Opera singer sings popular Spanish and Latin American songs

Sentimiento Latino is a new album of Latin American and Spanish popular songs by Juan Diego Flórez . His thrilling voice is heard in a brilliant new light in the romantic ballads and popular songs of his homeland including Granada, Júrame and La Fleur de Canela. The lush orchestral arrangements of these works – some by Juan Diego Flórez himself – are performed by the Fort Worth Symphony under the baton of Miguel Harth-Bedoya. You can hear samples of the album here.For Juan Diego Flórez the songs on this album are much more than a light-hearted detour for a great opera star. In his view they have enriched and, to a great extent, molded his art. This recital of Spanish and Latin American songs is a kind of musical homecoming. Flórez grew up with this music His father, Ruben Flórez had a fine career in Peru as an interpreter of popular songs. Following the elder Flórez’s footsteps, the young Juan Diego eventually started to sing in his local bar where he was expected to know songs not just from Peru, but also from Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico and all over Latin America including songs heard on this disc. By the time he was fourteen, he was singing, playing guitar and composing his own canciones (it was not until he was seventeen that he began his study of classical music and opera).
 Flórez brings a connoisseur’s discernment to this program drawing parallels between the elaborate musical language of opera’s bel canto and the stylistic niceties of ranchero music, blending them effortlessly and organically. In the past, Florez explains, “the way popular music and opera were sung was more linked. Maybe pop musicians used more falsetto, but they had educated voices.” This is not to say that he is precious or compromising with the popular elements of these songs. Rather, he embraces the gritty aspects of the ranchero style in the way he communicates. “You have to let your guts out,” he notes. “Forget a bit about your voice, and mean what you’re saying.”