Tucker Award-Winning American Soprano Ailyn Pérez Crowns 2014-15 with Metropolitan Opera and Houston Grand Opera House Debuts

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Tucker Award-Winning American Soprano Ailyn Pérez Crowns 2014-15 with Metropolitan Opera and Houston Grand Opera House Debuts


Described by Opera News as the “lyric soprano who truly seems to have it all,” Ailyn Pérez takes the stage at leading opera houses on both sides of the Atlantic in 2014-15 for an exciting new season that features house debuts at both the Metropolitan Opera and Houston Grand Opera, the latter also serving as a role debut for Pérez as Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello.A series of duo recitals with her husband, tenor Stephen Costello, featuring repertoire drawn from their recent hit album, Love Duets, kicks off her fall season and includes performances in Washington DC, Dallas, San Diego, and Philadelphia, as well as at London’s Barbican Hall later this season Other 2014-15 highlights for the Richard Tucker and Plácido Domingo Award-winner include reprising her signature portrayal of Violetta in a new production of La traviata at Zurich Opera, headlining La bohème at La Scala, and performing in Barcelona, Hamburg, Munich, San Juan, and Prague.


Houston Grand Opera and Metropolitan Opera debuts

The coming season represents something of a homecoming for the Chicago-born Pérez. Having scored a string of successes in recent years at the opera houses of London, Vienna, Milan, Berlin, Barcelona, and other cultural capitals worldwide, Pérez’s rising star reaches new heights in the States with her Met and HGO debuts. Last season she made her surprise Washington National Opera debut, jumping in for an indisposed colleague on just two weeks’ notice, and returned to the San Francisco Opera; following the latter, the San Francisco Chronicle observed, “The evening’s brightest luminary was Ailyn Pérez,” while San Francisco Classical Voice noted that her performance as Violetta “confirmed her artistic maturity.”


For her inaugural appearances at Houston Grand Opera, Pérez makes her role debut as Desdemona in Otello, opposite Simon O’Neill in the title role of the company’s first staging of John Cox’sproduction. As on Love Duets, she sings under the baton of Patrick Summers, Houston’s artistic and music director (Oct 24–Nov 7). Although this marks her first performances as Desdemona, Pérez is no stranger to Verdi’s tragic leading ladies. As Vienna’s Kronen Zeitung recognized, she has long been “destined to portray the great, passionate Verdi and Puccini heroines,” and indeed, it was her recent account of Violetta at the San Francisco Opera that prompted San Francisco Classical Voice to observe:


“The star of the evening was Pérez. … Her allure and ability to give herself over, body and soul, to Verdi’s doomed heroine were so complete that it was hard to take eyes off her. Her pain was so palpable, and her conviction so moving that Violetta became real before our eyes.”


This fearless interpretation of her roles, which she approaches with musical abandon, completely embodying each of the characters she portrays, has been often noted; as WQXR’s Operavore points out, “Pérez has the laudable gift of vivid verbal characterization: her Manon, Violetta and Gilda sound like entirely different people.”


The vehicle for her Metropolitan Opera debut is Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen, which she sings opposite the Don Josés of Roberto Alagna (Feb 6–26) and Jonas Kaufmann (March 4 & 7), with Elina Garanca in the title role and Louis Langrée leading Richard Eyre’s production (Feb 6–March 7). The role is another of those on which the soprano has already put her stamp; at Opera Company of Philadelphia, David Patrick Stearns of the Philadelphia Inquirer declared:


“The best performance came from Pérez. … Thanks to her innate stage allure, Pérez’s Micaëla was among the few I’ve seen that pose serious competition for Carmen. Often, Micaëla represents middle-class boredom; with her dusky soprano and way of listening intently to what characters around her are saying, Pérez became the voice of sanity. Pérez has often been theatrically radiant and vocally captivating since arriving here as an Academy of Vocal Arts student. But on Friday, singer and character merged with seamless simplicity. Opera buffs live for such moments. The rain didn’t stop when she sang, but seemed to.” 


