Facing the music: Juan Diego Flórez

The Peruvian tenor on rocking out in the recording studio, how he’d change the format of the classical concert and which pop star he’d like to work with

How do you listen to music most often?

In my car, with full the sound on high.

What was the last piece of music you bought?

The Rolling Stones’ Jump Back: The Best of 71-93.

What is your musical guilty pleasure?

Playing electrical guitar alone in my recording studio.

If you had six months free to learn a new instrument, what would you choose?

I would learn to whistle.

Is applauding between movements acceptable?

I think spontaneous and free reactions are the most natural.

What single thing would improve the format of the classical concert?

In my concerts, people love when I sing a Latin encore with guitar.

What’s been your most memorable live music experience as an audience member?

When the Children’s Orchestra and Choir of Venezuela welcomed us at the airport in Caracas in 2009 with a performance.

What was the first record you bought?

I think it was an Anthology of Bread.

Shakira performing at Glastonbury in 2010.
Shakira performing at Glastonbury in 2010. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Which non-classical musician would you love to work with?


Which conductor of yesteryear do you most wish you could have worked with?

Carlos Kleiber.

Do you enjoy musicals? Do you have a favourite?

Yes, why not? Chicago is great!

Imagine you’re a festival director in London with unlimited resources. What would you programme or commission for your opening event?

I would love to bring the children from my foundation Sinfonia por el Perú to play with some of the best musicians in the world.

What do you sing in the shower?



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