As one of the world’s most talented tenors, Flórez has performed at almost all the famous opera houses around the globe. In his home country he has received the highest awards and perhaps the ultimate stamp of approval, a postage stamp issued with his portrait.

His father, Rubén Flórez, is the master of Peruvian waltz, and little Juan Diego, born in Lima on 13 January 1973, always wanted to follow in papa’s footsteps. In the beginning of his career he sang popular songs at the pub managed by his mother. He had to step in if the star of the night fell sick, so he quickly gained experience in many different genres, since it could easily happen that one night he had to sing traditional national songs and the next day Presley’s hits.

Remembering this period, he later said it was a very useful experience because, after all, every piece of well-structured music – be it jazz, opera or pop – is good music.

Apart from the pub performances, he was barely 16 years old when he won the first Peru song contest. His heart was finally taken by classical music: when he attended a zarzuela – a Spanish song play – his fate was sealed. He enrolled in Lima Conservatory, became the soloist of the National Choir and won a scholarship to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, US, studying there between 1993 and 1996.

In the beginning he mostly sang Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini roles, but when his voice matured and his diction became more powerful he turned to Mozart, Verdi and Puccini arias too.

It’s ironic that his first serious performance was an understudy role. In 1996, Flórez, only 23 years old, replaced a sick tenor at a Rossini Festival. He performed at Milan’s La Scala in the same year, then London’s Covent Garden, the New York Metropolitan and the Vienna Opera. By today there is hardly a place in the world where his special talent has not taken him yet.

His is a voice that is unparalleled among tenors, even in the bel canto (Italian: "beautiful singing") style. His high, bright tone makes the words flow easily and smoothly, his way of presentation is light and elegant, but still you can see both the Latin macho and lyrical delicacy in his eyes. It’s no wonder that he is one of the most sought tenors from throughout Europe to Japan – both hard-core opera fans and non-connoisseurs immediately react when hearing his voice.

He will be accompanied by the Danubia Orchestra from Óbuda when he sings at the Papp László Budapest Sportaréna Budapest on 22 October.


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