November 5, 2018

Tucker Award-winner Stephen Costello – “the all-American tenor … at the top of his game” (Opera News) – makes his solo album debut with A Te, O Cara, a collection of bel canto arias by Donizetti, Bellini, and Verdi. Recorded with Lithuania’s Kaunas City Symphony and Grammy-nominated conductor Constantine Orbelian, “the singer’s dream collaborator” (Opera News), the disc is due for release by Delos on November 16. Click here to hear a sample track and here to preorder.

Dedicated by the tenor to his dear friend and colleague, the late Dmitri Hvorostovsky, A te, o cara (“To you, oh dear one”) comprises a program of arias from seven Donizetti operas – Anna Bolena, Don Pasquale, Don Sebastiano, La favorita, La fille du régiment, L’elisir d’amore, and Lucia di Lammermoor – punctuated with “Parmi veder le lagrime” from Verdi’s Rigoletto and the title track, “A te, o cara, amor talora,” from Bellini’s I puritani. Costello explains:

“This is a really exciting moment in my career. I’ve been considering making a solo album for a while. I looked at it like curating my own concert, and the theme of bel canto arias began to emerge. Every aria is about love, and each one really expresses a different theme or aspect of love, ranging from fulfillment to longing, jealousy, and torture. We have all had these different ups and downs with love – love is sometimes our friend and sometimes our enemy – and although an aria may sound beautiful, it may be about the way love can torture your soul.”

Bel canto operas, especially those of Donizetti, have long loomed large in the tenor’s career. Recent seasons have seen him sing Lord Percy to Anna Netrebko’s Anna Bolena at the Metropolitan Opera, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House and Canadian Opera Company, and Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore at houses from Washington National Opera to Glyndebourne. Costello brings the benefit of this live experience to the new recording, which has already been named the “Best Vocal Recital Disc of 2018” by Voix des Arts. The review continues:

“It is heart – the hearts of the characters whose music is sung, the heart of the singer bringing them to life, and the reactions of the listener’s heart to these performances – that makes this disc one to be celebrated as an important artist’s homage to the art that uplifts him. … A te, o cara is a disc in which smiles and tears meld with staggering verisimilitude. This is one of the glorious capabilities of music, and Stephen Costello brandishes it on this disc and on stage with vocal gold and artistic generosity.”

As Theater Jones notes, “Like other great vocalists, he has the ability to take the familiar and put his stamp on it. … [An] auspicious and touching debut album.”

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From the day after its release, the new album will feature as “Disc of the Week” on Canada’s CBC Music network. CBC also presents Costello in conversation that day, discussing his favorite opera recording – a classic version of Verdi’s Rigoletto, starring Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, and Joan Sutherland – with host Ben Heppner. Click here to livestream the broadcast on November 17 at 1pm ET.

Next up is a return to the signature role of Puccini’s Rodolfo, which Costello reprises in German productions of La bohème at the Dresden Opera (Dec 22–March 23) and Mannheim’s National Theater (Jan 12) this winter. These engagements follow his season-launching role debut as Don José in Bizet’s Carmen at the Dallas Opera, where he is a firm house favorite. Singing opposite French mezzo-soprano Stéphanie d’Oustrac under the baton of music director Emmanuel Villaume, the tenor immediately made his mark on the role. The Dallas News reported: “We know from the start that Stephen Costello’s Don José is a troubled soul who’ll be prey to the machinations of the beautiful, wily Carmen. His growing desperation is vividly captured in a sinewy lyric tenor.” Indeed, Theater Jones observed: “Vocally, Costello has never sounded better. … He commands the stage and puts the audience on the edge of their seats.” As the Toronto Star recently remarked, Costello is “the best American operatic tenor the world has right now. He produces the kind of ringing, opera house-filling notes that give opera lovers goosebumps.”

High-resolution photos can be downloaded here.

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A Te, O Cara
Stephen Costello sings bel canto

Label: Delos
Release date: November 16
Click here to preorder

Stephen Costello, tenor
Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra
Constantine Orbelian, conductor

DONIZETTI:
“Ah mes amis” from La fille du régiment
“Pour me rapprocher de Marie” from La fille du régiment
BELLINI:
“A te, o cara” from I puritani
DONIZETTI:
“Deserto in terra” from Don Sebastiano
“Quanto e bella” from L’elisir d’amore
“Una furtiva lagrima” from L’elisir d’amore
“Sogno soave e casto” from Don Pasquale
“Spirto gentil” from La favorita
“Vivi tu, te ne scongiuro” from Anna Bolena
VERDI:
“Parmi veder le lagrime” from Rigoletto
DONIZETTI:
“Fra poco a me ricovero” from Lucia di Lammermoor

 

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© 21C Media Group, November 2018