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Stephen Costello has impending house debuts in Munich, Houston, and Washington DC

Winter brings a trio of momentous house debuts for Richard Tucker Award-winner Stephen Costello. On the heels of headlining La bohème in his first appearances at Munich’s Bavarian State Opera (Dec 15-23), he heads home to the States to make debuts at Houston Grand Opera, as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto (Jan 24–Feb 9), and the Washington National Opera, where he revisits Ishmael/Greenhorn, the role he originally created, in the East Coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick (Feb 22–March 8). The tenor will then remain in DC to reprise his star turn as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore (March 20-29). One of today’s most compelling exponents of Donizetti’s lovelorn peasant, Costello was the obvious choice to sing favorite Nemorino numbers at Lincoln Center’s star-studded Richard Tucker Gala last month; gracing “a dream team of opera singers,” his performance in “a deliciously comic scene” from L’elisirrevealed [his] perfect grasp of comic timing in acting and singing” (New York Times).
For Costello’s Bavarian State Opera debut – an exciting, eleventh-hour addition to his schedule – he gives four performances as Rodolfo opposite Ana María Martínez’s Mimì in Otto Schenk’s classic take on La bohème, with Asher Fisch on the podium (Dec 15, 17, 20 & 23). The tenor has already won acclaim for his portrayal of Puccini’s hero: at Los Angeles Opera, he proved “a spectacular Rodolfo” (Music and Vision), and at the Vienna State Opera his performance was pronounced “vocally and dramatically enchanting” (Der Standard).
In his eagerly anticipated first appearances at Houston Grand Opera, Costello sings the Duke of Mantua in Verdi’s Rigoletto, with Ryan McKinny in the title role and Elizabeth Zharoff as Gilda. HGO Music and Artistic Director Patrick Summers will lead the Harry Silverstein production, which won praise in Opera News for its synthesis of “sinuous, sinister conniving, feverish energy, claustrophobia, and tender intimacy.” The tenor recently performed Rigoletto highlights at concerts in San Francisco and New York, prompting the San Francisco Chronicle to admire his “blazing rendition of the cabaletta, ‘Possente amor,’” and the New York Times to single out his “stellar rendition of ‘Parmi veder le lagrime.’
It was Costello who inaugurated the role of Ishmael/Greenhorn in the Dallas Opera’s world-premiere presentation of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick; he was hailed as “a tenor of ineffable sensitivity, with unfailing elegance in singing and a disconcerting ease in producing notes in head-voice” (Opera magazine), while Heggie’s Melville adaptation went on to win “Best Opera” and its director, Leonard Foglia, “Best Director of an Opera” at Australia’s prestigious 2012 Helpmann Awards. In Costello’s reprise of the role at San Francisco Opera last season, he impressed the San Francisco Chronicle with his “bright-toned, sympathetic Greenhorn,” and when the production was televised nationwide on PBS’s Great Performances last month, the Philadelphia Inquirer concluded: “Moby-Dick…succeeds on every level, thanks in part to a charismatic cast headed by…Stephen Costello.” At Washington National Opera, the tenor will join an all-American cast conducted by Evan Rogister, again in Leonard Foglia’s hit staging, for Moby-Dick’s East Coast premiere.
Costello will stay on at the Kennedy Center for Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, in a revival of Stephen Lawless’s production, conducted by Ward Stare. The tenor’s Nemorino is a signature role and has been justly celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic. At Glyndebourne, the Arts Desk declared: “Costello’s Nemorino was a revelation,” and The Times stated simply: “The best voice on stage belongs to Stephen Costello.” At Michigan Opera Theatre, his outstanding interpretation of the role inspired comparable raves. The Detroit News observed:
“It’s hard to know which to admire more, Costello’s smart, heart-tugging comic turn, something between Charlie Chaplin and a young Steve Martin, or his superb singing – and not just in Nemorino’s hugely famous lament ‘Una furtiva lagrima.’”
As Opera News recognized, in the Donizetti role, the tenor showed himself to be “a first-rate talent…clearly destined for a major career.”
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Together with his wife and fellow Tucker Award-winner, Ailyn Pérez, Costello also looks forward in the New Year to releasing an album of romantic love duets by Verdi, Puccini, Bernstein, and others. Recorded with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Patrick Summers, the new disc marks the couple’s first exclusive recording with Warner Classics. The Los Angeles Times remarks: “Pérez and Costello possess full-bodied voices and enjoy letting them bloom with Italianate leisure.”
Further details of Stephen Costello’s upcoming engagements follow, and more information about the artist is available at the web sites listed below.

Stephen Costello: winter engagements
December 15, 17, 20, 23
Munich, Germany
Bavarian State Opera (debut)
La bohème (Rodolfo)
Jan 24, 26, 29; Feb 1, 7, 9
Houston, TX
Houston Grand Opera (debut)
Verdi: Rigoletto (Duke of Mantua)
Feb 22, 25, 28; March 2, 5, 8
Washington, DC
Washington National Opera (debut)
Jake Heggie: Moby-Dick (Ishmael/Greenhorn)
Mar 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29
Washington DC
Washington National Opera
Donizetti: L’elisir d’amore (Nemorino)
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© 21C Media Group, December 2013





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