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Stephen Costello headlines “La traviata” at Cincinnati Opera July 26 & 28

When Stephen Costello made his house role debut as Alfredo in La traviata at Covent Garden this season, he took the British capital by storm. As the Daily Express observed, “Stephen Costello brought real depth to the part. This young American has risen rapidly to claim a place among the world’s best tenors and recent performances show that he has the acting abilities to match his wonderfully smooth and powerful voice.” Now the tenor brings his portrayal of Verdi’s doomed lover to Cincinnati Opera, where he sings opposite his wife (and fellow Tucker Award-winner), lyric soprano Ailyn Pérez, on July 26 and 28.
The couple, dubbed “America’s fastest-rising husband-and-wife opera stars” (Associated Press), last appeared together at Cincinnati Opera in a production of La bohème that proved to be one of the company’s standout success stories. The Enquirer declared that Costello’s Rodolfo was “wonderfully sung,” while Music in Cincinnati reported, “The two singers made an attractive and emotionally appealing couple, with fresh young voices that soared… . The chemistry between Costello and Pérez was potent.” They recently appeared together in Los Angeles Opera’s revival of La bohème (the Los Angeles Times praised their “full-bodied voices” which they let “bloom with Italianate leisure”), followed by a concert performance of Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz with the Moscow Philharmonic. The June issue of Vanity Fair called them “a match made in verismo heaven.”
The Cincinnati presentation of La traviata comes courtesy of Lyric Opera of Chicago, where the Chicago Tribune pronounced it a “compelling new production: lavish, colorful, tuneful, romantic and, above all, Italian.” With stage direction by Jose Maria Condemi, the role of Germont will be sung by Sardinian baritone Marco Caria, with Italian conductor Carlo Montanaro, a protégé of Zubin Mehta, on the podium.
“I feel very comfortable with Ailyn on stage and that allows me to be more intimate in love scenes,” Costello explains. “I also think she is a singer who takes chances when given and that means I have to take chances in order to hold my own on stage.”
The two singers appeared together at New York’s Greene Space on June 27, in a special sold-out event celebrating recent winners of the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, conferred annually on an opera singer at the threshold of a major international career. Costello won the Tucker Award in 2009 and Pérez in 2012, rendering the pair the first married couple to have each won a Richard Tucker Award. The event, which was transmitted at by live video webcast (and will be re-broadcast on August 28, this year’s Richard Tucker Day), can be seen at – !/programs/live-broadcasts/2012/jun/27.
Stephen Costello began his 2011-12 season as Lord Percy in an opening night performance in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, featuring Anna Netrebko in the title role. He launches his 2012-13 season with a debut at San Francisco Opera as Greenhorn/Ishmael in Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby Dick (Oct 10-Nov 2). Costello created the role to great acclaim when Dallas Opera presented the opera’s world-premiere performances in spring 2010.
Further details of La traviata at Cincinnati Opera follow, and more information about Stephen Costello is available at the web sites listed below.
July 26 & 28
Cincinnati Opera
Cincinnati, OH
Verdi: La traviata
Alfredo: Stephen Costello
Violetta: Ailyn Pérez
Germont: Marco Caria
Flora: Stacey Rishoi
Marquis d’Obigny: Kenneth Shaw
Baron Douphol: Jonathan Stinson
Doctor Grenvil: Claude Cassion
Conductor: Carlo Montanaro
Stage director: Jose Maria Condemi
Scenic & costume designer: Desmond Heeley

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