Juan Diego Flórez © Simon Fowler/Decca
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Juan Diego Flórez © Simon Fowler/Decca
Recital 3 – Lied
Juan Diego Flórez | Vincenzo Scalera
Lieder and Arias by Gioachino Rossini, Wolfgang Amadé Mozart, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Giacomo Puccini, Jules Massenet, and Giuseppe Verdi
Such a tenor comes along only once! The Peruvian Juan Diego Flórez not only astounds through his uniquely masterful upper range but is also a sensitive and stylish performer, whether in the bel canto repertoire, in French operatic roles, or in lieder. And now, at last, he makes his LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut with a recital of works by Rossini, Mozart, Leoncavallo, Puccini, Massenet, and Verdi. The 44-year-old Flórez today ranks among the superstars of the classical music scene, but initially he had very different plans. It was with pop, rock, and Latin American music that he undertook his first steps as a performer, writing his own songs and appearing in bars. Until he won a scholarship to the renowned Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and, a few years later, at the age of 23, made his dazzling debut at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro. He then went on to win over the major opera houses, from the Vienna Staatsoper and London’s Royal Opera House to the Metropolitan Opera in New York – along with the hearts of vocal fans.
Juan Diego Flórez © Kristin Hoebermann
Juan Diego Flórez
The tenor Juan Diego Flórez, who was born in 1973 in Lima, comes from a musical family in Peru and was already performing at an early age as a singer of folk and pop music. He later had professional vocal training at the Conservatorio Nacional in his native city; from 1993 to 1996 he studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. At the age of 23, in the summer of 1996, Flórez made his debut at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro, where he performed in Matilde di Shabran and was acclaimed as a spectacular new discovery. Riccardo Muti subsequently engaged him in Gluck’s Armide for the season opening at La Scala in Milan and soon after in Verdi’s Falstaff and Rossini’s Barbier. Since then Juan Diego Flórez has appeared on the major opera stages around the world, above all as a bel canto performer: including at the Royal Opera House in London, the Vienna Staatsoper, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and the Salzburg Festival. Flórez commands an excellent high range; one of his signature roles is Tonio in Donizetti’s La fille du régiment, with its notorious series of nine high Cs in the aria “Ah, mes amis.” In the 2016-17 season, Flórez appeared in Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, sang Elvino in Bellini’s La sonnambula and Gounod’s Romeo at the Vienna Staatsoper, and took part in a new production of Massenet’s Werther at Zurich Opera. In his homeland he founded the Sinfonía por el Perú in 2011, which is an educational project for disadvantaged children and youths modeled on Venezuela’s “El Sistema.” He is also committed to social issues as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. Flórez, who has garnered such distinctions as the Cannes Classical Award and the Echo Klassik, was named a Vienna Chamber Singer in 2012; in 2014 he received the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The pianist Vincenzo Scalera was born to Italian-American parents in New Jersey in the United States and began studying piano at the age of five. He earned his degree from the Manhattan School of Music and began his professional career as a répétiteur and assistant conductor at the New Jersey State Opera. After continuing his studies in Italy, he was engaged as a tutor and pianist at La Scala in Milan in 1980, where he undertook rehearsals for such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, and Carlos Kleiber. Vincenzo Scalera has been a guest artist at the Salzburg Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, the Festival della Valle d’Itria in Martina Franca, Les Chorégies d’Orange, the Carinthian Summer, and the Rossini Festival in Pesaro. He has worked as a lieder accompanist for such singers as Carlo Bergonzi, Montserrat Caballé, José Carreras, Vittorio Grigolo, Sumi Jo, Raina Kabaivanska, Katia Ricciarelli, Renata Scotto, Cesare Siepi, and Lucia Valentini Terrani, performing with these artists in the great cultural metropolises around the world. He has also enjoyed a long-lasting artistic partnership with Juan Diego Flórez: in the 2016-17 season, they performed recitals together in Andorra, Geneva, Vienna, Moscow, Basel, Valencia, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Birmingham, Paris, Marseille, and Toulouse. Scalera’s discography includes such works as a recording of the complete lieder of Giuseppe Verdi, which he released with Ricciarelli; the anthology Art of Belcanto Canzone with Bergonzi; and the album The Comeback Concerts with Carreras. As a harpsichordist, Vincenzo Scalera has performed under the direction of Claudio Abbado on a live DVD recordings of Rossini’s La cenerentola and Il viaggio a Reims. He teaches at the Accademia d’Arti e Mestieri of La Scala di Milano.