Just Stick to Singing, Juan Diego!
At the Salzburg Festival this week he offered a recital of Italian and French art songs that clearly displayed his astounding vocal technique. Accompanied by Vincenzo Scalera, Flórez was in splendid voice, and the audience was enormously receptive of his choice of repertory. He offered as an encore "Fra poco a me ricovero" from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, which was heartbreaking, and wonderfully received.
Then he returned to the stage with a guitar. This is when things started getting a little weird. He took off his bow tie and hurled it away (it landed inside the piano), and went on to sing "Besame mucho." Mr. Scalera returned to the piano, and accompanied him in a rousing rendition of Agustin Lara's "Granada." By this time Mr. Flórez had gotten way too playful with his audience. He started comically reaching for his throat, as if telling the audience that he was running out of gas. Nothing doing, though: as a final encore he launched into the nine C's of the aforementioned "A mes amis" each high note beautifully placed. However, by the end of the aria once again he started mugging for the audience, making a joke of the vocal gymnastics required to sing this piece. Let us just say that comedy is not Mr. Flórez's forte. I often feel that his comic timing lags behind the beat, and this was clearly evident at the stage of the Großes Festspielhaus this week. He just wasn't as funny as he thought he was, and it took away from the beauty of his remarkable singing. Just stick to singing, Juan Diego!
Below is the concert in its entirety.