Bel Canto Spectacular, J. D. Flórez
Great Tenor Arias, J. D. Flórez
Verdi, Rigoletto, D. Damrau, J. D. Flórez, Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden
In the first half, one had the sense that the programming was chosen to give Flórez a chance to warm up to the big money pieces later in the concert. "Pria che spunti in ciel l'aurora," from Cimarosa's Il Matrimonio Segreto, is not all that memorable, although its slow beginning featured Flórez's sensitive phrasing, often sustained by remarkable control through places where other singers would breathe. There were many more fireworks to be enjoyed in Rossini's "Cessa di più resistere," the aria usually cut from performances of The Barber of Seville and reworked by the composer in La Cenerentola: perfectly tuned staccato notes, florid runs, and all. "Pietoso al lungo pianto," from Verdi's Un Giorno di Regno, had less to notice, except for a few nice high notes. Guest conductor Alessandro Vitiello, in his company debut, had a competent hand at the podium, without great inspiration, it must be said. He happily kept the tempos fleet in the three overtures from the same operas as each aria on the first half, providing little more than time filler to allow Flórez to rest (just how many notes could Verdi write for the damn triangle?). Concertmaster Oleg Rylatko had a pretty enough turn on the solo part of the "Méditation" from Massenet's Thaïs, with a somewhat electrified vibrato.
Anne Midgette, Juan Diego Florez at Opera House: With metallic voice, tenor sets gold standard (Washington Post, March 1)
Tim Smith, Juan Diego Florez inaugurates WNO's Placido Domingo Celebrity Series (Baltimore Sun, March 2)