Juan Diego Flórez – Biography

Decca’s “dashing tenor, Juan Diego Flórez. The King of the bel canto repertory”

(The New York Times)

Armed with consummate mastery of bel canto vocal technique, charismatic stage presence and superlative musicianship, Juan Diego Flórez occupies a special place among today’s leading operatic tenors. He was born in Peru in 1973 and studied music in his native Lima and at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. His expressive artistry attracted worldwide attention in 1996 following his official stage debut in Rossini’s Matilde di Shabran at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro. Flórez, aged only 23, proved an overnight sensation with critics and public alike and was immediately invited to make his debut later that year at La Scala, Milan. He has remained in constant demand ever since at all the major international opera houses, collaborating closely with the world’s leading conductors.

As today’s bel canto tenor of choice, Flórez has won particular acclaim in the leading tenor roles of Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini, as well as in operas by Verdi (Rigoletto and Falstaff), Puccini (Gianni Schicchi), Gluck (Armide), Mozart (Mitridate) and Nino Rota (Il cappello di paglia di Firenze). In 2007 he became the first person to perform an encore at La Scala for over 70 years, after the audience demanded that he break with local tradition and sing an encore in Donizetti’s Fille du régiment, repeating the aria “Ah! mes amis” with its nine resounding high Cs. He created a sensation at New York’s Metropolitan Opera the following year in response to fervent calls for the same aria’s encore. In addition to his work in the opera house, Flórez is also active as a recitalist and as concert soloist in compositions such as Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Messa di gloria.

Juan Diego Flórez has been an exclusive Decca artist since 2001. His extensive discography comprises numerous solo albums and complete operas on CD and DVD. Many of these have won major prizes, Germany’s Echo Klassik, the Cannes Classical Award and a Gramophone Award among them. The tenor’s releases include complete recordings of Bellini’s La sonnambula, on CD with Cecilia Bartoli and DVD with Natalie Dessay; Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice with Ainhoa Garmendia; Bel Canto Spectacular, nominated for a Grammy® 2010 as “Best Classical Vocal Performance”; and Santo, a CD album of sacred songs. Rossini’s Zelmira, recorded at the 2009 Pesaro Rossini Festival, was released on DVD and Blu-ray to critical acclaim in 2012, while Rossini’s Matilde di Shabran from the Teatro Comunale of Bologna secured rave reviews the following year. Flórez’s first all-French album, L’Amour, appeared in 2014, while his first recording of Neapolitan and Italian popular songs, Italia, is set for release in September 2015.

In recent seasons Juan Diego Flórez has beguiled audiences at the Met, La Scala, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera and the Salzburg Festival. He also performed at the ancient Incan site at Machu Picchu with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, and gave concerts in Marseille, Istanbul, Zurich, Geneva, London, Madrid, Baden-Baden, Munich, Vienna and Salzburg. Flórez returns to Covent Garden to open the 2015–16 season in Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice and is also set to appear in productions of Lucia di Lammermoor in Barcelona, Rigoletto, Roméo et Juliette and Don Pasquale in Vienna and Werther in Paris.

The Peruvian tenor’s substantial collection of prestigious awards includes various international critics’ prizes, the Premio Abbiati, the Rossini d’Oro and the Plácido Domingo Award among them. He has also been decorated with Peru’s highest honour by the country’s government and made an honorary professor at Lima’s Conservatorio Nacional de Música. In 2012 he was designated a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and named as “Kammersänger” by Austria’s Minister of Cultural Affairs. In 2014 Juan Diego Flórez received a Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.