wed 23/09/2020

Juan Diego Flórez, Royal Festival Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Juan Diego Flórez, Royal Festival Hall

Juan Diego Flórez, Royal Festival Hall

An audience on fire with delight despite a conspicuous absence of pyrotechnics

Juan Diego Flórez: An operatic star at sea in the recital hall

We’ve all seen singers go wrong. Forgetting words, missing entries, skipping verses – it happens often enough, and is generally cause for little more than some awkward laughter and a second attempt. Never, however, have I seen a wrong entry (as ill-luck would decree, in the only sacred work of the programme) greeted with a resonant expostulation of “Oh, shit” from the performer, followed by minor audience uproar and many apologies. It wasn’t the finest moment of the evening for Juan Diego Flórez, but – loath though I am to admit it – it wasn’t the worst either.

We’ve all seen singers go wrong. Forgetting words, missing entries, skipping verses – it happens often enough, and is generally cause for little more than some awkward laughter and a second attempt. Never, however, have I seen a wrong entry (as ill-luck would decree, in the only sacred work of the programme) greeted with a resonant expostulation of “Oh, shit” from the performer, followed by minor audience uproar and many apologies. It wasn’t the finest moment of the evening for Juan Diego Flórez, but – loath though I am to admit it – it wasn’t the worst either.

With his rather taut tone there is arguably little that he brings to such repertoire that could not find better and more subtle expression in lesser voices

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