Stephen Costello Makes Met Role Debut in Merry Widow Alongside Susan Graham (April 24–May 7)
Tucker Award-winning tenor Stephen Costello returns to New York’s Metropolitan Opera on April 24, to make his house role debut in the first of four performances as Camille in The Merry Widow. In a new production from five-time Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman, also making her company debut, Lehár’s beloved operetta stars Susan Graham in the title role, with Rod Gilfry as Danilo, Alan Opie as Baron Zeta, Andriana Chuchman as Valencienne, and Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leading from the pit (April 24–May 7).
“I am very excited to be working for the first time with conductor Fabio Luisi. He is so sensitive with the music and singers, and has great experience in operetta. I heard him lead a staged orchestra rehearsal the other day for the Met’s new ‘Cav/Pag’ production and was taken by the extraordinary sounds coming from the orchestra and how the drama came to life on stage. As for the cast, you can’t do better than Susan Graham, an extraordinary artist who creates an incredible atmosphere in any room that she is in. Rod Gilfry is fantastic. I’ve done Merry Widow with him before and the part fits him like a glove. I have gotten to know Alan Opie in rehearsal and he is terrific. Andriana—my love interest—and I have sung this together in Chicago, and it’s great to be working with her again. Finally, director Susan Stroman is brilliant and truly amazing to work with. It’s no surprise that she has won multiple Tony Awards, because she can see a scene and shape it to where it makes sense and really flows. Her attention to detail and organization is simply extraordinary. This is going to be a wonderful production.”
Lehár’s young French attaché was previously the vehicle for Costello’s first appearances at Chicago’s Lyric Opera in the 2009-10 season. Considering the tenor “well cast as the dashing Camille de Rosillon,” the Chicago Classical Review pronounced his to be “an admirable Lyric debut.” “Stephen Costello as Camille was wonderful. His was the most consistently excellent vocal performance of the evening,” agreed the Glittering Eye. Of his rapport with co-star Andriana Chuchman, Opera Today wrote: “Their vocal and dramatic talents seem transformed to a still higher level when they sing together.” As the Chicago Tribune put it, this Merry Widow had “more cause to be merry than usual.”
The upcoming engagement marks Costello’s second house role debut at the Met this season, following his first company appearances as Alfredo in La traviata earlier this spring. The tenor also recently made a triumphant house debut at Austin Opera, where he launched the New Year in the title role of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. According to the Examiner,
“Stephen Costello’s … brave and dashing rendition is tempered nicely with moments of real pathos, … thanks to his very rich voice and sensitive performance. His chemistry with [Joyce] El-Khoury is undeniable, as the couple bring real light to several scenes, in particular the play’s famous balcony scene, where it’s hard not to fall in love with the couple yourself.”
Next season, Costello will star in two fall productions at the Met, making his company role debut as the Duke in Michael Mayer’s Las Vegas-set production of Verdi’s Rigoletto, and reprising the role of Lord Percy in a revival of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena.
Further details of Stephen Costello’s upcoming engagements follow, and more information is available at the websites listed below.
Stephen Costello: upcoming engagements
April 24, 27, 30; May 7
New York, NY
Lehár: The Merry Widow (Camille)