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Soprano Ailyn Pérez wins Plácido Domingo Award

American soprano Ailyn Pérez earned yet another honor on Wednesday when she was named the winner of the 15th annual Plácido Domingo Award. The prestigious award, personally given by Maestro Domingo to an artist of his choosing, celebrates the accomplishments of Hispanic artists as well as those who contribute to the awareness of opera and its educational value in the Latino community of Los Angeles. Earlier this year, Pérez also won the namesake award of one of the other legendary tenors in opera’s history – the 2012 Richard Tucker Award. Born in Chicago to Mexican parents, Pérez is the first Hispanic singer to receive the Richard Tucker Award in its 34-year history.
Pérez performed at this year’s annual Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala at Avery Fisher Hall on November 11, which was recently broadcast as part of the Emmy Award-winning Live From Lincoln Center series on PBS. Live from Lincoln Center: The Richard Tucker Opera Gala, which includes a feature on Pérez and backstage access to the artists in addition to selections from the musical performance, is now available for streaming both in the US and internationally on Live From Lincoln Center’s website.
The Plácido Domingo Award is the only one bearing the great tenor’s name; it is given annually by Hispanics for LA Opera, which supports LA Opera’s internationally acclaimed educational and community programming. Past winners of the award include: Chilean writer Antonio Skármeta; Spanish opera director Emilio Sagi; singers Nancy Herrera, Juan Diego Flórez, Juan Pons, Cristina Gallardo Domas, Rolando Villazón, Erwin Schrott, Veronica Villarroel, Ana María Martínez, Aquiles Machado, and Ramón Vargas; and the late composer Daniel Catán.
Pérez will return to the Hamburg State Opera to sing the role of Violetta in a new production of La traviata (Feb 17-March 19) by cutting-edge German director Johannes Erath, whose recent stagings include Massenet’s Cendrillon in Bern, Peter Eötvös’s Angels in America for Oper Frankfurt, and Orfeo ed Euridice and Aida at Cologne Opera. Then, in March, Pérez travels to Austria to take on Donizetti’s impetuous Adina in Otto Schenk’s production of L’elisir d’amore at the Vienna State Opera, opposite the Nemorino of her husband (and frequent musical collaborator), Stephen Costello (March 1-8).
She stays in Europe for her much-anticipated debut at England’s storied Glyndebourne Festival this summer as Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff. These Glyndebourne performances also mark her role debut as one of the objects of Sir John Falstaff’s misguided affection. Mark Elder conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and a cast that also features Laurent Naouri in the title role, Roman Burdenko as Ford, and Lucia Cirillo as Meg Page. The production, by Richard Jones, debuted at Glyndebourne in 2009 to rave reviews and was released on DVD by Opus Arte.
Ailyn Pérez is a graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts, Philadelphia and of Indiana University. In addition to winning the 2012 Richard Tucker Award, she is a recipient of the George London Foundation’s Leonie Rysanek Award, a 2007 winner of a Shoshana Foundation Career Grant, placed second in the 2006 Plácido Domingo Operalia competition, and was previously lauded by the Loren L. Zachary Foundation, Opera Index and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation.
Acclaim for Ailyn Pérez
Puccini’s La bohème (Mimì)
“A radiant Ailyn Pérez … displayed Mimì’s vulnerability, and the luster of her voice and depth of expression were assets from her first ‘Mi chiamano Mimi’ (They call me Mimi). In the end, her pure-toned recollection of their first meeting was heartbreaking.”
                         Cincinnati Enquirer
“a charming and poignant Mimì … (who) tore at the listeners’ heartstrings”
Music and Vision Daily
“Pérez … hung on to every line to imbue the music with nuance and innate fragility”
Verdi’s La traviata (Violetta)
“An ideal Violetta … the bewitching young American soprano puts her heart into every twist of the drama, from the impetuousness of her love for Alfredo…to the febrile emergency of her death … her performance was glorious, the quiet passages magical.”                                                                                        -– Observer (UK)
Mozart roles:
“Soprano Ailyn Pérez was glowing as the Countess, her ‘Dove Sono,’ sung with dignity as well as sorrow. Her voice was a golden filament that illuminated the nobility of spirit that would later lead the Countess to forgive her husband, the wayward Count.”
-– Pioneer Press
“A showstopping ‘Dove sono,’ all floating pianissimos and diminuendos and delicate pathos, that roused the sold-out crowd to a long, well-deserved ovation.”
– Chicago Tribune
Ailyn Pérez: selected 2012-13 engagements
Feb 17, 20; Mar 15, 19
Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg State Opera
Verdi: La traviata (Violetta) / new production
Mar 1, 4 & 8
Vienna, Austria
Vienna State Opera
Donizetti: L’elisir d’amore (Adina)
May 19, 24, 26 & 29; June 1, 6, 9, 15, 22 & 27; July 4, 9 & 14
Lewes, England
Verdi: Falstaff (Alice Ford) / role and house debut


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