Press Room

Stephen Costello’s 2013-14 includes Moby-Dick on PBS, plus debuts in Houston and DC

Opera News describes tenor Stephen Costello as “a first-class talent whose enormous talent and musical instincts mark him for potential greatness.” The 2013-14 season sees the Philadelphia native set to realize more of that potential than ever with high-profile performances on the concert stage and in the opera house, along with appearances on TV and recordings. Costello kicks off his season on September 20-27 with a turn as Alfredo in a Verdi bicentennial production of La Traviata at Hamburg State Opera that features his wife – soprano Ailyn Pérez – in the title role. Vanity Fair described the couple as “a match made in verismo heaven.” They also appear together in La Traviata this season at London’s Royal Opera, Covent Garden (May 6-20) and San Francisco Opera (July 5-13). Costello and Pérez – both former Richard Tucker Award winners – pair to sing at the 100th birthday Richard Tucker Foundation Gala at Lincoln Center (Nov 17) and for a duo recital at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia (Dec 17). This fall, Costello sings in Vienna State Opera productions of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena (Oct 25–Nov 3) and L’elisir d’amore (Nov 8, 12). On November 1 the tenor stars as Greenhorn, a role he created, in the PBS broadcast of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick taped live last season at San Francisco Opera; he returns to Moby-Dick to make his Washington National Opera debut (Feb 22–March 8). He will remain in Washington to portray Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore with the WNO (March 20-29). Costello makes his Houston Grand Opera debut as the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto (Jan 24–Feb 9), reprising the role at the Hamburg State Opera in the spring with Pérez as Gilda (May 24–June 1). A fall concert at Frankfurt Alte Oper pairs Costello with another distinguished soprano, Angela Gheorghiu, for a program of duets and arias (Oct 15). 
Moby-Dick on PBS and in DC
Costello created the role of Greenhorn for the 2010 Dallas Opera premiere of Moby-Dick in 2010. Opera magazine – reviewing his performances in the role – hailed him as “a tenor of ineffable sensitivity, with unfailing elegance.” Looking ahead to the PBS broadcast on November 1 and his Washington National Opera debut in February and March, Costello says: “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 to all 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.” Costello will also sing the music of Jake Heggie on the new recording here/after (songs of lost voices), to be issued in October on the PentaTone Classics label. The album is a collection of songs Heggie wrote in collaboration with librettist and poet Gene Scheer, and features performances by Joyce DiDonato, Nathan Gunn and others.
Houston Grand Opera debut
San Diego Arts raved: “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!” The tenor is looking forward to making his long-awaited Houston Grand Opera debut as the swaggering Duke in Rigoletto (Jan 24–Feb 9). Costello says: “I’m Looking forward to singing the Duke again. The last time I sang the role was with Maestro Bartoletti, who I was so fortunate to be able to work with before his passing. I will always remember him each time I visit the role of the Duke. This is a great opportunity to revisit the work – particularly as I’ll be returning to the piece once or twice a season for the next several years. Houston has a beautiful hall and working with HGO music director Patrick Summers is always a joy.”
Donizetti in Vienna
The New York Times has praised Costello’s voice as “virile and fresh, yet meltingly lyrical,” while the Associated Press described it as “brimming with youthful vigor and passion.” This autumn, that vitality will grace two Donizetti operas at the Vienna State Opera: Anna Bolena (Oct 25–Nov 3) and L’elisir d’amore (Nov 8, 12). Costello says: “Vienna has become a nice little home for Ailyn and I, and we have a lot of friends there now. And it will be great to visit my role in Anna Bolena for the third time. Percy is a role that I love singing, one that I feel really comfortable in. Performing in a place like Vienna, and especially with soprano Krassimira Stoyanova as Anna, makes it a treat. I’m also singing in L’elisir d’amore there with my good friend Adam Plachetka in the role of Dr. Dulcamara. Performing with the Vienna State Opera is a lot like performing at the Met – there’s luxury casting at a house like this.”
La Traviata  
The Associated Press has dubbed Costello and Pérez “America’s fastest-rising husband-and-wife opera stars.” The New York Times, covering a recent performance at a Lincoln Center gala, was struck by how the couple “displayed palpable chemistry in a tender duet.” Costello and Pérez appeared together on the cover of the February issue of Classical Singer magazine, and the documentary feature “Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez: An Operatic Love Story” is also available on YouTube. They will perform together at the Richard Tucker Foundation gala on November 17; when they appeared at the same event in 2012 the gala was broadcast nationally on Live from Lincoln Center and is still available for on-demand streaming. About their string of La Traviata productions together this season, Costello says: “I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season and all of these Traviatas with Ailyn. It’s nice to be like a normal family once in a while and come home to each other every night instead of an empty hotel room and a Skype chat. Plus, it feels fresh and different every time we do Traviata. We perform these roles together and with different people so it’s not like we are ever doing the same Traviata over and again. We always end up doing new things that can surprise each other – in a good way.” In addition to multiple Traviatas and the Hamburg Rigoletto, Costello and Pérez will also be heard this season on their first recording together, an album of arias and duets slated for release in spring 2014 (details TBA).
Stephen Costello’s 2013-14 engagements
Sep 20, 24, 27
Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg State Opera
Verdi: La Traviata (Alfredo)
Oct 15
Frankfurt, Germany
Frankfurt Alte Oper
Concert with Angela Gheorghiu
Oct 25, 28, 31; Nov 3
Vienna, Austria
Wiener Staatsoper
Donizetti: Anna Bolena (Percy)
Nov 1
PBS broadcast of Moby-Dick
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, 2014
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 (Ishmael)    
March 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29
Washington, DC
Washington National Opera
Donizetti: L’elisir d’amore (Nemorino)
May 6, 12, 17, 20
London, UK
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Verdi: La Traviata (Alfredo)
May 24, 29; June 1
Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg State Opera
Verdi: Rigoletto (Duke)
July 5, 8, 11, 13
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Opera
Verdi: La Traviata (Alfredo)          
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© 21C Media Group, September 2013



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