Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello – “Opera’s Hottest Couple” – Release Love Duets Digitally on Warner Classics Today (June 3); CD To Follow on June 10

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 Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello – “Opera’s Hottest Couple” – Release Love Duets Digitally on Warner Classics Today (June 3); CD To Follow on June 10







After debuting at number three on the UK Classical Chart last month, Love Duets is due for U.S. digital release today (Tuesday, June 3), with the CD release to follow on June 10. A first recording together for Richard Tucker Award-winners Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez – “America’s fastest-rising husband-and-wife opera stars” (Associated Press) – the new Warner Classics album has already taken London by storm, being named “Album of the Week” by the Mail on Sunday, Classic FM, and the Sunday Times, which proclaimed it “a disc that should win these hugely likeable young stars a lot of new friends.” The international release coincided with Pérez and Costello’s first scheduled appearances headlining La traviata together at London’s Royal Opera House, where, as What’s On Stage noted, “it should come as no surprise that their onstage chemistry [was] electric.” They appeared on BBC Breakfast television, were interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, and gave a live studio performance on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, which coined for them a new “Brangelina”-style portmanteau name – “Pérello” – and pronounced them “opera’s most in-demand couple.” As The Times of London observed, the two are fast proving themselves “the Jay-Z and Beyoncé” of opera.




Recorded with Patrick Summers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Love Duets comprises favorite romantic duets by composers ranging from Puccini to Bernstein, with selections from L’elisir d’amore, La traviata, Rigoletto, Faust, Manon, La bohème, L’amico Fritz, and Broadway’s Carousel, Guys and Dolls, Kismet, and West Side Story, from which iTunes includes the couple’s rendition of “Tonight,” the balcony scene, as a bonus (see full track listing below).




 “Pretty Well Perfect”: advance praise for Love Duets


The response to the album’s international release has been sensational. Classic FM reported: “The singing is impressive throughout and the real­life chemistry between the two is audible.”Presto Classical found “a beautiful golden vintage quality to both voices,” which “complement each other wonderfully.” Sinfini Music dubbed the singers “opera’s hottest couple,” and judged their collaboration “pretty well perfect.” The Observerexplained: “They are both gifted singers enjoying fast-rising careers but with no obvious sign of monster egos. … Pérez and Costello charm, whether in the sweet Cherry Duet from L’amico Fritz or the classic ‘If I Loved You’ from Carousel.” In a five-star review, the Mail on Sunday declared:




What makes this album especially attractive is that they remain true to their American and Hispanic roots by presenting a brilliant Tony and Maria in “One Hand, One Heart” from West Side Story, adding in duets from three other ‘Broadway operas.’”




Considering the pair to be “two of the most emotive, expressive, and vocally persuasive singers of their generation,” Voix des Arts hailed Love Duets as “a disc that resounds with freshness, affection, and the simple joy of two young singers who love singing.” The review continued:




“These two singers could charm the numbers off of a roulette wheel. … Few discs convey this marriage of life and art so affectingly. Ultimately, it is upon discs like Love Duets and the endeavors of singers like Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello that the future of opera depends.”




As The Times concluded,




They’re modern, they’re hot and their marital status is taking them beyond opera’s heartland into Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, and YouTube ubiquity. … Opera is eager to find another celebrated onstage partnership with the chemistry of Callas and Di Stefano, Freni and Pavarotti, or Netrebko and Villazón. With their added offstage romance, Pérez and Costello are joining that elite, generating a tangible onstage frisson.”




This whole-hearted critical consensus bodes well for the American reception of Love Duets – and indeed, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns confides: “I have an advance copy, and it’s a knockout.”




