flórez, was a noted guitarist and singer of Peruvian popular and criolla music. In an interview in the Peruvian newspaper Ojo, Flórez recounted his early days when his mother managed a pub with live music and he worked as a replacement singer whenever the main attraction called in sick. "It was a tremendous experience for me, since most of those who were regulars at the pub were of a certain age, so I had to be ready to sing anything from huayños to Elvis Presley music and, in my mind, that served me a great deal because, in the final analysis, any music that is well structured—whether it is jazz, opera, or pop—is good music".
Initially intending to pursue a career in popular music, he entered the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Lima at the age of 17. His classical voice emerged in the course of his studies there under Maestro Andrés Santa María. During this time, he became a member of the Coro Nacional of Peru and sang as a soloist in Mozart's Coronation Mass and Rossini's Petite messe solennelle.
He received a scholarship to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia where he studied from 1993 to 1996 and began singing in student opera productions in the repertory that is still his specialty today, Rossini and the bel canto operas of Bellini and Donizetti. During this period, he also studied with Marilyn Horne at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. In 1994 the Peruvian tenor, Ernesto Palacio invited him to Italy to work on a recording of Vicente Martín y Soler's opera Il Tutore Burlato. He subsequently became Flórez's teacher, mentor and manager and has had a profound influence on his career.
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Flórez's first breakthrough, and professional debut came in 1996, at the Rossini Festival in the Italian city of Pesaro, Rossini's birthplace. At the age of 23, he stepped in to take the leading tenor role in Matilde di Shabran when Bruce Ford became ill. He made his debut at La Scala in the same year as the Chevalier danois (Danish Knight) in Gluck's Armide, and later in the year he sang the role of Georges in Meyerbeer's L'étoile du nord with Wexford Festival Opera. His Covent Garden debut followed in 1997 where he sang the role of Count Potoski in a world premiere concert performance of Donizetti's Elisabetta. Debuts followed at the Vienna State Opera in 1999 as Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 2002, again as Count Almaviva. On February 20, 2007, the opening night of Donizetti's La fille du régiment at La Scala, Flórez broke the theater's 74-year-old tradition of no encores when he reprised "Ah! mes amis" with its nine high C's following an "overwhelming" ovation from the audience. He repeated this solo encore at New York's Metropolitan Opera House on April 21, 2008, the first singer to do so there since 1994.
Flórez is also active on the concert stages of Europe, North America, and South America. Amongst the many venues in which he has given concerts and recitals are the Wigmore Hall in London, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York, the Palau de la Música in Barcelona, the Teatro Segura in Lima, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In a departure from his usual repertoire, he sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" from the Broadway musical Carousel at the Berlin Live 8 concert in 2005.
He was signed by Decca in 2001 and since then has released six solo recital CDs on the Decca label: Rossini Arias, which won the 2003 Cannes Classical Award; Una furtiva lagrima, which won the 2004 Cannes Classical Award; Great Tenor Arias which won the 2005 Echo Klassik award for the best arias and duets recital; Sentimiento Latino; Arias for Rubini and most recently, Bel Canto Spectacular. His latest recording is Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice, recorded live in May 2008. In addition to his official discography, almost all his professionally performed roles have been preserved in radio broadcasts, and many also by television.
Flórez has a leggero tenor voice that is audible in even the largest houses due to the predominance of high frequencies in its harmonic structure. Its compass is two octaves, up to and including the high E flat (Zelmira, 2009 in live performance, also on CD in an aria by Bellini—"All udir de padre afflitto"—in the CD Arias for Rubini), the higher part of its range being particularly strong and brilliant, with almost no sense of effort, while the lowest notes are comparatively weaker. The head and chest registers are perfectly integrated, with no audible break in the passaggio. His breath control is impeccable, allowing the longest phrases to be sustained with apparent ease. The ornaments of bel canto, including the trill, are well executed, and stylistic errors such as intrusive aspirates generally eschewed. Perhaps the most distinctive technical accomplishment is the singer's mastery of coloratura heard to best effect in his Idreno (Semiramide) and Corradino (Matilde di Shabran).
Awards and distinctions
Juan Diego Flórez has been recognized by his native country with several awards and distinctions. In May 2004, he received the Orden al Mérito Cultural de Lima, from the Mayor of Lima; the Orden al Mérito por servicios distinguidos en el grado de Gran Cruz from President Alejandro Toledo; and was named an Honorary Professor of San Martín de Porres University. On June 4, 2007, he received his country's highest honor, the Gran Cruz de la Orden El Sol del Perú, from President Alan García. He has been an Austrian Kammersanger since 2012. Flórez also appeared on the 2-sol stamp, part of a series of five stamps honouring contemporary Peruvian musicians issued on November 29, 2004. It is highly unusual for a living opera singer to have been honoured in his home country this way, particularly one so young. (Flórez was 31 at the time). (The portrait of Flórez used on the stamp was by British photographer, Trevor Leighton, and was also used for the cover of his 2003 CD Una Furtiva Lagrima.)
