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Stephen Costello headlines Donizetti operas in Vienna and Toronto

The applause was deafening” (Opera Today) when Richard Tucker Award-winner Stephen Costello made his role debut as Tonio in La fille du régiment at San Diego Opera last month. This auspicious start marked the first of the tenor’s three Donizetti leads this year, the next of which sees him return to the Vienna State Opera to sing Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore opposite his wife and frequent co-star, Ailyn Pérez, (March 1–8) before taking on Edgardo in David Alden’s groundbreaking staging of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Canadian Opera Company (April 17–May 24).

As the male lead of La fille du régiment, the tenor scored a hit at San Diego Opera. Opera Today reported:

“Stephen Costello once again showed us the warm, bright ringing tones of his tenor voice. San Diego has heard him as Romeo and Faust, but the role of Tonio is much more demanding than either. His virtuosic first act aria ‘Ah, mes amis,’ is well known for its nine high Cs and Costello hit each of them exactly in the center of the note, holding the last one with seeming ease. Naturally, the applause was deafening. For the rest of his role he was a charming lover who sang with exquisite lyric tones.”

Now Costello returns for a third consecutive season to the Vienna State Opera, singing Nemorino opposite his wife and fellow Tucker Award-winner, soprano Ailyn Pérez, in Otto Schenk’s iconic staging of L’elisir d’amore. Stephen had this to say about his upcoming performance: “I’m very excited to return to Vienna to sing a great opera at a beautiful house, alongside my beautiful wife, Ailyn, who I have not seen in over a month. The audiences there are wonderful, it’s a great company to work for, and many great artists have performed this role on that stage, so it is incredible to be part of it.”

The tenor’s Nemorino has been justly celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic, inspiring Opera News (speaking of his Michigan Opera Theatre performances) to pronounce him “a first-rate talent”; the UK’s Arts Desk declared that, at Glyndebourne, “Costello’s Nemorino was a revelation.” His collaborations with Pérez have also consistently won praise for their potent chemistry; the two are profiled in the cover story of Classical Singer’s February 2013 issue, they were featured in the June 2012 Issue of Vanity Fair, and they were recently billed as “opera’s hottest couple” at Los Angeles Opera. When they headlined L’elisir at Michigan Opera in March 2009, the Free Press Music Critic was moved to marvel:

“The gorgeous singing, lucid acting, and palpable chemistry between Costello’s Nemorino and Ailyn Pérez’s Adina elevated the evening to a higher plane. … From beginning to end, I had a smile on my face.”

It was at Montreal Opera that the tenor demonstrated his “rich, powerful, nuanced voice” and “strong stage presence” as Edgardo in the company’s “landmark” presentation of Lucia di Lammermoor (Res Musica). In April, for his third and final Donizetti opera of the season, Costello returns to Canada to co-star with soprano Anna Christy in the Canadian Opera Company’s Lucia, a revival of David Alden’s English National Opera production that the UK’s Telegraph called “a magnificent conception.” Stephen Costello had this to say: “I’m looking forward to making my Toronto debut and to working with an old friend, conductor Stephen Lord, on this production.”

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: spring engagements
March 1, 4, & 8
Vienna, Austria
Vienna State Opera
Donizetti: L’elisir d’amore (Nemorino)

April 17, 20, 26, & 30; May 9, 12, 15, 18, & 24
Toronto, Canada
Canadian Opera Company
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)

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