Ronald Blum, Associated Press:

It’s not often that a tenor has it all–youth, looks and a sweet, soaring voice.

Juan Diego Florez put the complete package together Thursday night with a smashing Metropolitan Opera debut in Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia.”

After living in Philadelphia from 1993-96 while studying at The Curtis Institute of Music, the Peruvian tenor made his career in Europe, beginning with a breakthrough appearance in 1996 at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy, where he took over at short notice in “Matilde di Shabran.”

Since then, he has appeared at La Scala, The Royal Opera, the Paris Opera and the Vienna State Opera, mostly in coloratura roles such as Count Almaviva, who wins Rosina’s heart in “The Barber of Seville,” as the opera is known in English.

Florez, who turns 29 on Sunday, thrilled the crowd at the Met on Thursday night. In the opening act, his voice sounded a little on the light side, perhaps a sign of nervousness. It got stronger as the night went on and he held the final high note in “Cessa di piu resistere” (“Give up your resistance”) for at least 10 seconds.


Happy 88th birthday baritone Sherrill Milnes.

Happy 76h birthday bass-baritone James Morris.

Happy 72nd birthday tenor Rockwell Blake.

On this day in 1970 mezzo Frederica von Stade and soprano Gail Robinson both made their Metropolitan Opera debuts as two of the Genies in Mozart’s Zauberflöte. (Third was mezzo Judith Forst.)