Vincenzo Scalera, Piano
Decca Classics | September 11, 2015
I grew up with the sound of Caruso and Pavarotti’s joyful singing in my ears. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time in Italy during my career, appearing most years in Pesaro’s Rossini Festival. So naturally I was eager to record my own versions of these Italian and Neapolitan favorites. Who doesn’t love these songs? They’re great fun and transport you to the heart of Italy you can actually hear the sunshine! I was pleased to have some special friends join me on this album. They have all helped give it a unique sound which I hope you’ll enjoy!
– Juan Diego
All the classic favorites are here from O Sole Mio to Arriverderci Roma, Mattinata and Non ti scordar di me and to breathe fresh life into this well-known music many of the songs have been newly arranged to evoke the feel of an authentic Neapolitan café band. For these Juan Diego is joined by the star mandolin player Avi Avital and acclaimed accordionist Ksenija Sidorova. Best-selling guitarist Craig Ogden also joins Juan Diego for two songs.
To complete the full Italian flavor these recordings were made in the Italian seaside resort of Fano, just south of Pesaro where Juan Diego makes his summer home as Pavarotti did before him. For the orchestral tracks the Pesaro-based Filarmonica Giacchino Rossini is conducted by the gifted young Italian Carlo Tenan.
“This album perfectly complements Juan Diegos first disc of popular songs Sentimento Latino which sold in excess of 80,000 copies. The Peruvian and Latin American songs on that album have a strong connection with the older repertory of Neapolitan song. Both showcase Florezs uniquely distinctive sound: His elegant, focused tone rang out clean and clear, with his famous high register the money-notes for a tenor of his distinction not just firm but flamboyant.”
“This disc of Italian songs by Flórez is a ray of sunshine . . . showcasing the tenor’s talent for showmanship . . .
An impossibly parked red sportscar and a beaming Juan Diego Flórez greet us on the cover of this collection of Italian songs. The Peruvian tenor promises that we ‘can actually hear the sunshine’, and he’s not wrong. Many great operatic tenors have tackled this repertoire before – Luciano Pavarotti, Franco Corelli and Giuseppe di Stefano, to name but three – and it’s to Flórez’s credit that he delivers it just as idiomatically as his Italian counterparts.
Many of the old favourites are there, including ‘Marechiare’, ‘Torna a Surriento’ and the ubiquitous ‘O sole mio’, and Flórez’s bright tone suits them perfectly. He oozes charm in ‘Arrivederci Roma’ and ‘Volare’ . . .”
Rating: 5 stars
“Ahora le toca el turno a Juan Diego Flórez tenor de voz hermosa, de amplio registro, dotado de una musicalidad y un buen gusto que siempre se pone de manifiesto en sus interpretaciones. Flórez canta ahora a la Italia más popular, a la que nos evoca las calles napolitanas llenas de colorido y de intensa vida, las que nos llevan en alas de la nostalgia hasta Sicilia. O simplemente las que nos hacen evocar la ciudad de las ciudades, Roma, a la que siempre se quiere volver.”