Una Furtiva Lagrima
Juan Diego Flórez has made quite a splash in the opera world, releasing a much-acclaimed disc of Rossini arias, for instance. On his second recording, the young Peruvian tenor sticks firmly to the bel canto repertory, offering a varied program of arias by Bellini and Donizetti. All the qualities one admired on the Rossini album are here, too -- the sweet and easy tone, ringing high notes, natural musicianship, and emotional involvement with the characters. Indeed, Flórez seems to have honed his technique further, for his legato singing is even smoother than before, as one can hear in his exquisite rendition of the well-known title track ("Una furtiva lagrima" from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore). Then, in another infamous Donizetti aria ("Pour mon âme" from La Fille du régiment), he thrillingly leaps through a dangerous series of high C hurdles -- and how well this demonstration of bravado fits in with Tonio's character. As with the Rossini disc, this recital blends familiar and unfamiliar music, offering rarities from Donizetti's Rita (a marvelously jaunty number) and Elisabetta and Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi, alongside arias from Don Pasquale and I Puritani. Anyone who doubted that Flórez has the goods for a sustained career should be convinced by these stunning performances. The tenor may not ever be able to take on some of Pavarotti's signature roles -- Rodolfo in La Bohème, for example -- but so what? Flórez is clearly on his way to becoming the great tenore di grazia of our time.