Press Room

Stephen Costello stars in SFO’s Moby-Dick on PBS’s Great Performances This Friday(Nov 1)

On Friday, November 1, Stephen Costello comes to PBS’s Great Performances, when the San Francisco Opera’s October 2012 presentation of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s hit opera Moby-Dick is televised nationwide. The high-definition live-to-tape broadcast stars the Richard Tucker Award-winning tenor as “a bright-toned, sympathetic Greenhorn” (San Francisco Chronicle), in the role he originally created for the Dallas Opera’s world-premiere production, when Opera magazine hailed him as “a tenor of ineffable sensitivity, with unfailing elegance in singing.” Costello, styled one of “the new rock stars of opera” in the November issue of Details magazine, looks forward to reprising the role for his Washington National Opera debut in February, and may also be heard alongside Joyce DiDonato and Nathan Gunn in another Heggie/Scheer collaboration: the song-cycle album HERE/AFTER (songs of lost voices), which was released this week by PentaTone Classics.
Moby-Dick was named “Best Opera” at Australia’s prestigious Helpmann Awards for the performing arts, and San Francisco Opera’s production was warmly embraced by the press. The San Francisco Chronicle called it “a masterpiece of clarity and intensity, with a score that is at once thematically compact and richly inventive,” while the San Jose Mercury News pronounced it “awesome in a 21st-century Broadway kind of way.”
For Costello, part of the appeal of his own role is that Greenhorn (Ishmael in Melville’s novel) is the character who undergoes the greatest transformation. In a recent Opera News interview, the tenor explains: “Greenhorn has an arc. He has nothing on land. He wants to die at sea as a fisherman, and why not? Then he meets Queequeg, who changes his life completely and gives him a sense of being and purpose. Without that arc, it would be much harder to put on this opera.
As Costello notes, the PBS telecast makes Heggie’s masterpiece available to a far wider audience than is usually the case for a new opera. “Having Moby-Dick on TV with Great Performances is very exciting, because a new piece like this deserves such broad exposure. It’s a chance for people in different cities and different countries all to have the opportunity to experience this great work. We really should celebrate someone like Jake Heggie who is alive and working today, writing wonderful music and putting it on stage.
On October 29, the tenor’s Greenhorn portrayal will continue to reach new audiences when San Francisco Opera, in partnership with EuroArts Music International, releases the world premiere recording of Moby-Dick on DVD and Blu-ray.
Costello also looks forward to collaborating with his wife and fellow Tucker Award-winner, soprano Ailyn Pérez, on their first album together: a disc of romantic love duets recorded with the BBC Symphony under Patrick Summers, to be released on the Warner Classics label. Dubbed “America’s fastest-rising husband-and-wife opera stars” by the Associated Press, Costello and Pérez recently impressed the New York Times with their “palpable chemistry.”
The tenor’s profile continues to rise. Besides his inclusion in the November issue of Details, Costello is also featured in an article about young opera singers in the October 21 edition of the Economist.
Further details of Stephen Costello’s summer engagements follow, and more information about the artist is available at the web sites listed below.

Stephen Costello: fall and winter engagements
Oct 25, 28, 31; Nov 3
Vienna, Austria
Wiener Staatsoper
Donizetti: Anna Bolena (Percy)
Nov 1, 9pm EST (check local listings)
PBS broadcast of San Francisco Opera’s Moby-Dick (Greenhorn)
Great Performances
Nov 8, 12
Vienna, Austria
Wiener Staatsoper
Donizetti: L’elisir d’amore (Nemorino)
Nov 17
New York, NY
Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center
Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala
Nov 30; Dec 4
Berlin, Germany
Deutsche Oper-Berlin
Verdi: La traviata (Alfredo)
Dec 17
Philadelphia, PA
Kimmel Center
Duo recital with soprano Ailyn Pérez
Jan 24, 26, 29; Feb 1, 7, 9
Houston, TX
Houston Grand Opera
Verdi: Rigoletto (Duke)
Feb 22, 25, 28; March 2, 5, 8
Washington, DC
Washington National Opera
Jake Heggie: Moby-Dick (Greenhorn)
#          #          #
© 21C Media Group, October 2013









Return to Press Room