Press Room

Stephen Costello in 2012-13: “Moby-Dick,” Donizetti, and more

Richard Tucker Award-winner Stephen Costello launches his 2012-13 season on October 10, when he makes his San Francisco Opera debut in Heggie and Scheer’s Moby-Dick as Greenhorn (Ishmael), the role he inaugurated in Dallas Opera’s celebrated world premiere two years ago. The Philadelphia-born tenor returns to California in January 2013 to tackle a new role – Tonio – in Donizetti’s La fille du régiment, which opens the San Diego Opera season. In Europe, Costello makes his Berlin Staatsoper debut this December as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème, before returning to the Vienna Staatsoper in March to sing Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore opposite his wife and frequent co-star, Ailyn Pérez. The tenor wraps up the new season with his third Donizetti tour de force, as Edgardo in David Alden’s groundbreaking staging of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Canadian Opera Company.
At the Dallas Opera’s “achingly beautiful, magnificently sung, and gorgeously staged” (Associated Press) premiere of Jake Heggie’s opera Moby-Dick, Costello’s performance inspired a spate of positive press. The San Francisco Chronicle found him “an ardent, sweet-voiced Greenhorn,” while Opera magazine described him as “a tenor of ineffable sensitivity, with unfailing elegance in singing and a disconcerting ease in producing notes in head-voice.”
Now the tenor looks forward to reprising his portrayal of Melville’s narrator for his San Francisco Opera debut at the opera’s West Coast premiere, which reunites many of the original cast and crew, including conductor Patrick Summers and Canadian tenor Ben Heppner as Ahab. Costello sings Greenhorn in all eight performances (Oct 10–Nov 2).
The tenor returns to the California coast in the new year to make his role debut at San Diego Opera as Tonio in La fille du régiment, his first Donizetti opera of the season. Costello sings opposite Slovakian soprano L’ubica Vargicová in the high-flying title role, with Emilio Sagi directing the production from Italy’s Teatro Comunale di Bologna (Jan 26–Feb 3). After a previous appearance by the tenor at the company, San Diego Arts marveled: “To describe the tall, broad-shouldered Costello as dashing is like calling Bill Gates well-off. And when Costello holds his gorgeous high notes just a few beats longer without the slightest sense of strain – now that is why folks come to the opera!”
Costello’s first European appearance of the season also marks another important first: his debut at the Berlin Staatsoper as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème. He has performed the role in Los Angeles and Cincinnati, where the latter city’s Enquirer observed: “One could hardly wish for a finer ensemble of singing actors than these Bohemians, led by the poet Rodolfo, wonderfully sung by Stephen Costello…. Costello’s fresh, Italianate tenor was consistently a joy to hear.” Rounding out the Bohemian quartet In Berlin will be Kristine Opolais as Mimì and Anna Samuil as Musetta, and Mexican baritone Alfredo Daza as Marcello, in a revival of Lindy Hume’s celebrated production, with Andris Nelsons on the podium (Dec 2–30).
Also in Europe, Costello returns for a third consecutive season to the Vienna Staatsoper, where he will sing Nemorino opposite his wife and fellow Tucker Award-winner, soprano Ailyn Pérez, in Otto Schenk’s staging of L’elisir d’amore (March 1–8). The tenor’s collaborations with Pérez have consistently won praise for their potent chemistry, and his Nemorino has been justly celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic, inspiring Opera News to pronounce him “a first-rate talent” at Michigan Opera and the UK’s Arts Desk to declare that at Glyndebourne “Costello’s Nemorino was a revelation.”
For his third and final Donizetti opera this season, Costello heads to Toronto to co-star with soprano Anna Christy in the Canadian Opera Company’s Lucia di Lammermoor, a revival of David Alden’s English National Opera production that the UK’s Telegraph called “a magnificent conception” (April 17–24).
Costello launched the 2011-12 season with his second opening-night performance at New York’s Metropolitan Opera as Lord Percy in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena. He made his company role debut as Alfredo in Verdi’s La traviata at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; sang Rodolfo opposite Pérez in Los Angeles Opera’s La bohème; Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore at the Vienna State Opera; Leicester in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda in concert performances at Munich’s Gasteig; Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor at Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville; Fritz in Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz at the Moscow Philharmonic; and Alfredo in La traviata (again opposite Pérez), with Cincinnati Opera, where the couple scored rave reviews. According to Music in Cincinnati
“No better leads could have been hoped for than Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello as Violetta and Alfredo (both winners of the Richard Tucker Award, by the way). Being husband and wife may not necessarily guarantee credibility onstage, but for this couple, it did. Their interaction was warm and natural, and Pérez’s full, sweet soprano blended beautifully with Costello’s robust tenor. Both displayed fine acting skills, and consonant with today’s visually oriented society, they looked their parts, she petite and lovely, he youthful and handsome.”
The tenor maintained a strong media presence in 2011-12, discussing Anna Bolena on television’s Charlie Rose show with Anna Netrebko and Met general manager Peter Gelb; appearing in the pages of Vanity Fair with Pérez as “a match made in verismo heaven”; and being named one of “opera’s five sexiest men” by Marie Claire Italia. He was also spotlighted as one of “nine operatic tweeters to follow” by WQXR, which remarked: “As fastidious and egocentric as the stereotypical tenor is painted, Costello’s tweets on life, the universe, and everything are anything but.” (The station cited the tenor’s plaintive musing: “Why do I feel like my zipper is down when I go on stage? The things that leave me puzzled.”)
Further details of Stephen Costello’s upcoming engagements follow, and more information about the artist is available at the websites listed at the end of this release.
Stephen Costello: engagements 2012-13
Oct 10, 13, 18, 21, 23, 26 & 30; Nov 2
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Opera (debut)
Jake Heggie: Moby-Dick (Greenhorn)
Dec 2, 7, 9, 12, 16, 19, 22, 25 & 30
Berlin, Germany
Berlin Staatsoper (debut)
Puccini: La bohème (Rodolfo)
Jan 26 & 29; Feb 1 & 3
San Diego, CA
San Diego Opera
Donizetti: La fille du régiment (Tonio – role debut)
March 1, 4 & 8
Vienna, Austria
Vienna Staatsoper
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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