Ailyn Pérez & Stephen Costello Release “Love Duets”
After debuting at number three on the UK Classical Chart last month, Love Duets is due for U.S. digital release today (Tuesday, June 3), with the CD release to follow on June 10. A first recording together for Richard Tucker Award-winners Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez - "America's fastest-rising husband-and-wife opera stars" (Associated Press) - the new Warner Classics album has already taken London by storm, being named "Album of the Week" by the Mail on Sunday, Classic FM, and the Sunday Times, which proclaimed it "a disc that should win these hugely likeable young stars a lot of new friends." The international release coincided with Pérez and Costello's first scheduled appearances headlining La traviata together at London's Royal Opera House, where, as What's On Stage noted, "it should come as no surprise that their onstage chemistry [was] electric." They appeared on BBC Breakfast television, were interviewed by BBC Radio 4's Front Row, and gave a live studio performance on BBC Radio 3's In Tune, which coined for them a new "Brangelina"-style portmanteau name - "Pérello" - and pronounced them "opera's most in-demand couple." As The Times of London observed, the two are fast proving themselves "the Jay-Z and Beyoncé" of opera.
Recorded with Patrick Summers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Love Duets comprises favorite romantic duets by composers ranging from Puccini to Bernstein, with selections from L'elisir d'amore, La traviata, Rigoletto, Faust, Manon, La bohème, L'amico Fritz, and Broadway's Carousel, Guys and Dolls, Kismet, and West Side Story, from which iTunes includes the couple's rendition of "Tonight," the balcony scene, as a bonus (see full track listing below).
"Pretty Well Perfect": advance praise for Love Duets
The response to the album's international release has been sensational. Classic FM reported: "The singing is impressive throughout and the reallife chemistry between the two is audible." Presto Classical found "a beautiful golden vintage quality to both voices," which "complement each other wonderfully." Sinfini Music dubbed the singers "opera's hottest couple," and judged their collaboration "pretty well perfect." The Observer explained: "They are both gifted singers enjoying fast-rising careers but with no obvious sign of monster egos. ... Pérez and Costello charm, whether in the sweet Cherry Duet from L'amico Fritz or the classic 'If I Loved You' from Carousel." In a five-star review, the Mail on Sunday declared:
"What makes this album especially attractive is that they remain true to their American and Hispanic roots by presenting a brilliant Tony and Maria in "One Hand, One Heart" from West Side Story, adding in duets from three other 'Broadway operas.'"
Considering the pair to be "two of the most emotive, expressive, and vocally persuasive singers of their generation," Voix des Arts hailed Love Duets as "a disc that resounds with freshness, affection, and the simple joy of two young singers who love singing." The review continued:
"These two singers could charm the numbers off of a roulette wheel. ... Few discs convey this marriage of life and art so affectingly. Ultimately, it is upon discs like Love Duets and the endeavors of singers like Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello that the future of opera depends."