A gesture of friendship

We have received the following translation of an article in Corriere della Sera from friend of RossiniAmerica, Luca Damaschi. It is a review of the historic recital by Juan Diego Florez at La Scala. Luca was kind enough to translate it and share it. It is difficult to translate articles from newspapers and still give the flavor of the original. We say – GRAZIE

From “Corriere della Sera “ 21st June 2015 by Giuseppina Manin

Mr. 50 minutes (of applauses)
Tenor Flòrez triumphs at La Scala with seven encores: “And I had a cough ….My mother had to sell her old car to get me sing”

Milan “I immediately realized that it would not be easy to go on with such an irritating catarrh….And I was just at the beginning. I thought about the string of pieces waiting for me, more and more difficult. Would I sing at my best?”.
The day after the recital, Juan Diego Flòrez remembers with some thrill and much emotion that bizarre evening, begun in a such poorly brilliant way and concluded in a triumph.
Fifty minutes of applauses, twelve calls to the stage, seven encores and one standing ovation. “Something extraordinary happened” says the Peruvian tenor who, after some défailliances and a sudden cough, spoke to the audience: “It is jus a bit of catarrh. Forgive me”. Sincere admission greeted with an applause. “The public is with me, I told myself. Strong nerves and come on! I had to forget a bit about the voice and concentrate myself on interpretation. I sang the aria from Il Turco in Italia by Rossini like if it were a fairy tale. And it worked very well. But I could not relax yet! The following aria T’amo qual s’ama un angelo from Lucrezia Borgia by Donizetti is extremely tricky. But in the program…” And he sang it. With such a passion to make the house bring down. “In that moment, the worst had gone. The second part, all French, Duparc, Massenet, Gounod was easier”. In the meantime the voice had come back, stronger, unscratchable to any vocal chords’ whim.
The last aria L’amour! L’amour! makes the audience unstoppable. The popular uprising, the great audience acclaim recalls Flòrez back to the stage so many times that the encore is inevitable. Not one, but seven. Marked by applauses and enthusiasms more and more uncontrollable. It seemed like being at San Siro (Milan Stadium), instead of at La Scala. He plays the game and make little jokes with the audience, which encourages him to sing now this or that piece. He approached the piano, where the Maestro Vincenzo Scalera was sitting, he takes a score and, as if he were a waiter, he pretended to take orders. “Is there anyone who wants an Amatriciana too?” he jokes. “Also I felt like if I had reached the stars. When a certain atmosphere is estabilished, I like to break barriers. Juan Diego Flòrez did not wait to be asked. One piece from La belle Hélène, the inevitable Una furtiva lagrima, then Granada and the aria from Martha by Flotow. He says no only to “the nine Cs” from La Figlia del Reggimento, but that evening was not the right moment….” He started then with a Peruvian song which sparks off the excitement of his fellow countrymen present in the theatre. “Hurray for Peru!” they say. “Hurray for Italy! Hurray for Milan! Hurray for La Scala” answers Flòrez, extremely tied up to Italy.
Regarding La Scala, are singers really so scared of this theatre? “Each concert here is special. There is more tension, a more prepared audience, more severe. You arrive at the stage with more fear, but also with more respect. I made my debut at La Scala at the age of 23, the 4th of July I will come back for the Otello by Rossini in the inaccessible role of Rodrigo. And next year I will celebrate my 20 year engagement with La Scala. I feel at home here”. As a homage to Italy he sang Torna a Surriento. “It is a song that I love very much. My grandfather sang it and my grandmother accompanied at the piano….When as a boy I left Lima for the first time for an audition in New York, in my pockets I had just the flight ticket and few dollars. All that my mother had scrapes together by selling her old car. In order to pay my meals, I went into the underground and opened my guitar case. And after Surriento that case was full of bright small size coins. A really magic song. I have not forgotten those difficult origins. “My family was poor, but the real poverty is another thing. You can fight it also with music”. In 2011 he established Sinfonia por el Perù, foundation that according to the Venezuelan System addresses more needy young. “Until now three thousand boys and girls have found in our orchesters and choirs an alternative to decay and crime. In order to collect funds, last year the Harmonia Orchestra was founded. It collects musician coming from similar projects. And next year in Vienna I will open an academy where famous singers will come and teach to young talents, who are not able to pay their studies themselves”. Boys from the world, like if all of them were a bit as his sons. “But my blood sons are the small two kids, Leadro and Lucia”. Of course they are born for music…” Lucia, one year and half year old, is able to already sing very well, if I start an aria she concludes it. She will become a soprano” daddy says as a prophet. And Leandro? “Perhaps he will sing as well. It does not need so much to be a tenor. You know as people say, tenor head…..”

Giuseppina Manin

La Scala records:
Marylin Horne, American mezzosorpano, 1987 half an our of encores.
Teresa Berganza, Spanish mezzosoprano, 1988 nine encores, almost one hour more.
Leo Nucci, Italian Baritono, 2007 seven encores, three quarters of an hour.
Jonas Kaufmann, some days ago, five encores, forty minutes of applauses.