7 December 2015 at 4.32pm | Comment on this article
In his hometown of Lima, Peru, the young Flórez began his musical journey imitating Elvis Presley and singing his favourite Beatles’ songs in his mother’s pub. ‘I had a whole repertoire’, he joked, ‘I am a Beatles fan: I know all the songs.’
Flórez wanted to be a pop star but when at the age of 17 his high school teacher introduced him to Zarzuelas – Spanish operettas – he found a new admiration for classical music.
‘People were like “What is that?” but I was like “Wow, this could help me in my pub.” I realized I liked classical singing and I liked classical music for the first time. Growing up until then I had never really been in contact with it.’
Now a global star and a regular performer on the Royal Opera House stage, Flórez talks about his previous Royal Opera roles including Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and most recently as Orphée in Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice.
‘I am on stage the whole time,’ says Flórez about the challenge of Gluck’s opera. John Fulljames’s recent production saw the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House positioned above the stage, which placed an unusual demand on the singers. ‘It is difficult to get used to the fact that they [the orchestra] are behind you, and you cannot see them, and you cannot hear them so well, and the conductor cannot see you,’ he says. Though Flórez concedes that he found the experience ‘a lovely challenge’.
Watch more films like this on the Royal Opera House YouTube channel: