Juan Diego Flórez is one of the world’s most respected bel canto tenors. He has sung roles from Verdi to Donzetti operas and his performance of Pour mon ame... Ah mes amis from Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment at La Scala in Milan in 2007 broke the theatre’s 74 year old tradition of no encores.

His return to the Rosenblatt Recitals has been much anticipated and a large audience turned out to hear him. His first aria was Se all’impero from Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. Vocally, this was a slow start: his voice didn’t seem to be warm and his unique vocal colour wasn’t as predominant as when I had previously heard him at Covent Garden. The first part of the recital continued in this manner until he sang Rossini’s La promessa which was the first song where I heard his usual colour. There was then a short break for Flórez as his accompanist Vincenzo Scalera took the stage to play Rossini’s Piano Prelude from Musique Anodine. Scalera is a talented pianist by any account and was a marvelous accompanist for the evening’s recital. For his final song of the first part, Flórez sang Qui toillis peccata mundi from Rossini’s Messa di gloria.

The best was yet to come as we entered the second part of the recital. He finally found his true voice with Vainement ma bein-aimée from Lalo’s Le Roi D’Ys and Donizetti’s Ange si pur. He treated these with delicacy and care which really compelled me to his performance. Flórez’s interpretation of Prado’s No por amor was definitely one to be desired. Flórez sang a successful finale of Verdi’s Pietoso al lungo pianto from one Verdi’s early operas Un giorno di regno and the recital ended to a overwhelming roar from the audience, who then commanded two encores, which were beautifully performed with power and substance.

Flórez did impress on various songs and arias throughout the recital but also unfortunately faltered. Listening to him you can sometimes be cast under a magical spell and the attention of your eyes and ears are stuck on Flórez. The effect wore off on some occasions, but when you were under the spell you really wanted to stay there. His ornamentation is always just perfect and way Flórez expands on various melodies is superb, also his movement while on stage created an engaging performance.