Juan Diego Flórez

Una furtiva lagrima: Donizetti and Bellini Arias

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This is the second solo outing for Peruvian-born bel canto tenor Juan Diego Flórez, who, at the age of 30, is garnering high acclaim for his clear, loud voice and secure confidence, on-stage charisma, and outstanding sense of vocal expressiveness. Una furtima lagrima, indeed, is an earnest, earthy, easily accessible disc of arias, choral ensembles, and scenes drawn from works of Bellini and Donizetti. On this beautifully recorded Decca disc Flórez is helped out by the Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, conductor Riccardo Frizza, and vocal artists covering other roles in these operatic "bleeding chunks" including Nikola Mijailovic, Nicola Uliveri, and Ermonela Jaho. Rather than giving the impression of a presentation of fragmentary excerpts, this disc succeeds in being a celebration of the works of its composers with Flórez as the center of attention. Listening to this, one is tempted to draw a comparison of Flórez to mezzo soprano Cecilia Bartoli in that he prefers the lighter Classical and pre-Romantic repertoire over the heavier and more vocally taxing fare found in more mainstream composers such as Verdi and Puccini. This factor has pushed Bartoli further back into the Baroque and toward obscure works that have benefited her particular brand of artistry, much to the acclaim of Bartoli's legions of fans and critics alike. One wonders what will be the future course that Flórez will take, but for now this disc is an entirely satisfying blend of not-necessarily-all-that-familiar Bellini and Donizetti with a "hit" or two. Bravo Flórez! Bravo Decca! This is an unqualified triumph.

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