Renowned for his virtuosity in bel canto roles, the Peruvian tenor has chosen to focus almost exclusively on that repertoire and this recording marks a rare foray into the world beyond Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini. The focus, accuracy and supple legato which characterise Flórez’s bel canto efforts are undimmed, but it’s also clear that he’s not in his element. Removed from their usual florid surroundings into the cleaner lines of Gluck’s early classicism, Flórez’s bright, slightly nasal timbre and Italianate delivery start to jar: it’s a beautifully sung performance, but never a fully idiomatic one.
Ainhoa Garmendia as Eurydice is more persuasive, her impassioned sweetness of tone disturbed only by some tightness at the top of the tessitura, while Alessandra Marianelli is a clear-voiced, if somewhat generic Amour. It is the Teatro Real chorus, however, who provide arguably the loveliest vocal contribution of all, with richly coloured ensemble singing. Jesus López-Cobos conducts with a firm
if rather rigid hand, drawing glossy, well-articulated performances from orchestra and soloists, but not much drama – this shortcoming may also have something to do with the concert setting. A success, then – laudable for helping Gluck’s landmark opera back into the mainstream, and for Flórez fanatics, probably a must-have.