Juan Diego was born in Lima on 13 January 1973. His father, Ruben Florez, was a singer, who specialised in performing the criollo waltzes of Peruvian composer Chabuca Granda. Juan Diego inherited both his father's vocal talent and his love for Peruvian and Latin American music in general. His mother, Maria Teresa, another music-lover, gave him all the support in the world, encouraging him to persevere with his musical studies and stick to his goals.
To begin with, Juan Diego focused on pop, rock and Peruvian music. He wrote his own songs and sang live in the piano bars frequented by his schoolmates in the Barranco district of Lima. In 1989, the young singer won Peru's first Festival of Song for Peace, which was broadcast on TV nationwide.
Keen to travel and to continue his education, Juan Diego won a scholarship to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He studied there between 1993 and 1996, and had the opportunity to sing in a number of fully staged complete operas, with an orchestra, an excellent foundation for what was to turn out to be a spectacular career.
Juan Diego Florez has appeared at all the world's leading opera houses, concert halls and music festivals, including the Metropolitan, New York; Lyric Opera of Chicago; Los Angeles Opera; San Francisco Opera; Washington National Opera; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Wexford Festival; Vienna Staatsoper; Salzburg Festival; Vienna Konzerthaus; Vienna Musikverein; Paris Opéra; Radio France and Montpellier Festival; Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris; Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris; Ópera de Lyon; Teatro Real, Madrid; Teatre Liceu, Barcelona; ABAO, Bilbao; Teatro de la Maestranza, Seville; Las Palmas, Gran Canaria; Teatro São Carlos, Lisbon; La Scala, Milan; Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro; Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome; Teatro San Carlo, Naples; Teatro Regio, Turin; Teatro Verdi, Trieste; Teatro Comunale, Bologna; Rome Opera; Teatro Massimo, Palermo; Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Florence; Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa; Teatro Filarmonico de Verona; Munich Staatsoper; Deutsche Oper Berlin; Dresden Staatsoper; Zurich Opernhaus, etc.
He has worked with the world's best-known conductors, including Roberto Abbado, Yves Abel, Riccardo Chailly, Myung-Whun Chung, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniele Gatti, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Gianluigi Gelmetti, James Levine, Jesús López-Cobos, Sir Neville Marriner, Riccardo Muti, Antonio Pappano, Carlo Rizzi, Christophe Rousset, Nello Santi, Marcello Viotti and Alberto Zedda.
Juan Diego has always maintained a close relationship with his native country, which has awarded him its very highest distinction: the Order of the Sun, Grand Cross.
He has also set up a foundation in Peru with the aim of encouraging the creation of children's and youth orchestras and choirs on a national level. The project is inspired by the Venezuelan ‘Sistema', and its central aim is to help poor and vulnerable children and young people to avoid the many dangers they face in their day-to-day lives: drugs, delinquency, exploitation and prostitution, etc.
His recordings have won many awards, including the Choc du Monde de la Musique, Diapason d'Or, Echo Klassik Preis, Cannes Classical Award, Gramophone Award and a Grammy nomination for the album Bel Canto Spectacular. In 2007, Juan Diego made history at La Scala when he broke a 70-year-old taboo and gave the first encore in the theatre since 1933, much to the audience's delight. The aria in question was ‘Ah! mes amis' from Donizetti's La Fille du régiment, renowned for its nine high Cs. He repeated the feat a few months later, in 2008, at the Met, again after a number of years in which no encores had been heard.
Juan Diego has received a number of awards, including the Rossini d'Oro, the Abbiati Prize given by the Italian Association of Music Critics, the Tiberini d'Oro, the ISO de Oro, the Opera Award and the Aureliano Pertile, Bellini, Francesco Tamagno and Plácido Domingo Awards.