Una Furtiva Lagrima
Decca- 473 440-2(CD)

A Tenor Who Lives for High C's, New York Times, 6 April 2003
Juan Diego Flórez 'Una Furtiva Lagrima', Classics Today, April 2003
Juan Diego Flórez 'Una Furtiva Lagrima', Opera News, May 2003
Juan Diego Flórez: 'Una furtiva lagrima', Contra Costa Times, 1 June 2003
Juan Diego Flórez Una furtiva lagrima, El Cultural, 8 May 2003
"Comé gentil...", Filomusica, June 2003
See also Juan Diego Flórez Links for other online reviews, and A very particular kind of beauty

A Tenor Who Lives for High C's
Anne Midgette, New York Times, 6 April 2003

Tenor fans, take heart. Another solo album from Juan Diego Flórez, the
Peruvian claimant to the bel canto crown, is to appear on Tuesday. Under his
exclusive contract with Decca, Mr. Flórez follows the success of his
"Rossini Arias" last year with a disc devoted to Bellini and Donizetti, "Una
Furtiva Lagrima." Given the pattern of such contracts, we will probably see
a Christmas album, an album of sacred songs and one devoted to popular music
of Peru before the cycle either plays itself out or propels the singer to
some new "Flórez and Friends" Elysium. If they're all as good as "Una
Furtiva Lagrima" ("A Furtive Tear"), Decca can keep them coming.

Mr. Flórez does one thing very well: singing with a bright, brilliant sound.
His is a firm, small, lyric voice that anchors him in the bel canto
repertory. (Translation: if you hear him doing Verdi, you should worry.) It
has a hard, fast vibrato that can give it an almost bleating quality; but it
is mercifully un-nasal (rare today for this voice type), and it rises to a
fine, free top, which Mr. Flórez knows how to sustain in style.

If anything is missing, it's lissomeness, the sort of seductive ease
projected by the past Spanish master Alfredo Kraus or the young Luciano
Pavarotti. Mr. Flórez gets all the notes, but he can be a little too
correct. Take the famous aria from Donizetti's "Fille du Regiment," "Pour
mon âme," with its nine high C's; Mr. Flórez nails them all, yet without
communicating the piece's insouciant exuberance.

This may be splitting hairs. Certainly there is no one around today who does
this repertory better and no one I would rather hear in it. Mr. Flórez
negotiates it more nimbly than, say, Roberto Alagna, whose recent album "Bel
Canto" covered some of the same territory but whose heroic sound fits it
less well. "Una Furtiva Lagrima" (Decca 289 473 440-2) is also delightfully
constructed, alternating chestnuts ("A te, o cara," from Bellini's
"Puritani") with the less well known (the irresistible "Allegro io son,"
from Donizetti's "Rita"). To understand the excitement around Mr. Flórez,
you need only hear the radiant conclusion of "Povero Ernesto," from
Doizetti's "Don Pasquale." The man can sing.

Juan Diego Flórez 'Una Furtiva Lagrima'
Robert Levine, Classics Today, April 2003

By now the glories of Juan Diego Florez's voice and the way he uses it
should be well known: a stunning agility wedded to sweetness; an absolutely
even register from bottom to easy, focused top; a youthful, zesty, loving
approach to singing that communicates instantly; and an interest in the text
that completes the operatic picture. In the past he has been criticized for
producing some nasal tones, but they are nowhere to be found here. Indeed,
Florez's sound, which he is capable of darkening slightly to avoid a
sameness of tone that might try your ear over a period of more than an hour,
is now just right--natural, open, and skilled enough to sound

He sings nine selections here, from a sweet, gentle, unfussy rendition of
the aria from which the CD takes its title to Tonio's "A mes ami", with its
nine high-Cs, every one nailed right in its center and sounding like a note
rather than an effort. He interprets Ernesto's lament from Don Pasquale
without a hint of the whining that normally comes along with it, and the
high D-flat that caps its cabaletta is a beaut. "Com'e gentil" never quite
works out of context and it doesn't here either; indeed, it's the only
non-impressive piece in the recital, lacking the dreaminess it requires.
Tebaldo's recitative and aria from I Capuleti is delivered with strength and
conviction, and the cabaletta has plenty of passion. A scena from the
recently discovered Elisabetta proves itself fascinating, and it's good to
hear it sung with conviction. (The accompanying notes tell us nothing about
the opera itself. In fact, it is a revised version of the composer's Otto
Mesi in due Ore, also known as L'esiliati in Siberia. The score was found in
a basement in Covent Garden in 1984.)

