March 1, 2017

This Friday – fresh from channeling Frank Sinatra in the company’s RigolettoStephen Costello returns to New York’s Metropolitan Opera to headline Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette (March 3–18). Marking his house title role debut, the Tucker Award-winning tenor stars opposite Pretty Yende under Emmanuel Villaume’s leadership, in the same hit Bartlett Sher staging that saw him partner Anna Netrebko at the 2010 Salzburg Festival. As Opera News notes in a “Spotlight” double-page spread in the just-published February issue, “the all-American tenor” is now “at the top of his game.”

Shakespeare’s star-crossed lover has long been a signature role for the tenor. At San Diego Opera, the San Diego News Network declared his Roméo “electrifying,” and San Diego Arts marveled:

“To describe the tall, broad-shouldered Costello as dashing is like calling Bill Gates well-off. And when Costello holds his gorgeous high notes just a few beats longer without the slightest sense of strain – now that is why folks come to the opera! … [I] doubt there is another tenor singing today better suited to this role.”

Similarly, at Santa Fe opera last summer, the Wall Street Journal observed: “Costello was a stunning Roméo, his tenor beautifully poised and free, ardent without pushing,” and the Santa Fe Reporter named his as the best performance by a male singer of the entire season. Click here to see Costello preview his Met house role debut earlier this month, with an account of Roméo’s aria “Ah, lève toi soleil” at a special WQXR Valentine’s Day event at The Greene Space.

Gounod’s opera is the second of Costello’s back-to-back productions at the Met this year. In the first, a Vegas setting of Verdi’s Rigoletto, he revisited the Sinatra-like portrayal of the Duke of Mantua to which the New York Times previously found his “bright tenor … perfectly suited.” His reprise of the role scored similar praise. According to the New York Observer,

“In the role of the Duke, here a randy lounge singer, Stephen Costello caught precisely the sociopath’s dead eyes and listless body language. His lyric tenor, beautifully smooth and even, … gain[ed] brilliance and heft for the celebrated last act quartet.”

Likewise, the Classical Source observed:

“Costello displayed a throbbing tenor that continues to grow in refinement and complexity. … The top of his range soon blossomed into ringing fullness, and throughout, he maintained a natural quality in his singing, presenting the Duke as an unfeeling cad.”

High-resolution photos can be downloaded here.

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Stephen Costello: upcoming engagements

March 3, 8, 11, 15, & 18
New York
Metropolitan Opera
Gounod: Roméo et Juliette (Roméo)

May 10, 12, & 14
Moscow, Russia
Bolshoi Theatre
Verdi: La traviata (Alfredo)

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© 21C Media Group, February 2017