Juan Diego Flórez stars in an all-new recording of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, available April 20 on Decca

For his first major opera role recording outside of the bel canto repertory, Flórez sings the 1774 Paris version of Gluck’s beloved opera

Acclaimed for his appearances in the operas of Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini, Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez explores new territory with this recording of Gluck’s opera, Orphée et Eurydice. Flórez reclaims the leading role of Orphée (Orfeo) for male singers, as the opera was originally written. This recording, featuring Flórez in his first major role outside of the bel canto repertory for which he is acclaimed, offers the listener the chance to experience a different aspect of the tenor’s musical personality and remarkable ability. The 2-CD set, recorded live, will be available from Decca on April 20, 2010.

Like many operas, Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice went through many revisions and changes over the years. Originally written in Italian (Orfeo ed Euridice) for the 1762 premiere in Vienna, the opera featured a castrato in the lead role. Later, for performances in Parma in 1769, Gluck transposed Orfeo’s part up to accommodate another castrato in the lead role. For Gluck’s third and final version, the opera was translated into French, expanded and re-orchestrated, and notably re-scored for a haute-contre, the type of high-tenor voice found in heroic roles in French opera at the time. This voice type was all the rage in France as the castrati, so famous elsewhere in Europe, were decidedly looked down upon.

It is this third version that has been recorded to display the remarkable and unique talents of Juan Diego Flórez: his warm and supple voice easily encompassing the demanding tessitura required of the role while spinning long legato lines of melody throughout. Other tenors in modern history have performed and recorded the role (notably Nicolai Gedda and Léopold Simoneau) but none have matched the effortless delivery and virile phrasing that Flórez can bring to the part.

For this performance, recorded live at concerts given in May and June of 2008, Flórez is joined by sopranos Ainhoa Garmendia and Alessandra Marianelli in the roles of Eurydice and L’Amour, respectively. Spanish conductor Jesús López-Cobos leads the Coro y Orquesta Titular del Teatro Real.

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