Stephen Costello Will Headline WNO 'L'elisir' & Baltimore Gala this Spring
Richard Tucker Award-winning tenor Stephen Costello reprises his star turn as Nemorino in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore at Washington National Opera (WNO) from March 20-29, following his triumphant house debut as Ishmael/Greenhorn - the role he originally created - in WNO's recent East Coast premiere of Moby-Dick. The Kennedy Center production kicks off a full spring for the tenor, who looks forward to headlining "Toujours L'Amour" on April 25 at Lyric Opera Baltimore, where he will be joined by soprano Nicole Cabell in an orchestral gala celebration of French grand opera. June brings the U.S. release of Love Duets, Costello's first recording as an exclusive Warner Classics artist, on which he sings opposite his wife and fellow Tucker Award-winner, soprano Ailyn Pérez. She also serves as his co-star in WNO's L'elisir as well as in two productions of La traviata, at Covent Garden (May 6-20) and San Francisco Opera (July 5-13), and a Rigoletto in Hamburg (May 24-June 1).
Costello is one of today's most compelling exponents of Donizetti's lovelorn peasant; his Nemorino has been justly celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic.
For four of his six appearances in DC, Costello will star opposite the Adina of Ailyn Pérez, with whom, it was just announced, he will return in September for a special concert of duets to open Washington National Opera's 2014-15 season. When they performed excerpts from L'elisir together at the star-studded 2013 Richard Tucker Gala, the New York Times admired the couple's "perfect grasp of comic timing in acting and singing." For the remaining performances, he will be joined by soprano Sarah Coburn, "a budding prima donna of exceptional promise" (New York Observer). Aspen Conducting Prize-winner Ward Stare leads Washington's revival of the celebrated Stephen Lawless production, about which the Washington Post confesses: "It is difficult to imagine any spectator so hardhearted as to be able to resist the sustained jollity."
When Costello featured an aria from Gounod's Faust in a recent gala appearance at Avery Fisher Hall, his "bright, ringing top notes" impressed the New York Times. On April 25, the tenor demonstrates his feel for French repertoire in Lyric Opera Baltimore's gala presentation of "Toujours L'Amour - A Celebration of French Grand Opera," together with soprano Nicole Cabell, winner of the 2005 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Their renditions of duets and arias from Faust and other masterpieces of the genre, including Roméo et Juliette, Manon, and Thaïs, will be supported by the Concert Artists of Baltimore, led by artistic director Edward Polochick.
Costello's way with the great romantic partnerships of opera may also be heard soon on Love Duets, a collection of favorite romantic duets by composers from Puccini to Bernstein, drawn from L'elisir d'amore, La traviata, Rigoletto, Faust, Roméo et Juliette, Carmen, Manon, La bohème, and L'amico Fritz, as well as from Broadway's Carousel, Guys and Dolls, Kismet, and West Side Story. Recorded in London with Ailyn Pérez and the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Patrick Summers, the new album showcases what the New York Times calls Costello's "palpable chemistry" with his wife; the Associated Press dubs the pair "America's fastest-rising husband-and-wife opera stars," while their vocal compatibility prompted the Los Angeles Times to declare: "Pérez and Costello possess full-bodied voices and enjoy letting them bloom with Italianate leisure." Love Duets marks the tenor's first recording with Pérez, as he discusses with her - interspersed with footage from the recording sessions - in a YouTube video available here.