Juan Diego Flórez: the voice is changing

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John F
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Juan Diego Flórez: the voice is changing

Post by John F » Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:16 am

The Operatic Tenor Juan Diego Flórez Shifts His Tone, and His Persona
By DAVID BELCHER
DEC. 15, 2015

BARCELONA, Spain — The boyish pluck is still there, but middle age seems to have sneaked up on Juan Diego Flórez. It’s etched lightly across his face, in some wayward gray hairs, and even in his seemingly effortless, upswept tenor.

Two decades into a starry operatic career, Mr. Flórez, at 42, is entering a new vocal phase: He is now singing the role of Edgardo in Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor,” more heroic than the bubbly coloratura characters that made him famous, for the first time at the Gran Teatre del Liceu here. “Even if change in a voice is light, and people maybe don’t notice it, that slight change is for singers a bit of an earthquake,” he said in an interview on Dec. 5, the evening after his first performance.

Mr. Flórez, dressed casually and appearing relaxed, was speaking 25 miles from the street life and smog of Barcelona at the new Mas Salagros eco-resort in the hills, where he is staying with his wife and two children during the run of “Lucia,” in which he alternates with Ismael Jordi through Dec. 23. “Around age 38, there was a slight change to my voice, and very much in the center,” he said. “That made it possible to start thinking about certain roles: Guillaume Tell, Romeo, Edgardo. These roles require a fuller center.”

Of these parts, Mr. Flórez said that Edgardo was the one he coveted most, mainly because hearing the Spanish tenor Alfredo Kraus sing the role at the Metropolitan Opera was a watershed moment in his life. Before earning a scholarship to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Mr. Flórez lived briefly in New York in early 1993, while auditioning for music schools. One day in the New York subway, he earned about $60 singing Neapolitan songs and playing guitar, skills he learned while performing as a child at a pub his mother managed in his native city, Lima, Peru. That evening, he stood outside the Met hoping for a last-minute ticket to “Lucia,” and nabbed one just before the curtain rose. “This was the beginning of my love affair with ‘Lucia,’” he said.

The next 15 years saw Mr. Flórez move from a starving student (“I too ate Top Ramen, the inflatable noodles,” he said with a laugh) to a global professional, with a career that has included about 50 recordings. In Peru he has been awarded the Gran Cruz de la Orden del Sol del Perú, the country’s highest honor, and was featured on a national stamp when he was 31. After singing “Ah! mes amis” from Donizetti’s “La Fille du Régiment,” with its nine high C’s, in 2007 at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and in 2008 at the Met, the applause was so intense that he repeated the aria. He continues to be sought after by the major opera houses, and true to the opera world’s five-season planning cycles, his schedule has him booked through 2021.

“I think he is coming into his prime because his voice is filling out,” said John Eliot Gardiner, who conducted Mr. Flórez in Gluck’s “Orphée et Eurydice” at the Royal Opera in London in September. “He is arriving at, if not a peak, than a plateau. The voice is rounder and more lyrical than when I last worked with him about 15 years ago. Singers are typecast early in their careers into certain roles. But Juan Diego is showing how flexible and all-encompassing he really can be.”

In 2007 he married Julia Trappe, an Australian-born German former model. Their son, Leandro, was born in April 2011 in New York, just 30 minutes before Mr. Flórez performed in the Met’s Live in HD simulcast of Rossini’s “Le Comte Ory.” Renée Fleming, the host of the broadcast, announced the birth to an international audience, including Mr. Flórez’s family, watching in Peru. “I told the baby when he was in the womb, ‘Don’t come on this day,’” Mr. Flórez recalled. “But like an opera star, he arrived when he wanted to.”

A daughter, Lucia Stella, will turn 2 in January, and his growing family has made Mr. Flórez more wary about his bookings. But “Lucia” is not his only new opera. He is also taking on Massenet’s “Werther” in concert in Paris next April and in a full production at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Italy, in December 2016, as well as Meyerbeer’s “Les Huguenots” at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin in October. He will sing Edgardo at the Royal Opera in 2017 and at the Vienna State Opera in 2018, he said, but there are no plans for him to bring it to the Met.

“I don’t like to fill up my schedule,” he said. “It’s easy to do, but then that year arrives and you find that you have no time, so you are desperately trying to cancel something. I have to think of my family.”

In addition to new roles, Mr. Flórez is diversifying his career beyond performance. He helped found the Sinfonía por el Perú, which funds music programs for disadvantaged children across that country and was inspired by El Sistema, a similar program in Venezuela that nurtured the conductor Gustavo Dudamel. “I went to Venezuela to sing a concert with Dudamel and visited the program,” Mr. Flórez said. “I was so struck and moved by how music could change and improve society. I said to myself, ‘I have to do this in Peru.’”

