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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 December 2014
Juan Diego Florez has been the premier Rossini tenor for while now -- a man able to negotiate the florid passages of Rossini with expressiveness, musicianship, and security. If he stopped singing tomorrow, his place in singing history would be pretty secure, I believe. Here he is trying his hand at more lyrical material from the later 19th Century French repertoire. It's pretty much a total success; in fact, I like the lyrical material better than I do the obvious display pieces, and I don't think there's any doubt that should he go on to tackle, say, Werther, Fernand, and Romeo he would be very effective. My only reservation is that his voice lacks the warmth and roundness of Vargas, Bjoerling, and company, but he can't do anything about that. His voice is what it is, and he has total mastery of it. My standard for the Romance in "La Dame Blanche" ("Viens, gentille dame") has been Wunderlich's account (sung in German). It's beautiful and it's thrilling -- but Florez doesn't simplify the florid writing (which Wunderlich does a bit), and he paces the sections with nice attention to the text and the mood. And his attack on the high notes is all you could ask for. Likewise, in "Au Mont Ida," I had always favored the young Bjoerling's version in Swedish -- an amazing piece of singing. Florez (or perhaps Roberto Abbado, the fine conductor here) paces the piece with more variety, and Florez's account is just wonderful too. In Romeo's big aria. "Ah, Leve-too, soleil . .," Florez is slower than Vargas, and that works expressively (sounding more rapt than ardent -- both viable options), and he rises thrillingly to the climax. The Serenade from Bizet's "La Jolie Fille de Perth" is a lovely piece I hadn't heard before, and it's really nice here. Closer to the standard repertory, Florez's Fernand from "La Favorite" is done powerfully (it's the duet with Balthasar from Act 1), and his Werther is just superb. Florez is a great singer -- the Jonas Kaufmann of the lighter-voiced set -- and he sounds totally committed dramatically to all the selections here. Great stuff.
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on 17 May 2014
Juan Diego Flórez's French disc is a delight from start to finish. There is a good mixture of well-known and lesser known arias in this selection and each of them is sung with style by Flórez. The aria from Le Postillon de Longjumeau, by Adolphe Adam, who also wrote Cantique de Noel/O Holy Night, is very enjoyable. Among my other favourites are the arias from Les Troyens and Lakmé. Overall, then, a beautiful disc and well worth buying.
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on 4 April 2014
What a great voice. I have nearly every recording made by JDF and have heard him three times live - once in recital! This CD is a wonderful addition to my collection. It may be the quality of the recording, but it seems his voice is getting warmer as he ages. The songs on this CD are difficult, providing Juan a chance to display all the qualities of his wonderful voice. Bravo!
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on 24 January 2017
I was looking through my collection today for something different and found this disc which I'd forgotten. I've always been a Flórez fan, so I thought, 'Here's something I'll enjoy'. Regrettably, I now know why I'd forgotten it. I am a little surprised by the highly complimentary reviews on this page. Several of the items on this disc are disappointing, in that they show signs of tiredness in the voice and some weakening of technique. Flórez has always been a man of the high C's and he has previously shown an ability to pluck them out of the air like cherries from a tree. But there is now, occasionally, resort to that old tenor trick of going for a lower note and then sliding up to the true note. And some of his high notes are no longer too pleasant to listen to. Some of them are shouted, some are more like a shriek - they remind one of Rossini's cruel comment about Gilbert-Louis Duprez' attempts at the high C with full voice (do di petto) as 'the squawk of a capon having its throat cut'.

It pains me to write like this about someone whose work I have previously greatly admired and I must add that there is some fine legato singing here in several of the arias, especially from 'La Favorite', and a brief but very beautiful falsetto in 'Viens, gentille dame'. Overall, however, his interpretation of these French works does not match the achievement of Alagna's early collection of French arias. If you would like to hear how 'Ah, leve-toi, soleil' should be sung, listen to Alagna's Covent Garden performance of 1994 as available on Youtube.

I have written in my review of his disc 'Santo' of Flórez' superb performance of the tenor arias from Handel's 'Messiah'. I wish he would mine that field rather than seeking constantly displaying his upper register, which is, sadly, beginning to show signs of wear and tear. If you buy this album you may well, like the other reviewers, find much to admire; on the other hand, you may, like me, listen and then put it on the shelf and forget it for a year.
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on 15 April 2014
This new CD, his first for 4 years, is not what I expected (managed to get a copy some weeks back) - the old Florez is still there with his agility and fearless high notes but the voice is now warmer and rounder. Good selection of material from French opera of 1800s, I liked the pieces from Adam (Postillon de Lonjumeau), Offenbach (La Belle Helene -yaeh!!), Boieldieu (Viens, gentile dame) and his 'Pourquoi me reveiller' is as good as Pavarotti's. To get an appreciation of not just his beautiful sound but the mastery of his instrument – have a listen from about 3:20 on the Donizetti La Favorite track, just before the old priest comes back in – it’s really quite amazing. So yes he probably IS the best legato tenor alive at the moment with a voice that is just a gift for all!
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on 25 August 2014
Florez shows of his immaculate French as well as his new, varied repertoire in this selection of well and lesser known arias from French opera. A joy to listen to!
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on 10 July 2015
As always JDF singing is superb even though French is not his native language he still sound very convincing. No doubt he has heard Roberto Alagna who uses French as his language of choice.
I particularly liked the French version of Le Postillon de Lonjumeau as I was used to the German version sung masterfully by Nicolas Gedda with some of the highest notes a tenor could reach. Here JDF does this aria justice.
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on 15 October 2015
As always CD quality very good, packaging very good and delivery as stated on the e-mail confirmation of my order
Thank you
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on 23 October 2014
Good mix of arias from one of the world's great tenors
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on 25 February 2016
As usual great singer does not disappoint me.
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