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25 Jan 2015 19:00
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He's young, good- looking and he hasn't missed a top note yet! Juan Diego Florez..

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Juan Diego Flórez is talking about his voice, the most sought after, and most expensive, bel canto tenor in the world. Yet the 36-year-old Peruvian has something to confess. "I hate how I sing sometimes," he says. Frankly, I'm astonished. Not only has Flórez redefined the whole glass-shattering bel canto repertoire (Donizetti, Bellini and, above all, Rossini), but his effortless coloratura, stratospheric top Cs and marketable good looks have turned him into an international opera sensation.

Unlike his famous predecessors in the pantheon of top tenors, such as Pavarotti or Roberto Alagna, he has never missed a top C in a big performance, nor faced the ensuing boos. So how can he hate the sound he makes? "I have an ultra-critical character," he says. "I'm very bad to myself. It's a good thing in one way, since if you hate how you sing, you try to improve; but it's bad, because you don't enjoy as much your applause. You're thinking, 'Oh shit, I did that bad,' and maybe you're in a bad mood with your wife afterwards."

Flórez is currently receiving rave reviews for his appearance in Rossini's Matilde di Shabran at the Royal Opera House. It's the work that launched his career, in 1996. He was at the Rossini festival in Pesaro, Italy, and pulled off the greatest breakthrough in recent operatic history - learning the central part of Corradino in just two weeks.
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