Pérello prove “sensational” in La traviata at the Royal Opera House




Costello and Pérez enjoyed similar success in their first scheduled performances together as Alfredo and Violetta in Richard Eyre’s iconic staging of La traviata at the Royal Opera House, of which the final performance was streamed live around the world, marking Covent Garden’s first live stream of a complete opera. What’s On Stage reported:




With her diminutive frame and Hispanic good looks, the sense of fragility that Violetta needs to exude was evident as soon as the curtain rose to reveal Pérez. … Hers was a winning assumption of the title role. As Alfredo, Stephen Costello was ardent, lyrical and…cut a handsome figure on stage.”




Mark Ronan Reviews confirmed:




“This was a glorious performance…of dazzling emotional intensity. The interaction between [Ailyn Pérez] and Stephen Costello gave a convincing, almost non-operatic slant to their relationship, her internal gyroscope of control helping him portray the callowness of Alfredo in a way most tenors might find uncomfortable.”




Opera Traveler found that “Costello sang with open and vibrant tone and gave a stylish performance,” while “Pérez hit greatness and offered her public a performance of such immediacy, humanity and generosity that nobody could fail to be moved. … A total Violetta.” “I was totally bowled over,” agreed Opera Creep: “A sensational performance.”




Back in the U.S. for San Francisco’s Traviata and more


Pérez and Costello will give their signature portrayals of Verdi’s tragic leads at San Francisco Opera, in a revival of John Copley’s production with Quinn Kelsey as Germont and Nicola Luisotti (June 17 & 19) and Giuseppe Finzi (July 5–13) sharing conducting duties. The July 5 performance will be shown in a live simulcast at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, where previous opera simulcasts have drawn audiences of more than 165,000.The two also look forward to reuniting for duo recitals at Quebec’s Festival des arts de Saint-Sauveur (Aug 1), Washington National Opera (Sep 10), and Opera Philadelphia, where Pérez and Costello launch the company’s 40th Anniversary Season with a special gala performance in the city where they first fell in love (Sep 12). Additional duo dates will be announced shortly.




More information about the artists is available at the websites listed below, following details of their upcoming engagements together. High-resolution photos may be downloaded here.








Love Duets


Ailyn Pérez, soprano


Stephen Costello, tenor


BBC Symphony Orchestra / Patrick Summers


Warner Classics


U.S. release dates: June 3 (digital); June 10 (CD)




Track listing:


1.         Jules Massenet: “Toi! Vous!…N’est-ce plus ma main” from Manon


2.         Pietro Mascagni: “Suzel, buon dì” (Cherry Duet) from L’amico Fritz


3.         Giuseppe Verdi: “Signor ne principe – E il sol…Addio! speranza” from Rigoletto


4.         Gaetano Donizetti: “Caro elisir…Esulti pur la barbara” from L’elisir d’amore


5.         Charles Gounod: “Il se fait tard” from Faust 


6.         Giuseppe Verdi: “Un dì felice, eterea” from La traviata


7.         Giacomo Puccini: “O soave fanciulla” from La bohème


8.         Leonard Bernstein: “One hand, one heart” from West Side Story


9.         Rodgers & Hammerstein: “If I loved you” from Carousel


10.        Frank Loesser: “I’ll know” from Guys and Dolls


11.        Robert Wright & George Forrest: “And this is my beloved” from Kismet




iTunes bonus track:


12. Leonard Bernstein: “Tonight” from West Side Story




Love Duets is available from Amazon and iTunes.








Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello together:




July 5, 8, 11 & 13


San Francisco, CA         


San Francisco Opera


Verdi: La traviata (Violetta; Alfredo)


July 5 – Live simulcast of La traviata at San Francisco’s AT&T Park




Aug 1


Saint-Sauveur, QC, Canada


Festival des arts de Saint-Sauveur


Grand Chapiteau FASS Big Top


Duo recital: “Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello: From Puccini to Broadway”




Sep 10


Washington, DC


Washington National Opera


Duo recital: “An Evening with Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez”


With Danielle Orlando, piano




Sep 12


Philadelphia, PA


Opera Philadelphia 


Duo recital: “40th Anniversary Gala Starring Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello”




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© 21C Media Group, June 2014



Louise Barder
21C Media Group
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