December 1, 2014

On February 6, Richard Tucker and Plácido Domingo Award-winner Ailyn Pérez makes her house debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in a star-studded production of Bizet’s Carmen. This marks a major milestone for the American soprano, and comes at a key moment in her burgeoning career. Having achieved star status in Europe with a string of successes at the opera houses of London, Vienna, Milan, Berlin, and Moscow – her title role performance in Verdi’s La Traviata this past spring at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden made history with the company’s first live streaming of a complete opera, and she made her debut at La Scala opposite Plácido Domingo in Simon Boccanegra – Pérez recently scored twin triumphs closer to home. This past summer, her Warner Classics album debut, Love Duets, was an “irresistible” (Gramophone) Billboard bestseller, and earlier this fall she took Houston by storm in her house and role debuts as Desdemona in Houston Grand Opera’s Otello, where she supplied “white hot passion…in spades” (Houston Press).

Met debut opposite Alagna and Kaufmann in Carmen
For her inaugural appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, Pérez undertakes the role of Micaëla for seven performances in Richard Eyre’s hit production of Carmen (Feb 6–March 7). Under the baton of French maestro Louis Langrée, she sings opposite the Don Josés of star tenors Roberto Alagna (Feb 6–26) and Jonas Kaufmann (March 4 & 7), with Elina Garanca reprising her acclaimed account of Bizet’s title role.

Pérez comments: “Every aspiring opera singer dreams of performing one day on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera, and the thought of making my debut there this winter is something that fills me with abundant joy and profound gratitude. To sing in a production that includes some of today’s most celebrated artists is a source of enormous pride, and I can hardly wait to work together with such esteemed colleagues.”

Pérez’s performances are distinguished by the fearlessness of her interpretations; she approaches each role with musical abandon, wholly embodying each of the characters she portrays. Micaëla is one of those on which she has already put her stamp; in her role debut at Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns 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.” 

Triumphant house and role debuts at Houston Grand Opera, and more
The soprano made a similarly memorable impact in her first appearances at the Houston Grand Opera last month, once again prompting the press to sit up and take note. Houstonia pronounced her “the ideal Desdemona,” and her standout performance was such that Classical Voice America headlined its review of the whole production: “Desdemona Debut A Ringing Success For Soprano Pérez.” “Pérez sang with a richness, warmth and poise that radiated her character’s good-heartedness,” agreed the Houston Chronicle. “From the outbursts that captured Desdemona’s anguish to the silky pianissimos that evoked a soul looking heavenward, Pérez’s voice revealed what the doomed woman felt.” As the Houston Press put it:

“If white hot passion was absent, soprano Ailyn Pérez supplied it in spades as Desdemona.  What a honey of a voice – warm, vibrant, a velvet sheen. A beauty on stage, she conquered,  soaring in the love duet, later defiantly protesting her innocence, or tenderly saying her  prayers in the plangent ‘Ave Maria,’ knowing full well what is about to happen. Our eyes  never left her, and we eagerly await her next appearance here in Houston, hopefully soon.  Her young career, ascendant, will be fun to watch.”

In addition to her successes on stage, Pérez also made waves with her first recording as an exclusive Warner Classics artist, joining her husband and fellow Tucker Award-winner, tenor Stephen Costello, for Love Duets, a collection of favorite romantic duets by composers from Puccini to Bernstein. Recorded with Patrick Summers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the album was a Billboard and UK Classical Chart bestseller. London’s Mail on Sunday, Classic FM, and Sunday Times named the disc their “Album of the Week”; Gramophone called it “irresistible”; the Philadelphia Inquirer proclaimed it “a knockout”; Vanity Fair admired the couple’s “steamy chemistry”; and Opera News marveled:

“Having conquered international opera stages both separately and together, [Pérez and Costello] join forces here for a sublime collection of some of the most unabashedly romantic duets from opera and musical theater. … Their chemistry is palpable and thrilling.”

More information about Ailyn Pérez’s upcoming engagements follows, and further details are provided at the websites listed below.


Ailyn Pérez: upcoming engagements

Nov 28; Dec 2, 11 & 16
Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg State Opera
Puccini: La bohème (Mimì)

Dec 31
Prague, Czech Republic
Czech Philharmonic
With Adam Plachetka, bass-baritone
New Year’s Eve concert

Feb 6, 9, 13, 19, 26; March 4 & 7
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera (debut)
Bizet: Carmen (Micaëla)

March 22
San Juan, Puerto Rico
“Una noche de Mexico”
Concert with Ramón Vargas, tenor

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, November 2014