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Ailyn Pérez makes house & role debuts as Desdemona in HGO’s “Otello”

Richard Tucker and Plácido Domingo Award-winner Ailyn Pérez makes her hotly anticipated Houston Grand Opera debut this Friday (Oct 24), in what also marks her role debut as Desdemona in Otello. Under the baton of Patrick Summers, Houston’s artistic and music director, she stars opposite Simon O’Neill as Otello and Marco Vratogna as Iago in the company’s staging of John Cox’s hit production of the Shakespearean tragedy, which runs through November 7. While these will be her first appearances as Verdi’s falsely accused heroine, the American soprano is no stranger to his leading ladies; long recognized as “an ideal Violetta” (Observer, UK), she most recently headlined La traviata at London’s Royal Opera House, where her performance was simulcast free online in the company’s first live stream of a complete opera, and at the San Francisco Opera, where her outstanding portrayal “confirmed her artistic maturity” (San Francisco Classical Voice).

The new role represents an important step for Pérez, whose work is distinguished by the deep and fearless connections she forges with each of the parts she plays, and her exceptional ability to harness music for dramatic expression while remaining always in character. As WQXR’s Operavore notes, “Pérez has the laudable gift of vivid verbal characterization: her Manon, Violetta and Gilda sound like entirely different people.” Indeed, in the title role of San Francisco Opera’s La traviata,

“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 your eyes off her. Her pain was so palpable, and her conviction so moving that Violetta became real before our eyes.” (San Francisco Classical Voice)

Following a return to the Hamburg State Opera as Mimì in La bohème (Nov 28–Dec 16), the soprano makes another milestone American house debut, giving her first performances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. This time the vehicle is Bizet’s Carmen, in which she sings Micaëla 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 the Richard Eyre production (Feb 6–March 7). The role is another of those on which Pérez has already put her stamp; in Carmen 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.”

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

Ailyn Pérez: upcoming engagements
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

Feb 6, 9, 13, 19, 26; March 4 & 7
New York, NY
Metropolitan Opera (debut)
Bizet: Carmen (Micaëla)
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© 21C Media Group, October 2014




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