From the classical music world he has received the Premio Abbiati 2000 (awarded by Italian critics for the best singer of the year); the Rossini d'oro; the Bellini d'oro; the Premio Aureliano Pertile; the Tamagno Prize; and the L'Opera award (Migliore Tenore) for his 2001 performance in La sonnambula at La Scala.
Flórez married German-born Australian, Julia Trappe, in a private civil ceremony on April 23, 2007 in Vienna. They held a religious ceremony at the Basilica Cathedral in Lima on April 5, 2008, which some of Peru's leading citizens, including President Alan García and author Mario Vargas Llosa, attended. Flórez was present at the birth of his son, Leandro, who was born on April 9, 2011, less than an hour before his father took to the stage in Le comte Ory, broadcast live around the world from the Met. A daughter, Lucia Stella, was born in the family home in Pesaro, Italy, on January 1, 2014.
Roles sung on stage
- Les pêcheurs de perles – Nadir
- Don Pasquale – Ernesto
- Elisabetta – Conte Potoski
- L'elisir d'amore – Nemorino
- La fille du régiment – Tonio
- Linda di Chamounix – Carlo
- Maria Stuarda – Leicester
- The Merry Widow – Camille de Rosillon (student performance)
- Il tutore burlato – Anselmo (concert performance)
- L'étoile du nord – Georges
- Le nozze di Figaro – Basilio (student performance)
- Nina, o sia, la pazza per amore – Lindoro
- The Nightingale and the Rose – The student (student performance)
- Gianni Schicchi – Rinuccio
- Il barbiere di Siviglia – Conte di Almaviva
- La Cenerentola – Don Ramiro
- L'italiana in Algeri – Lindoro
- Matilde di Shabran – Corradino
- Il signor Bruschino – Florville
- Semiramide – Idreno
- Le comte Ory – Comte Ory
- Otello – Rodrigo
- La donna del lago – Giacomo V
- Il viaggio a Reims – Belfiore (student performance) & Libenskof
- Zelmira – Ilo
- Guillaume Tell – Arnold
- Il cappello di paglia di Firenze – Fadinard
- Die Fledermaus – Alfred (student performance)
- Alahor in Granata, Donizetti. Conductor: Josep Pons, CD: Almaviva, 1999
- Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini. Conductor: Ralf Weikert CD: Live performance (1997), Nightingale Classics, 2004
- Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini. Conductor: Gianluigi Gelmetti, DVD & Blu-ray: Live performance (2005), Decca, 2005
- Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini. Conductor: Antonio Pappano, DVD: Live performance (2009), Virgin Classics, 2010
- La Cenerentola, Rossini. Conductor: Carlo Rizzi, CD: Live performance (2000), Rossini Opera Festival & Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Pesaro, 2001
- La Cenerentola, Rossini. Conductor: Patrick Summers, DVD: Live performance (2008), Decca, 2009
- Le Comte Ory Rossini. Conductor: Jesus Lopez-Cobos, CD: Live performance (2003), Deutsche Grammophon, 2004
- Le Comte Ory Rossini. Conductor: Maurizio Benini, DVD: Live performance (2011), Virgin Classics, 2012
- Don Pasquale, Donizetti. Conductor: Maurizio Benini, DVD & Blu-ray: Live performance (2006), Decca, 2007
- L'Etoile du Nord, Meyerbeer. Conductor: Wladimir Jurowski, CD: Marco Polo, 1997
- Falstaff, Verdi. Conductor: Riccardo Muti, DVD: Live performance (2001), EuroArts, 2003
- La Fille du régiment, Donizetti. Conductor: Riccardo Frizza, DVD: Live performance (2005), Decca, 2006
- La Fille du régiment, Donizetti. Conductor: Bruno Campanella, DVD: Live performance (2007), Virgin Classics, 2008
- Matilde di Shabran, Rossini. Conductor: Riccardo Frizza, CD: Live performance (2004), Decca, 2006
- Mitridate, Mozart. Conductor: Christophe Rousset, CD: Decca, 1999
- Nina, o sia La pazza per amore, Paisiello. Conductor: Riccardo Muti, CD: Ricordi, 2000
- Orphée et Eurydice, Gluck. Conductor: Jesus Lopez-Cobos, CD: Live performance (2008), Decca, 2010
- I puritani, Bellini. Conductor: Michele Mariotti, DVD: Live performance (2009), Decca, 2010
- Rigoletto, Verdi. Conductor: Fabio Luisi, DVD: Live performance (2008), Virgin Classics, 2010
- Semiramide, Rossini. Conductor Marcello Panni, CD: Nightingale Classics, 2001
- La sonnambula, Bellini. Conductor: Alessandro de Marchi, CD: Decca (2008)
- La sonnambula, Bellini. Conductor: Evelino Pidò, DVD: Live performance (2009), Decca (2010)
- Il tutore burlato, Martin y Soler. Conductor: Miguel Harth-Bedoya, CD: Bongiovanni, 1995
- Zelmira, Rossini. Conductor: Roberto Abbado, DVD & Blu-ray: Decca, 2012
- Oratorio & Sacred Music
- Cantatas Vol.2, Rossini. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly, CD: Decca, 2001
- Messa Solenne, Verdi. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly, CD: Decca, 2000
- Stabat Mater, Rossini. Conductor: Gianluigi Gelmetti, CD: Agora, 1998
- Le tre ore dell'agonia del Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, Niccolò Zingarelli. Conductor: Pierangelo Pelucchi, CD: Agora, 1995
- Flórez para Chabuca (with Rubén Flórez, his father). Quadrasonic Ideas y Morrison Music & Video.
