Designation ceremony of Mr Juan Diego Flórez as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
When, local time:
Friday, 16 November 2012 -
12:15pm to 2:00pm
Type of Event:
UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova will designate the famous Peruvian tenor Mr Juan Diego Flórez as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador during the ceremony to be held at UNESCO HQ on Friday, 16 November 2012 <br /><br /><br /><br /><br/>Juan Diego Flórez was born in 1973 in Lima, Peru. For the world’s leading opera houses, Juan Diego is very much the bel canto tenor of choice. His fluid, expressive singing and dazzling virtuosity make him ideal for the operas of Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini. His operatic and recital appearances at the most prestigious venues in the world have earned him the acclaim of critics and audiences alike. New York's Metropolitan Opera, Paris' Opera Bastille and Opera Garnier, Milan's Teatro Alla Scala, Vienna's Staatsoper, London's Royal Opera House and Barcelona’s Liceu are among the opera theatre he appears at on a regular basis. Besides opera, he is passionate about singing in recitals and concerts, which give him the opportunity to include Peruvian and Latin American music in his repertoire. <br /><br />From 1990 to 1993, Juan Diego attended the Peruvian National Conservatory, entering the world of classical music and singing. After that, he won a scholarship to study at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, which he attended between 1993 and 1996. It was in Lima, in 1994, that Juan Diego met the former Peruvian tenor, Ernesto Palacio, who took him under his wing and became his mentor. Mr Palacio is currently his agent and advisor.<br /><br />Early in 1996, Juan Diego auditioned for the Rossini Opera Festival (Pesaro) in Italy and was immediately cast to sing a small role. Delighted to have obtained his first professional engagement, he returned to Italy that summer to begin rehearsals. Shortly before the Festival’s opening night, the tenor who was due to sing the leading role of Corradino in the opera Matilde di Shabran, had to pull out because of illness. The organizers began a desperate search for a stand-in who might be up to the challenge – a less than easy task given that this was a little-known opera, the first night was only days away and Corradino is a very difficult role to sing. It was then that Artistic Director, Luigi Ferrari, offered the part to the twenty-three-year-old Juan Diego. The tenor accepted and the rest is history.<br /><br />From that moment onwards, opera houses around the world set their sights on the young tenor, including La Scala in Milan, where Juan Diego made his debut on 7 December 1996, the opening night of the season, under the baton of Riccardo Muti, who would be a key influence on the tenor over the next few years. <br /><br />In 2007, Juan Diego made history at La Scala when he broke a 70-year-old taboo and gave, much to the audience’s delight, the theatre’s first encore since 1933 - the aria was “Ah! mes amis” from Donizetti’s La Fille du régiment, renowned for its nine high Cs. He repeated the feat at New York's Metropolitan Opera a few months later, in similar circumstances, and again in Paris at the Opera Bastille on 27 October 2012, becoming the first singer to offer an encore since the opening of the theatre.<br /><br />Other than his singing exploits, Juan Diego also has established a Foundation in Peru named Sinfonia por el Peru, which encourages the creation of children’s and youth orchestras and choirs at a national level. The project’s greater objective is to transform society through music. Orchestral and choral practice give children and youth important values that make them better citizens, reflecting this ennoblement in their communities and helping preserve them from the dangers of drugs and crime. <br /><br />In spite of his international career and constant travelling, Juan Diego maintains a close relationship with and attachment to his native country which has, in return, honoured its prodigy by awarding him its very highest distinction: the Order of the Sun, Grand Cross.