I recall the first time I heard Juan Diego Florez: it was his CD "The Rossini Tenor", and we wallowed in the stunning range and agility, as well as the basic beauty of his voice. It is not an overstatement that JDF was a significant factor in the "Rossini Renaissance" since tenors who could really handle what Rossini dished out were not. Oh, some very capable lyric tenors tried, but the technique of the time did not lend itself to agility and range. The DVDs of the ROF's Zelmira, Matilde di Shabran, Le Comte Ory and I Puritani issued, and we saw a talented actor, as well as a marvellous singer.
Then I read that as he passed 40, JDF was "re-evaluating his technique" and essaying roles that were heavier. I wondered if this incredible singer was going to ruin his voice as many tenors have by going for parts that were not in sync with the voice. O me of little faith!
The arias from Werther are perfectly executed as is the aria from Romeo and Juiliette. Are they more dramatic parts vocally than Rossini? You bet! But every aria on this disc is near perfect in execution, and where weight is needed, there is no sign of strain or forcing. The aria from Lakme, "Fantasie aux divins mesonges" is enough to make one weep.
While JDF will probably (and hopefully) eschew late Verdi, the maturing of his voice has this fan wondering what will come next. I sense an intelligent mangement of vocal resources here and the future looks quite bright.
Now if we can only get the DVD moguls to issue La Donna Del Lago from the ROH and the Guillaume Tell from the ROF, both of last year that brightness will be incandescent!
Don't pass on this one, gentle reader; it's a winner!