Tucker Award-Winner Ailyn Perez Makes U.S. Solo Recital Debut Tonight at the Kimmel Center
Today, December 17 marks a major career milestone for Ailyn Pérez, the "lyric soprano who truly seems to have it all" (Opera News), when she makes her U.S. solo professional recital debut at Philadelphia's KimMel Center. Joined by "superb" pianist Ken Noda (New York Times), the Richard Tucker and Plácido Domingo Award-winner will perform arias from Manon and songs by Reynaldo Hahn, Manuel De Falla, and Fernando Obradors - all of which are featured on her recent, celebrated Opus Arte album debut, Poème d'un jour - together with signature arias from La traviata and Le nozze di Figaro. Presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the event represents something of a homecoming for the American soprano, for it was at Philadelphia's Academy of Vocal Arts that she first launched her career.
When it was released this past April on the Opus Arte label, Poème d'un jour met with critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, being named a WQXR "Album of the Week" and scoring a five-star review in Britain's Independent. In Hahn's songs, the UK's Guardian found Pérez "breathtaking"; in de Falla's, the Sunday Times of London declared that "she rival[ed] de los Angeles." Similarly, International Record Review marveled:
"Every so often, a singer comes along who completely bowls you over. ... Pérez is completely at home in the Spanish songs in her recital, applying lush, chocolate tones to the material. ... The singer most frequently brought to mind...is Victoria de los Angeles."
Recorded live, the soprano's arias from Massenet's Manon were pronounced "delicious" by the Sunday Times and "corkers" by the Independent, while Opera News explained that they "show the soprano at her best - lively, engaging, sparkling with color and vocal personality. ... Her luminous natural vocal color is enchanting."
The operatic arias with which Pérez rounds out her upcoming recital program showcase two of the roles in which she enjoys especial success. As Mozart's Countess, the Chicago Tribune admired her "showstopping 'Dove sono,' all floating pianissimos and diminuendos and delicate pathos, that roused the sold-out crowd to a long, well-deserved ovation." Likewise, the UK's Observer judged her "an ideal Violetta," adding: "The bewitching young American soprano puts her heart into every twist of the drama. ... Her performance was glorious, the quiet passages magical."
Following her solo recital, in the new year the soprano looks forward to reprising her signature portrayal of Verdi's ill-fated heroine in high-profile productions of La traviata in Munich, London, and San Francisco. At both Covent Garden and San Francisco Opera, she will be partnered by her real-life husband and fellow Tucker Award-winner, tenor Stephen Costello, as Alfredo; the Associated Press dubs the couple "America's fastest-rising husband-and-wife opera stars" and Vanity Fair considers theirs "a match made in verismo heaven."