JUSTINO DIAZ SINGS "MADAMINA, IL CATALOGO E QUESTO", LEPORELLO'S ARIA FROM MOZART'S "DON GIOVANNI", opera, K. 527
JUSTINO DIAZ came to international prominence at the age of 23 when he made his debut at Carnegie Hall opposite Dame Joan Sutherland in a concert performance of I Puritani. A few months later he made his Metropolitan Opera debut and became the youngest bass ever to sing there. That same year he also made impressive debuts with the London Symphony Orchestra, chosen by Lorin Maazel, Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, and the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell. Three years later, at the age of 26, he inaugurated the new Met in Lincoln Center opposite Leontyne Price in the world premiere of Samuel Barber's opera Antony and Cleopatra. By the time he was 35 he had sung in all the world's great musical centers.
Although he has sung all over the world perhaps his natural operatic home has been the Metropolitan Opera where he has sung 398 performances of 39 roles in 23 seasons including eight new productions and six opening nights. Some of the many other roles he has sung there include Don Giovanni, Figaro, Macbeth, Iago, Scarpia, Mephistopheles, Escamillo, Padre Guardiano in La Forza del Destino, Alvise in La Gioconda, Basilio in The Barber of Seville, Maometto II in The Siege of Corinth, Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Count Rodolfo in La Sonnambula, as well as Raimondo, Ramphis, Colline, Sparafucile and the Grand Inquisitor. With the New York City Opera, he performed the title roles of Mephistopheles, Attila, Julius Caesar, Don Giovanni (and Leporello). He created the role of Francesco Cenci in the world premiere of Beatrix Cenei by Alberto Ginastera, the first opera presented at the new Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Ginastera also wrote for Justino Díaz a piece for Baritone, Percussion and Cello with a text by Pablo Neruda, which was premiered by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
He has sung such diverse operatic roles as Don Giovanni, Figaro, Iago, Scarpia, Macbeth, Rigoletto, Count di Luna, Germont, Gerard, Michele, Jack Rance, Boccanegra, Escamillo, Mephistopheles, Alvise, Phillip II, Attila, four villains in the Tales of Hoffmann and Cristoforo Colombo, under conductors that include Levine, Kleiber, von Karajan, Bernstein, Karl Böhm, and the legendary Pablo Casals. The list of stage directors he has worked with is no less impressive as it includes such names as Franco Zeffirelli, Gunther Renert, Goetz Friederich, Gian Carlo Menotti, Sarah Caldwell, Ponnelle, Mansouri, Eduardo de Filippo, Tito Capobianco, Ian Judge, Piero Faggione, Nuria Espert, Jonathan Miller, and Pilar Miró.
His many recordings of Operas and Oratorios include Messiah, Otello, Semele, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Wally, L'Assedio di Corinto, La Pietra del Paragone, The Tales of Hoffmann, Rossini's Stabat Mater for the labels Deutsche Grammophon, RCA Sony, EMI, London, Vanguard and ASV. Among his numerous videos is the famous Zeffirelli movie of Otello which features him as Iago opposite Placido Domingo's Moor as well as various telecasts from different opera houses including the Metropolitan, San Francisco and most recently he sang the title role in El Gato Montes for Los Angeles which was seen nationwide on PBS.
Justino Díaz was born in Puerto Rico where he sings regulary. He studied at the University of Puerto Rico with further studies in opera, music and voice at the New England Conservatory in Boston from which he received and Honorary Doctorate Degree in Music. He is the recipient of the Handel Medallion, New York City's highest cultural award, as well as several Honorary Doctorate degrees -- including the New England Conservatory and the Universities of Puerto Rico and El Turabo. At the Conservatory of music he is visiting professor of voice to advanced students.