Part of: Great Singers I
With his expressive singing and performances on the world’s leading stages, Juan Diego Flórez has established himself as one of opera’s greatest talents. His generosity, charisma, and passion inspire his many philanthropic endeavors, in addition to his acclaimed operatic appearances and recordings.
Born in Lima, Mr. Flórez began singing and playing Peruvian folk and pop music at an early age, later studying at Peru’s National Conservatory of Music, and eventually winning a scholarship to the renowned Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In 1996, he made his professional debut at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, stepping in at the last minute to sing the leading role of Corradino in Matilde di Shabran. Despite the short preparation time, his debut was a triumph and marked the beginning of his stellar career. A singular voice and astonishing agility made Mr. Flórez an overnight sensation and led to another debut that year, at the age of 23, in the opening of La Scala’s 1996–1997 season conducted by Riccardo Muti. Since then, he has made regular appearances at all the major international opera houses and venues with the world’s leading conductors.
Mr. Flórez has recorded numerous solo albums, as well as complete operas on CD and DVD. He has been recognized as one of the best tenors in history by the BBC, and has received numerous accolades and awards, including the Gran Cruz de la Orden El Sol—Peru’s highest distinction—and the Austrian government’s title of Kammersänger.
In 2011, Mr. Flórez founded Sinfonía por el Perú, an inclusive social project inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema, which aims to enhance the personal and artistic development of the country’s most vulnerable children and youth through music. In recognition of his work, he was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 2012 and awarded the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum in 2014.
Vincenzo Scalera was born in New Jersey to Italian-American parents and began piano studies at the age of five. He graduated from the Manhattan School of Music and worked as assistant conductor with the New Jersey State Opera. He continued his studies in Italy and, in 1980, joined the musical staff of Milan’s Teatro alla Scala as coach and pianist, assisting conductors Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, and Carlos Kleiber, among others.
Mr. Scalera has participated in many important music festivals, including Edinburgh, Valle d’Itria, Jerusalem, Istanbul, Les Chorégies d’Orange, Carinthischer Sommer, Salzburg, and the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro. He has been heard in the world’s music centers accompanying such celebrated singers as Andrea Bocelli, Montserrat Caballé, Juan Diego Flórez, Leyla Gencer, Vittorio Grigolo, Raina Kabaivanska, Katia Ricciarelli, Cesare Siepi, Lucia Valentini Terrani, and others.
His discography includes Sumi Jo’s La Promessa, Renata Scotto’s Verdi: Complete Songs, Carlo Bergonzi’s Canzone: The Art of Bel Canto and Carlo Bergonzi in Concert, and José Carreras’s The Comeback Concerts, plus three recitals with Mr. Carreras on video. Documenting his extensive collaboration with Mr. Bergonzi is a concert video entitled Bergonzi Celebrates Gigli, repeating the program they performed together in a highly acclaimed 1985 Carnegie Hall recital. As a harpsichordist, he recorded the soundtrack to the video of Rossini’s La Cenerentola under the direction of Claudio Abbado, and the world premiere recording of Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims, also with Mr. Abbado.
Mr. Scalera is a Steinway Artist and currently serves on the staff of the Teatro alla Scala’s Accademia d’Arti e Mestieri.