- Canto al Peru (with Ernesto Palacio). Piano: Samuele Pala, CD: Bongiovanni, 1997
- Rossiniana. Conductor: Manlio Benzi, CD: Agora, 1998
- Vesselina Kasarova Arias & Duets. Conductor: Arthur Fagen, CD: RCA, 1999
- Rossini Arias. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly, CD: Decca, 2002
- Una Furtiva Lagrima, Bellini, Donizetti. Conductor: Riccardo Frizza, CD: Decca, 2003
- Great Tenor Arias, Verdi, Gluck, Rossini. Conductor: Carlo Rizzi, CD: Decca, 2004
- Sentimiento Latino, Spanish & Latin American songs. Conductor: Miguel Harth-Bedoya, CD: Decca, 2006
- Arias for Rubini, Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini. Conductor: Roberto Abbado, CD: Decca 2007
- Bel Canto Spectacular, Bellini & Donizetti arias & duets. Conductor: Daniel Oren, CD: Decca 2008
- Celebración - 2010 Opening night concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, Rossini, Donizetti and Verdi arias and Latin American songs. Conductor: Gustavo Dudamel, DVD: Deutsche Grammophon 2010
- Santo, sacred songs. Conductor: Michele Mariotti, CD: Decca 2010
- L'amour, french arias. Conductor: Roberto Abbado, CD: Decca 2014
- ECHO Musikpreis (2010). Opera Recording of the Year (17th and 18th century): Juan Diego Flórez[dead link]
- "'Tenor Juan Diego Flórez es ejemplo para la juventud y expresión del orgullo peruano', afirma Jefe de Estado Presidencia de la República del Perú", Presidencia de la República del Perú Nota de Prensa Nº 581, 4 June 2007.
- 'Cantaba huaynos, rock y temas de Elvis', Ojo, 5 June 2006
- Owen, Richard (22 February 2007). "Pavarotti's heir breaks rules with encore on the high C's". The Times.
- Wakin, Daniel J. (23 April 2008). "Ban on Solo Encores at the Met. Ban? What Ban?". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
- "Show-Stopping Aria Encored at the Met". All Things Considered (National Public Radio). 23 April 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
- "Tenor peruano presenta disco"
- Isotta, P: "Un disperato fa la differenza" (Review of Falstaff, Teatro alla Scala), Corriere della Sera, 31 March 2001 and Brüggemann, A: "Gesang jenseits der Gravitation von Musik", Die Welt am Sonntag, 19 September 2004
- Gerardi. Enrico: "Salisburgo, trionfo da rock star per Juan Diego Florez" (Review of La Donna del lago, Salzburg 2002), Corriere della Sera, 29 August 2002
- See for example, Ashley, Tim: "Tale of three tenors" (Review of Rossini's Otello, Royal Opera House, London, February 2000), The Guardian, 2 February 2000; Canning, Hugh: "Bravissimo! Ancora!" (Review of Matilde de Shabran, Pesaro, August 2004), The Times, 15 August 2004; Alonso, Gonzalo: "Semiramide necesita unas tijeras" (Review of Semiramide, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, November 2005), La Razón, 23 November 2005
- Marion Lignana Rosenberg, He Can Sing an Aria or Frank a Letter, The New York Times, January 9, 2005. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
- BBC Mundo, Juan Diego Flórez: un tenor como pocos, 17 March 2006
- Decca Classics New Releases April 2003
- National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 52nd Grammy Award nominees (Classical); Radio Programas del Perú, "Juan Diego Flórez fue nominado al Grammy por Bel canto Spectacular", 3 December 2009
- "King of the high Ds" by Richard Morrison, The Australian (15 August 2009)
- "Opera Star Star Juan Diego Florez Weds in his Native Peru" (6 April 2008) International Herald Tribune, Associated Press
- Met Opera broadcast, April 9, 2011.
- "Juan Diego Flórez recibió el Año Nuevo con el nacimiento de Lucía Stella, su segunda hija" (1 January 2014) El Comercio, Retrieved 20 February 2014(Spanish).
- Further sources
- Ashley, Tim, 'He's got no strings', The Guardian, 14 March 2002
- Canning, Hugh, 'He'll take the high road', The Sunday Times, 11 November 2001
- Cárdenas, Miguel Ángel, 'Un peruano en la Scala de Milán', La República, 1 September 2002
- In Art srl International Artists Management, Official Biography and Repertory List of Juan Diego Flórez
- Hurwitz, David, 'From Peru to Pesaro — Interview with Juan Diego Flórez', Classics Today, May 2002
- Rodríguez, Gustavo, 'Juan Diego Flórez - Notas de una voz', Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, Lima, 2007, ISBN 978-9972-228-98-8
- Segovia, Emilio, 'La formación de un tenor rossiniano', Pro Ópera, November/December 2003