“Love Duets” with Stephen Costello, on U.S. tour and in London

Pérez launches the season in company with her husband and fellow Tucker Award-winner, tenor Stephen Costello; the two of them have been dubbed “opera’s It couple” by The Times of London. Together they give a duo recital tour of romantic favorites from their album Love Duets, a collection of sensual selections by composers from Puccini to Bernstein, recorded for Warner Classics with Patrick Summers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Their U.S. tour takes them to the San Diego Opera, Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, and Opera Philadelphia, where they launch the company’s 40th Anniversary Season with a special gala performance in the city where they first fell in love (Sep 5–14). Pérez also reunites with Costello, Summers, and the BBC Symphony for an orchestral program of “Love Duets” at London’s Barbican Hall (Jan 5.) The album received sensational reviews on both sides of the Atlantic: London’s Mail on Sunday, Classic FM, and Sunday Times named the disc “Album of the Week”; Gramophone called it “irresistible”; Opera News pronounced it “sublime”; Vanity Fair admired “their steamy chemistry”; and the Philadelphia Inquirer proclaimed Love Duets, quite simply, “a knockout.”


At Zurich Opera, La Scala, and more

Pérez also looks forward to a number of prominent European engagements this season. At the Zurich Opera, she reprises her star turn in the title role of La traviata in a new production by David Hermann, with Matthew Polenzani as Alfredo, Quinn Kelsey as Georgio Germont, and Marco Armiliato on the podium (May 6–23).Verdi’s heroine has long been something of a calling card for Pérez, “an ideal Violetta” (Observer, UK) who most recently undertook the role at the San Francisco Opera and at London’s Royal Opera House, where her performance was transmitted around the world in the company’s first live stream of a complete opera. She revisits the role once again in a revival of David McVicar’s staging at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu (July 9–18).


For her return to the Hamburg State Opera (Nov 28–Dec 16), the soprano sings Mimì in La bohème, in which, at the Florida Grand Opera, “she never disappointed, wringing all the emotion from the moments of grand passion, from her desire for winter to last forever so they would never leave each other to her feverish dying expressions of love” (South Florida Classical Review). Looking ahead to next summer, Pérez stars in Franco Zeffirelli’s take on Puccini’s masterpiece, opposite Ramón Vargas as Rodolfo, with Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, leading from the pit at Milan’s legendary Teatro alla Scala (Aug 26–Sep 2).


For her season’s two remaining European operatic engagements, Pérez revisits a pair of Donizetti heroines for which she has already been justly celebrated, singing Adina in L’elisir d’amore at Munich’s Bavarian State Opera (April 10–15) and Norina in Don Pasquale at the Gran Teatre del Liceu (June 16–27). It was in her Washington National Opera debut as Adina that the soprano “left an indelible mark on the production,” thanks to her “extraordinary sensitivity to text and contour of melodic line, not to mention a velvety tone” and “the way she let you feel Adina’s inner conflict” (Baltimore Sun).


More information about Ailyn Pérez’s 2014-15 engagements follows, and further details are provided at the web sites listed below.




Ailyn Pérez: 2014-15 engagements


Sep 5

San Diego, CA

San Diego Opera

Benefit concert: “Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello in Recital”


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


Sep 14

Dallas, TX

Dallas Opera

Duo recital: “Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello at the Eisemann”

With Danielle Orlando, piano


Oct 24, 26; Nov 1, 4 & 7

Houston, TX

Houston Grand Opera (debut)

Verdi: Otello (Desdemona, role debut)


Nov 28; Dec 2, 11 & 16

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg State Opera

Puccini: La bohème (Mimì)


Dec 31

Prague, Czech Republic

New Year’s Eve concert




Jan 5

London, England

Barbican Centre

Concert with Stephen Costello


Feb 6, 9, 13, 19, 26; March 4 & 7

New York, NY

Metropolitan Opera (debut)

Bizet: Carmen (Micaëla, role debut)


March 21

San Juan, Puerto Rico



April 10, 12 & 15

Munich, Germany

Bavarian State Opera

Donizetti: L’elisir d’amore (Adina)


May 6, 8, 14, 17, 20 & 23

Zurich, Switzerland

Opernhaus Zürich

Verdi: La traviata (Violetta)


June 16, 18, 20, 22, 25 & 27

Barcelona, Spain

Gran Teatre del Liceu

Donizetti: Don Pasquale (Norina)


July 9, 12, 15 & 18

Barcelona, Spain

Gran Teatre del Liceu

Verdi: La traviata (Violetta)


Aug 26, 29; Sep 2

Milan, Italy

Teatro alla Scala

Puccini: La bohème (Mimì)





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© 21C Media Group, August 2014


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