Florez's smooth legato and morbidezza are in evidence in Arturo's "A te o
cara", and for once the huge leap to high C-sharp is elegant and expressive
rather than a lunge. A scene from La sonnambula exhibits the tenor's ability
with exclamatory singing, and he manages to express the character's anger
and grief (not to mention those remarkable high notes again). Last, but
first on the recital, is an oddity from Donizetti's Rita, in which the
singer giddily expresses his joy at being a bachelor again. It's a sheer
delight and you'll want to hear it again the moment it's over.

Decca has provided a classy frame for Florez: conductor Riccardo Frizza
seems to really know his bel canto, his orchestra plays handsomely
(including the difficult horn solo in the first Don Pasquale aria), and a
chorus and supporting singers are provided to make scenes complete. The
chorus is good; the less said the better about the lackluster soprano who
sings Amain and Elvira; and the others are good enough. This is a major CD
by a major artist--a must for lovers of great tenorizing.

Juan Diego Flórez 'Una Furtiva Lagrima'
William R. Braun, Opera News, May 2003

Arias by Donizetti and Bellini. With Jaho; Mjalovic, Ulivieri; Orchestra
Sinfonica e Coro di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Frizza. Texts and translations.
Decca 473 440-2

Metropolitan Opera audiences of late have been cheering Juan Diego Flórez in
La Cenerentola and Il Barbiere di Siviglia as if he were the prima donna, no
small achievement on the tenor's part. But Flórez's real calling card has
been the role of Elvino in high-profile productions of La Sonnambula at La
Scala and Covent Garden. Indeed Elvino proves the highlight here. Flórez
caresses the intervals, phrases over the barlines with expressive urgency
and sounds unbelievably young. There are complimentary virtues in a scene
from Donizetti's Elisabetta, where whole sections of recitative are grouped
into fulfilling paragraphs, and where the cabaletta is sung with great
integrity, nothing skirted or faked. And the showcase scene from Don
Pasquale might even be a little too real for the music to bear; there is no
hint of parody in this interpretation. But Flórez keeps it engrossing, with
the first verse of the cabaletta still a bit melancholy and the clouds
lifting only for the second. Tebaldo's "È serbato a questo acciaro," from I
Capuleti e i Montecchi, shows more than just the grim determination to make
it through that is often heard in music of this difficulty.

Flórez is still young. Experience onstage in more of these roles and the
building of stamina may well put him at the top of his profession. Right
now, held notes tend to loosen a little (though without going out of tune),
and his approach to ornamentation is still only a step beyond come scritto.
The last bit of elegant dash is missing from the famous La Fille du Régiment
aria. Marcelo Álvarez has the edge here among recent recordings, though
Decca's production for Flórez happily includes the whole scene for this and
the other selections, complete with chorus and soloists. The end result is
mixed, however, as the choral singers are an unruly lot and the supporting
cast members do not distinguish themselves. The engineers have done no
favors to Flórez's voice. The spotlit balance, an attempt to make him into a
power tenor on record that he is not in life, makes him sound more nasal
than he does live and turns the little dust-bunny of an aria from
Donizetti's Rita into something almost manic. But back on the plus side,
conductor Riccardo Frizza is one to watch; he elicits a satisfying amount of
rubato in the introduction to "A te, o cara," from I Puritani, and
effortlessly conjures up the jolly mood for Rita. Orchestral solos, such as
the Puritani horn and the famous Don Pasquale trumpet solo that found its
way into Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, are well taken.

The bel canto repertoire proves its durability again and again. Flórez, it's
already clear, has made himself indispensable for the next chapter.

Juan Diego Flórez: 'Una furtiva lagrima'
Georgia Rowe, Contra Costa Times, 1 June 2003

Flórez, who will appear in the San Francisco Opera production of La
Cenerentola, opening Saturday, is a true Rossini tenor, and this new disc -
the follow-up to his solo debut recording, "Rossini Arias" - shows that he
has a promising future in a wider range of bel canto roles.

Singing operatic selections by Bellini and Donizetti, the Peruvian tenor
employs the same bright tone, smooth legato and thoughtful musicianship that
made his earlier recording a surprise hit. Flórez has no trouble hitting the
high notes - as he does, seemingly effortlessly, in the daunting series of
high Cs during "Pour mon âme" from Donizetti's La fille du régiment. But he
is also capable of elegant understatement, and that quality is what makes
him an artist to watch.

