Last Sunday, Juan Diego Flórez made his triumphant recital return to the Teatro alla Scala stage, absent as of almost four years, and OC of course was there.
And if your Italian $kill$ are lacking, you know the drill.
JUAN DIEGO FLÓREZ CONQUERS LA SCALA (AGAIN!)
The last time Peruvian superstar tenor Juan Diego Flórez gave a recital at Teatro alla Scala was in January 2008 and his fans cheered until they were hoarse. Almost four years later, nothing has changed.
Even before he started singing, Flórez was greeted with cheers and calls (“bravi” “sei un mito”!) as he stepped onto the stage for a program of challenging, cerebral composers and expressive, haunting arias. With the sensitive piano skills of soloist Vincenzo Scalera, Flórez gave his audience two and a half hours of the most elegant, technically-perfect singing (and five additional bis) that showed-off his stellar range.
The immaculately-prepared tenor glided into the program with the delicate, sensitive phrasing in the aria Per la gloria d'adorarvi by Giovanni Battista Bononcini. Next was Tre giorni son che Nina by Vincenzo Legrenzio Ciampi, mature and burnished. En butte aux fureurs de l'orage by Niccolò Piccinni raced with razor-sharp, rolling cadences that showed-off Flórez's genius of ornamentation.
Gioachino Rossini's Le sylvain showed a valiant, deep understanding of the text while aria Tirana alla spagnola rossinizzata teased the audience with high-note stunners and enthusiastic singing. The waltzing ping of Jacques Offenbach's Au mont Ida from La belle Hélène showed-off the singer's charisma and charm.
Flórez dipped into Spanish-language repertory with three composers -- José Padilla Sánchez, Joseph La Calle, and Tomás Barrera Saavedra. All three works brought out the natural inflections full of warmth and passion in his voice.
Five bis were gifted to the adoring audience. Notables included a gorgeous rendition of Ah! Lève-toi, soleil! from Gounod's Roméo et Juliette; Cessa di più resistere from Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia; and Una furtiva lagrima from L'elisir d'amore by Donizetti.
The greatest moment came during the third bis when Flórez launched into Ah! mes amis, the famous aria sung by lead Tonio in Donizetti's La fille du régiment, which features a sequence of nine high Cs that troubles even the most skilled singers.
Back in February 2007 when Flórez was at Teatro alla Scala to sing lead Tonio, he smashed a 74-year-long tradition that Toscanini had put into place which banned encores. Flórez made history that opening night by belting out an encore of the nine high Cs, earning him the nickname “King of High Cs”.
He came back to do it again and did it with style.