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Ailyn Pérez & Stephen Costello release “Love Duets” for Warner Classics on June 3

June 3 brings the eagerly awaited release of Love Duets from Richard Tucker Award-winners Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez, dubbed “America’s fastest-rising husband-and-wife opera stars” (Associated Press). A collection of favorite romantic duets by composers ranging from Puccini to Bernstein, the new album, recorded for Warner Classics with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Patrick Summers, marks the couple’s debut release together, showcasing what the New York Times styles their “palpable chemistry”; according to Sinfini Music, the results are “pretty well perfect,” while the Philadelphia Inquirer pronounces the disc “a knockout.”

Singing opposite one another in leading romantic roles, Pérez and Costello consistently captivate opera house audiences with their vocal compatibility and unique rapport. In La bohème, the Los Angeles Times declared: “Pérez and Costello possess full-bodied voices and enjoy letting them bloom with Italianate leisure.” In La traviata, “there could not have been a more convincing pair of lovers” (Cincinnati Inquirer), and in excerpts from Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, the New York Times observed:

“In a deliciously comic scene with her husband and fellow Tucker Prize recipient, Stephen Costello, [Pérez] showed her sassy side, as [Adina] played hard to get in ‘Esulti pur la barbara’ from L’elisir d’amore. Each revealed a perfect grasp of comic timing in acting and singing.” 

Now Love Duets features the couple in selections from all three operas, as well from Rigoletto, Faust, Manon, L’amico Fritz, and the Broadway shows Carousel, Guys and Dolls, Kismet, and West Side Story (see full track listing below).   “We were very excited to do both operatic and Broadway material on this album, as both of these genres are so important to us,” notes Pérez. Costello adds: “We sing wonderful music from operas on this album, including Manon, which we’ve never done on stage together. But we’re also thrilled to include so much music from Broadway, which we feel so passionately about. Musical theater is an essential part of American culture, and it is great to sing this amazing music on our debut recording together.” Interspersed with footage from the London recording sessions, Pérez and Costello discuss their first recording as exclusive Warner Classics artists in a YouTube video, available here.

On April 29, they performed live in duet with the Royal Northern Sinfonia at London’s Royal Albert Hall, where they graced a spectacular evening of music and fireworks at the “Classic FM Live” gala. Further duo recitals this summer and fall include appearances at Quebec’s Festival des arts de Saint-Sauveur (Aug 1), Washington National Opera (Sep 10) and Opera Philadelphia, where Pérez and Costello launch the company’s 40th Anniversary Season with a special gala performance in the city where they first fell in love (Sep 12). Other dates will be announced soon.

Meanwhile the pair may be found headlining major productions together on both sides of the Atlantic. The soprano, a “winsome Adina” (Free Press Music Critic) recently made her house debut at Washington National Opera in L’elisir d’amore opposite her husband’s Nemorino.  The Baltimore Sun praised the production, observing: 

“It helps that WNO features the opera world’s current love couple, tenor Stephen Costello and his wife, soprano Ailyn Pérez, in several performances during the run.  You cannot miss the chemistry between these singers and the way they make the whole opera seem more involving. … The distinctive musicality from both impressed greatly, and their vibrant, nuanced acting lit up the stage all night.”

Next the couple returns to London’s Royal Opera House for Richard Eyre’s iconic staging of La traviata, which “remains one of the most glorious productions in the operatic repertoire” (Daily Express), and in which both singers have already scored triumphs. Costello’s portrayal of Alfredo at the house “brought real depth to the part” (Daily Express). Likewise when Pérez sang Violetta on tour with the company, The Guardian hailed her performance as “an unalloyed triumph” that marked “the unveiling of a new star,” and when she reprised the role at Covent Garden, the Observer pronounced her “an ideal Violetta.” For their first scheduled performances together in the Royal Opera House revival, she and her husband will be joined by Grammy Award-winner Simon Keenlyside’s Georgio Germont under the baton of Dan Ettinger, with Paul Wynne Griffiths leading the final performance (May 6–20). On May 20, the opera will be streamed live for free around the world as part of BP Big Screens 2014. The event will be the first live stream of a complete opera from The Royal Opera. In addition to being streamed online, La traviata will also be streamed in public squares and parks around the UK. More information is available at the Royal Opera House’s website.

Costello and Pérez visit their signature portrayals of the Verdi leads at San Francisco Opera this season, in a revival of John Copley’s take on La traviata, conducted by Giuseppe Finzi. Quinn Kelsey, hailed as “the Verdi baritone we’ve been waiting for” (Chicago Sun-Times), sings Germont (July 5–13). The opening night will be presented in a live simulcast at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.

More information about the artists is available at the web sites listed below, following details of their upcoming engagements together. High-resolution photos may be downloaded here.

Love Duets

Ailyn Pérez, soprano

Stephen Costello, tenor

BBC Symphony Orchestra / Patrick Summers

Warner Classics

U.S. release date: June 3


Track listing:

1.     Jules Massenet: “Toi! Yous!…N’est-ce plus ma main” from Manon

2.     Pietro Mascagni: “Suzel, buon dì” (Cherry Duet) from L’amico Fritz

3.     Giuseppe Verdi: “Signor né principe – E il sol…Addio! speranza” from Rigoletto

4.     Gaetano Donizetti: “Caro elisir…Esulti pur la barbara” from L’elisir d’amore

5.     Charles Gounod: “Il se fait tard” from Faust

6.     Giuseppe Verdi: “Un dì felice, eterea” from La traviata

7.     Giacomo Puccini: “O soave fanciulla” from La bohème

8.     Leonard Bernstein: “One hand, one heart” from West Side Story

9.     Rodgers & Hammerstein: “If I loved you” from Carousel

10.  Frank Loesser: “I’ll know” from Guys and Dolls

11.  Robert Wright & George Forrest: “And this is my beloved” from Kismet


Love Duets is available for pre-order from Amazon and iTunes.


Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez together:


May 6, 12, 17 & 20

London, UK

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Verdi: La traviata (Violetta; Alfredo)

May 20 – Live stream of La traviata on-line and in UK


July 5, 8, 11 & 13

San Francisco, CA                                                                                                                                                                                                 

San Francisco Opera

Verdi: La traviata (Violetta; Alfredo)

July 5 – Live simulcast of La traviata at San Francisco’s AT&T Park


Aug 1

Saint-Sauveur, QC, Canada

Festival des arts de Saint-Sauveur

Grand Chapiteau FASS Big Top

Duo recital: “Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello: From Puccini to Broadway”


Sep 10

Washington, DC

Washington National Opera

Duo recital: “An Evening with Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez”

With Danielle Orlando, piano


Sep 12

Philadelphia, PA

Opera Philadelphia

Duo recital: “40th Anniversary Gala Starring Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello”

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© 21C Media Group, April 2014

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