Consider, for example, his tender performance of the title track. Many
tenors have sung Nemorino's famous aria from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore,
but Flórez approaches it with remarkable freshness, letting the music speak
for itself. Compare it to the fussy, overly ornamented version recently
recorded by Roberto Alagna and you'll see why Flórez, 30, has already been
named one of the leading tenors of his generation.

The disc also includes music from Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Elisabetta and
Rita, and Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi, La sonnambula and I puritani.
Flórez receives warm, luxuriant support from conductor Riccardo Frizza and
the Giuseppe Verdi Chorus and Symphony Orchestra of Milan.

Juan Diego Flórez Una furtiva lagrima
Gonzalo Alonso, El Cultural, 8 May 2003

Se publica el segundo disco de recital de Juan Diego Flórez tras su
impactante y espectacular compacto dedicado a Rossini. El presente no lo es
tanto ya que el repertorio es mucho menos dado a pirotécnias, pero en él se
aprecian todas las cualidades de un tenor sobresaliente. Posiblemente no
haya hoy ningún otro que en el repertorio en que se encuadre de la misma
talla que Flórez en el suyo.

Curiosamente la selección se abre con una pieza de la "Rita" que ha ofrecido
el Real hace poco, para cerrarse con la espectacular cavatina de "La hija
del regimiento" y sus nueve does. Junto a páginas que suele ofrecer en sus
recitales, como la de "Capuletos y Montescos" encontramos el "a te o cara"
de "Puritani", acompañado de un conjunto discreto y esa joya que es el
"Cercheró lontana terra" del "Don Pasquale", cantada como todas con un gusto
exquisito, fraseando y haciendo música con un timbre luminoso. Para no

"Comé gentil..."
Pedro Coco, Filomusica, 41º -  June 2003

Un nuevo ejemplo del buen hacer de Juan Diego Flórez, y el perfecto complemento a su primera grabación de arias de Rossini, llega ahora con una selección de los otros dos compositores de la tríada belcantista por excelencia: Vincenzo Bellini y Gaetano Donizetti.

Además de las conocidas, y de obligado registro en su caso, escenas de Puritani, L'elisir, Don Pasquale... donde asombra la capacidad para hacernos olvidar a varios de los más grandes intérpretes de éstas -o al menos hacerle un hueco junto a ellos en nuestra memoria -, se presentan arias de óperas menos conocidas que refrescan la escucha y alejan la idea de considerar a este disco el enésimo recital del primo ottocento italiano.

Una depurada técnica (cojeando en cierto modo desde el punto de vista de la respiración), un timbre arrebatador, uso del legato de absoluto maestro y gran maleabilidad en la voz para conseguir mil y un matices, son las armas de Flórez, que sin lugar a dudas, y junto a Marcelo Álvarez, será uno de los tenores más redondos de este siglo que empieza.

Muy acertada la primera pista, una simpática y comprometida aria de Rita-en italiano-, con la que nos deja claro desde el primer momento que no teme a ninguna partitura, por endiablada que sea. Acabando con el aria de Tonio, la famosa de los nueve Do (y que se permite bisar sin cansancio aparente en sus recitales), el sabor que nos queda es de lo más dulce.

Aristocracia y arrojo en el aria de Tebaldo, donde es muy de agradecer la inclusión de unas leves y elegantes variaciones en la cabaletta, que culmina estratosféricamente tras numerosos alardes canoros para delicia del aficionado más exigente.

Junto a él, algunos colegas habituales del festival rossiniano de Pesaro, entre los cuales destaca la soprano Ermonela Jaho, que junto con Darina Takova es la apuesta más fuerte que poseen para las óperas Colbran.

La dirección del joven Riccardo Frizza y la siempre eficiente orquesta Verdi de Milán, habitual de este sello y también acompañante en el anterior recital del tenor, no hacen en absoluto descender el nivel del disco, y suponen una figura clave del éxito del mismo.

Tarda ya demasiado tiempo DECCA en unir musicalmente a sus dos valores líricos más firmes, este fabuloso tenor y la mezzosoprano Cecilia Bartoli. Hay suficiente repertorio común como para llenar los archivos de grandes joyas a la altura de las parejas más populares de la historia del disco. La Sonnambula, La Donna del Lago, Elisabetta, L'Italiana in Algeri... hay tanto donde elegir...


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