The program began in May 2011. Each of the 13 participating schools, or nucleos, which together reach more than 4,000 students, is sponsored by a private company, with a few schools funded partly by local governments. Mr. Flórez hopes to perform with many of the students in Washington in the spring to raise money and awareness in the United States and around the world.

Mr. Flórez is the president of the organization, with a staff of three overseeing day-to-day operations. Each school has paid instructors and a small staff, funded by the companies. The students pay nothing. Mr. Flórez emphasized that the focus was simply to improve the lives and self-esteem of children through music, without the pressures of a formal music academy. The results, he said, have changed the students as well as him. “My life is more fulfilling, especially because of what I do with the foundation,” he said. “I’m connected to the world in a different way now.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/16/arts/ ... rsona.html
John Francis

lennygoran
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Re: Juan Diego Flórez: the voice is changing

Post by lennygoran » Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:08 am

Wonder when he'll be at the Met next? Regards, Len

lennygoran
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Re: Juan Diego Flórez: the voice is changing

Post by lennygoran » Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:50 am

lennygoran wrote:Wonder when he'll be at the Met next? Regards, Len
I happened to watch the trailer for Florez doing it Lucia in Barcelona--I'm a little uncertain about that production-I seem to detect ET at work. Regards, Len :(


http://www.liceubarcelona.cat/en/15-16- ... ction.html

maestrob
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Re: Juan Diego Flórez: the voice is changing

Post by maestrob » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:13 pm

At last, an intelligent, self-aware tenor who's not on the road to self-destruction! Not since Richard Tucker held back on singing certain roles, in spite of his 1948 telecast of Radames.......

Good job.

John F
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Re: Juan Diego Flórez: the voice is changing

Post by John F » Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:12 pm

Alfredo Kraus likewise.
John Francis

josé echenique
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Re: Juan Diego Flórez: the voice is changing

Post by josé echenique » Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:05 pm

Still there´s something monotonous about his career. No Mozart, especially Ferrando and Don Ottavio that might have seemed tailor made for him, almost no Baroque music, and too many Tonios and Almavivas.

John F
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Re: Juan Diego Flórez: the voice is changing

Post by John F » Sat Dec 19, 2015 4:22 pm

Actually, Florez has sung Ferrando and Don Ottavio, according to the biography on his web site. The 44 operas in his repertoire also include Orphée in the Paris version of Gluck's opera, Gounod's Roméo, and the Duke in "Rigoletto." So it isn't all bel canto opera. But what if it were? It's fine with me if Florez sings what suits his voice and his taste and is in most demand from him, even though I won't be hearing much of it because my taste is different.
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Re: Juan Diego Flórez: the voice is changing

Post by josé echenique » Sat Dec 19, 2015 8:07 pm

Perhaps he sang Mozart early in his career, but not since he became famous. He dropped the Duke after a few performances, but at least it was filmed in a curious Dresden production.
There´s nothing wrong to concentrate on 5 roles of course, but in spite of his dazzling high C´s in La Fille, I don´t think he is a very interesting artist.

John F
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Re: Juan Diego Flórez: the voice is changing

Post by John F » Sun Dec 20, 2015 12:31 am

josé echenique wrote:He dropped the Duke after a few performances, but at least it was filmed in a curious Dresden production.
Florez is singing the Duke in "Rigoletto" at the Vienna State Opera next month. Maybe the maturing of his voice will make him more comfortable in such Verdi roles as the Duke, Alfredo, even Riccardo. Whether the roles appeal to him for other reasons, is another matter.
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lennygoran
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Re: Juan Diego Flórez: the voice is changing

Post by lennygoran » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:08 am

josé echenique wrote:I don´t think he is a very interesting artist.
Jose respectfully have to disagree-he's been sensational in the roles we've seen him in--his stage presence is super imo. Regards, Len

josé echenique
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Re: Juan Diego Flórez: the voice is changing

Post by josé echenique » Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:20 am

lennygoran wrote:
josé echenique wrote:I don´t think he is a very interesting artist.
Jose respectfully have to disagree-he's been sensational in the roles we've seen him in--his stage presence is super imo. Regards, Len
He is certainly a great singer and has a unique voice Lenny, I didn´t mean to say he is bad, it´s just that he sings too much of the same.

lennygoran
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Re: Juan Diego Flórez: the voice is changing

Post by lennygoran » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:10 pm

josé echenique wrote:
He is certainly a great singer and has a unique voice Lenny, I didn´t mean to say he is bad, it´s just that he sings too much of the same.
Jose thanks-hope he can do other roles successfully. Regards, Len

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