Soprano Ailyn Pérez Receives 11th Annual
Beverly Sills Artist Award
New York, NY (April 7, 2016) – Soprano Ailyn Pérez has been named the recipient of the 11th annual Beverly Sills Artist Award for young singers at the Metropolitan Opera. The $50,000 award, the largest of its kind in the United States, is designated for extraordinarily gifted singers between the ages of 25 and 40 who have already appeared in featured solo roles at the Met. The award, given in honor of Beverly Sills, was established in 2006 by an endowment gift from the late Agnes Varis, a managing director on the Met board. Pérez, who made a notable Met debut last season as Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen, will sing her first company performances of Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème beginning April 15.
The Sills Award was created to help further recipients’ careers, including funding for voice lessons, vocal coaching, language lessons, related travel costs, and other professional assistance. Sills, who died in 2007, was well known as a supporter and friend to developing young artists, and this award continues her legacy as an advocate for rising singers. The 36-year-old Pérez is the 11th recipient of the award, following baritone Nathan Gunn in 2006, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in 2007, tenor Matthew Polenzani in 2008, bass John Relyea in 2009, soprano Susanna Phillips in 2010, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard in 2011, soprano Angela Meade in 2012, tenor Brian Hymel in 2013, tenor Michael Fabiano in 2014, and baritone Quinn Kelsey in 2015.
“I am so deeply honored to receive this year’s Beverly Sills Artist Award, and also to have an artistic home at the Metropolitan Opera,” Pérez said. “For me and so many others, Beverly Sills’ legacy is an inspiration. She presented the operatic voice as something we could be fascinated and awed by, and with her great sense of humor, she was ‘Bubbles,’ the diva we could all relate to. I also feel a great responsibility to be an active part of continuing that tradition, and to find innovative ways to engage new audiences through social media and working in our schools. Opera will survive and thrive if we embrace it as an important part of our collective culture.”
A native of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, Pérez made her company debut in 2015 as Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen. This summer, she will sing Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at Santa Fe Opera, and Tatiana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at Dallas Opera later this season. Most recently, she sang in the title role of Massenet’s Manon at Dallas Opera and the Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro at Houston Grand Opera. During the 2016-17 Met season, she will add a new role to her growing company repertory as Mimì in La Bohème.