|Year of Birth:||1973|
Juan Diego Flórez (born January 13, 1973) is a Peruvian operatic tenor, particularly known for his roles in bel canto operas. On June 4, 2007, he received his country's highest decoration, the Knight Grand Cross in the Order of the Sun of Peru.
Juan Diego Flórez was born in Lima, Peru, on January 13, 1973 where his father, Rubén Flórez, was a noted guitarist and singer of Peruvian popular and criolla music. In an interview in the Peruvian newspaper Ojo, Flórez recounted his early days when his mother managed a pub with live music and he worked as a replacement singer whenever the main attraction called in sick. "It was a tremendous experience for me, since most of those who were regulars at the pub were of a certain age, so I had to be ready to sing anything from huaynos to Elvis Presley music and, in my mind, that served me a great deal because, in the final analysis, any music that is well structured—whether it is jazz, opera, or pop—is good music".
Initially intending to pursue a career in popular music, he entered the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Lima at the age of 17. His classical voice emerged in the course of his studies there. During this time, he became a member of the Coro Nacional of Peru and sang as a soloist in Mozart's Coronation Mass and Rossini's Petite messe solennelle.
He received a scholarship to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia where he studied from 1993 to 1996 and began singing in student opera productions in the repertory that is still his specialty today, Rossini and the bel canto operas of Bellini and Donizetti. During this period, he also studied with Marilyn Horne at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. In 1994 the Peruvian tenor, Ernesto Palacio invited him to Italy to work on a recording of Vicente Martín y Soler's opera Il Tutore Burlato. Palacio subsequently became Flórez's teacher, mentor and manager and has had a profound influence on his career.