Juan Diego Florez
Juan Diego Florez press reviews
April 23, 2008 - Monday was an unusual night at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
It wasn't so unusual that tenor Juan Diego Florez dazzled the audience with nine high C's in a row in the aria "Ah, Mes Amis," from Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment. And it wasn't unusual that the crowd went crazy.
But then Florez did something that hasn't been done at the Met in 14 years—he sang the aria again.
Peter Gelb, general manager of the Met, says that stopping the show for an encore has generally been forbidden.
"In the '20s and '30s and '40s, there was wording in the program books admonishing the audience with words saying 'positively no encores allowed,' kind of like no-smoking signs."
But since Gelb took over the Met in 2006, he's been credited with loosening the company's buttoned-up reputation by beaming live productions into movie theatres and generally trying to usher in a new more hip era.
"For me, and for the audience at the Met," Gelb says, "it's very important that opera be a theatrically satisfying and thrilling experience, and if the audience has a great time with a singer singing an aria like this, with an incredible run of nine high C's, and they want to hear more of it, why not?"
Gelb knew that Florez had encored the aria at Milan's La Scala opera house last year. He told the Peruvian tenor that if he wanted to take an encore this time the Met would not stand in his way.
The last singer to encore an aria at the Met was Luciano Pavarotti, who repeated the third act tenor aria from Puccini's Tosca in 1994.
So is the encore ban at the Met over? Gelb doesn't want to turn the Met into a circus. Every situation, he says, has to be judged on its own merits.
"This particular aria is one that is calling out to be encored. I think Donizetti must have written it with an encore possibility in mind, because it really is like running the marathon and wining the gold medal for any tenor who can accomplish it."
On Saturday, the Met's Donizetti production will be seen by more than 100,000 people in 17 countries, according to Gelb.
"I don't know what will happen on Saturday, but if the audience in the opera house applauds as enthusiastically as they did Monday night, I would not be surprised if an encore of the encore took place."
- The New York Times
From 'Ópera: Triunfo canario con La hija del Regimiento' by Pablo Melendez-Haddad in ABC 18 June 2001...
"El triunfo clamoroso del joven tenor peruano Juan Diego Flórez en sus debut como Tonio vino de la mano de un papel fetiche de Alfredo Kraus, y en su ciudad. Canto «legato», facilidad insultante en los agudos, cómodo control de «fiato», un color inolvidable y actuación convincente. El futuro es suyo."
Courtney Durham, a fellow music student with Flórez at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia...
"The first time I heard his voice was in a voice class at Curtis. He sang 'Because' in his wonderful accent. All of the women almost fell out of their seats."
From 'Reprise de L'Italienne à Alger au Palais Garnier' by Michel Parouty,
Altamusica 6 March 2000...
"Juan Diego Flórez, à vingt-sept ans, possède déjà une superbe maîtrise du bel canto; son timbre corsé et lumineux, sa virtuosité, sa jeunesse en font un Lindoro de grande classe. Dans ce répertoire difficile qu'est le chant rossinien, la relève semble assurée ; et de quelle façon!"
Matteo Marazzi on www.operaclick.it...
"Flórez si erge comunque a livelli altissimi: per lo splendore della vocalizzazione, per la varietà dei recitativi, per la tensione ritmica, per la capacità di riempire il palcoscenico della propria giovanile esuberanza. Il timbro inoltre sembra aver guadagnato in rotondità e compattezza."
Didier de Cottignies, Decca's Director of Artist Development, on Flórez's performance in l'Italiana in Algeri in Paris, March 2000...
"He was really fantastic - he brought the house down...I haven't heard such excitement since I first heard Cecilia Bartoli."
Le Monde on the same performance of l'Italiana in Algeri...
"Quant au rôle de Lindoro, interprété par le jeune Péruvien Juan Diego Flórez, il nous fait fondre dans la cavatine 'Languir per una bella' et dans la courte aria 'Concedi, amor pietoso'."
Conductor Antonio Pappano on being asked in 2000 if he had heard any exciting young voices lately...
"The young tenor Juan Diego Flórez is also a lovely singer - beautiful singer."
Howard Kissel in the New York Daily News, 14 January 2002 on Flórez' singing of 'Cessa di piu resistere' in his Met debut in The Barber of Seville...
"Some of its musical material is the same as the aria that ends Rossini's Cinderella. You seldom hear it because there aren't many singers who can handle it. Juan Diego Flórez can. The huge ovation he received after finishing the aria cemented a love affair with the audience that started when he sang his first note. The Peruvian tenor, making his Met debut, is not yet 30. His voice has a golden, youthful sweetness. More important, he has an astonishing technique that makes you aware not how fiendishly hard this aria is but rather how beautiful he can make it sound."
Hugh Canning in andante.com on the October 31st performance 2001 of La sonnambula in Vienna...
"Flórez's star shone brightly: supple vocalism, shapely phrasing, personal charm. It was thrilling to see and hear a personality overflowing with such charisma in this kind of opera. "
BBC Music magazine on the cd Rossini Cantatas Vol. 2...
"The sensational young Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez is a heroic Peleo, his tone flexible and honeyed, with every syllable and note distinct."
Juan Diego Flórez on singing Rossini from an article by William Madison
in Opera News February 2002...
"The music in Rossini is very simple. [Flórez demonstrates, singing the melody of Almaviva's 'Ecco ridente'.] It sounds stupid, to sing it just like that. But it sounds so beautiful if you make it beautiful. That's the wonder of Rossini's music, that it has to be created.... Rossini composed it, but [singers] have to compose it again, in a way, to give
From Christopher Norton-Welsh's review of La Sonnambula (Vienna 2001) in
Opera News, February 2002...
"The true delight of the evening was Juan Diego Flórez's elegant etching of Elvino's long lines with the most delicate dynamic shading. The way he launched the duets 'Prendi, l'anel ti dono' and 'Son geloso del zefiro' had me mentally racing through my collection of historical recordings for suitable comparisons and not finding many to compete."
From Judith Malafronte's review of the Rossini Arias cd in Opera News
"Flórez looks just like he sounds: lean, athletic, charming and graceful. And clearly he was born to sing Rossini. [...] Flórez executes each selection with the suppleness and polish of Fred Astaire, enjoying the art of concealing his technique and sharing this delight with us."
Claude Gingras on the score of Rodrigo's aria, 'Che Ascolto!' in 'Juan
Diego Florez, nouveau virtuose rossinien', La Presse, 26 January 2002...
"Cette page de bravoure contient, en six minutes et demie, 10 fois le mot tradito et 20 fois le mot traditor, avec comme résultat une obsédante répétition de mots presque identiques sur les guirlandes d'une clarinette en délire."