January 11, 2018

After making triumphant, back-to-back house debuts in Paris and Dresden, Stephen Costello – “the all-American tenorat the top of his game” (Opera News) – returns to Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company to sing the Duke of Mantua, one of his most celebrated signature roles. Under the musical direction of Stephen Lord, the Tucker Award-winning tenor will give seven performances alongside Anna Christy’s Gilda and Roland Wood’s titular jester in Christopher Alden’s “powerful and hallucinatory” production (Financial Times) of Verdi’s Rigoletto (Jan 20–Feb 23).

Verdi’s Duke is one of the roles on which Costello has most decisively made his mark. In the Metropolitan Opera’s groundbreaking Vegas staging of Rigoletto, which saw the Duke modeled after Sinatra, the New York Times praised his “bright tenor that … was perfectly suited to [the] character.” Likewise, at Houston Grand Opera, Costello’s Duke was hailed as “the sensation of the night” (Houston Chronicle), prompting Theater Jones to name him “one of the best lyric tenors in the business.” Looking forward to the Canadian Opera Company’s production, Costello reflects:

“Toronto is one of my favorite cities … and this particular production’s very special, because I get to work with a conductor friend of mine, Stephen Lord, who has watched me grow up over the years and has been a big supporter of mine. … Rigoletto incorporates so much great music – the famous ‘La donna è mobile,’ ‘Caro nome,’ ‘Cortigiani,’ and the famous quartet in Act III. … And I think that the Four Seasons Centre has one of the best acoustics that I’ve sung in as well. … I don’t think I could ask for a better situation!”

Click here to see the interview in full.

Costello last appeared at the Canadian Opera Company in 2013’s Lucia di Lammermoor. As now, his leading lady was Anna Christy and Stephen Lord was on the podium, although the staging was then by David Alden, twin brother of Christopher. Both cast and creative team favorably impressed the Globe and Mail, which reported:

“Christy’s Lucia was matched by the fine tenor of Stephen Costello, as Edgardo, Lucia’s true love. With power to burn, and a sweet, focused sound, Costello made the most of his final death scene, as he did with all his appearances. … Lord led a wonderful COC orchestra, pulling real drama out of Donizetti’s score, and supplying his vocalists with superb, easy, sensitive support. … First-rate.”

Similarly, Opera News observed:

“Impeccable. Anna Christy was an outstanding Lucia … [and] Stephen Costello was an ideal Edgardo. He was dashing in appearance and had a glorious Italianate voice that throbbed with passion. His final contrasting arias were sung with such beauty and vitality that for once the final act did not feel like an anticlimax.”

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After his return to Toronto, the tenor looks forward to reprising the Duke in a pair of German Rigolettos, gracing Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s treatment of the opera at Dresden Opera (March 30–June 8) and starring alongside Simon Keenlyside at Deutsche Oper Berlin (May 3–11). Spring also sees him make his Munich Philharmonic debut in Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, under the baton of Manfred Honeck (April 12–15).

It was with another major European debut that Costello launched the present season, joining Véronique Gens and Thomas Hampson for The Merry Widow at the Paris Opera. Marking his first appearances not only at the historic house but in the French capital itself, the tenor’s Camille received a warm welcome. Culture Box admired the “young American tenor with clear timbre and radiant highs,” while Diapason found his account of the role “full of health and spirit, his tenor agile and immaculately projected.” Costello’s second house debut of the season followed hard on the heels of the first, when he gave his first appearances at Dresden Opera as Rodolfo in La bohème, before revisiting the role at Spain’s Teatro Real Madrid. Click here to see his performance in a live webcast from the Teatro Real, where he partnered Anita Hartig in Richard Jones’s staging of the opera under the leadership of Paolo Carignani.

To complete his operatic season, Costello looks forward to returning to Spain to make his house and role debuts as Fernand in Donizetti’s La favorite at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, in a new production by the great Argentinean-born actor-director Ariel García Valdés (July 10–24). Although new to La favorite, the tenor is no stranger to Donizetti. It was after seeing him in L’elisir d’amore at Glyndebourne that The Times of London was moved to marvel: “The best voice on stage belongs to Stephen Costello.

High-resolution photos can be downloaded here.





Stephen Costello: upcoming engagements

Jan 20, 27; Feb 1, 4, 6, 9, 21

Toronto, Canada

Canadian Opera Company

Verdi: Rigoletto (Duke of Mantua)

March 30; April 3; May 25, 30; June 3, 5, 8

Dresden, Germany

Dresden Opera

Verdi: Rigoletto (Duke of Mantua)

April 12, 13, 15

Munich, Germany

Munich Philharmonic (debut) / Manfred Honeck

Dvořák: Stabat Mater

May 3, 7, 11

Berlin, Germany

Deutsche Oper Berlin

Verdi: Rigoletto (Duke of Mantua)

July 10, 13, 16, 19, 21, 24

Barcelona, Spain

Gran Teatre del Liceu (debut)

Donizetti: La favorite (Fernand; role debut in new production)

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© 21C Media Group, January 2018