Cher Public


Ailyn PerezSoprano Ailyn Pérez has been named the recipient of the 11th annual Beverly Sills Artist Award for young singers at the Metropolitan Opera. The $50,000 award, the largest of its kind in the United States, is designated for “extraordinarily gifted singers between the ages of 25 and 40 who have already appeared in featured solo roles at the Met,” according to the Met’ press office. 

  • Camille

    Hooray for the talented and adorable Ms Perez!
    She and Bryan Hymel may be responsible for even dragging me to the theatre to hear another Bohême very soon now, and that takes a LOT to get me there.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Rodolfo seems like a funny role for Hymel -- partly because he is so phenomenally capable you’d think he’d be reserved for those roles others can’t sing, and partly because his voice isn’t actually very beautiful or appealing (at least as I hear it) and so not quite the thing for the quintessential lyric tenor romantic role.

      • The Poet Lenski

        I believe Hymel’s recent spate of Rodolfos at the Met are largely due to the fact that Boheme is one of the few operas the Met doesn’t always cast years in advance. They want Hymel singing at the Met, and Rodolfo is a role he knows that he can jump into. Who knows how many Rodolfos he will be singing after this year, though, now that he is moving into more high-profile assignments at the Met.

        I haven’t heard Hymel sing Rodolfo recently, but he was a very ardent Rodolfo in Philadelphia 5 (?) years ago.

      • Camille

        So do I think so, about Rodolfo, but they’ve plugged him into that and Pinkerton since his big success in Troyens as it seems there was no other opera to keep him before the public. And no, his voice does not have a warm, burnished and cuddly middle or is not particularly Italianate (because he ain’t), but that same spare, reedy quality in the middle would be the price he pays for having that wonderful upper fifth of a voice and which is reliably there, at least, in my experience.

        Yes, but then Rodolfo has GOT to nail that high C so therefore…and soon will he be in the wonderful Guillaume Tell and we’ll all be up in arms at his “Aux armes!!!!” Can not WAIT for the day!!!!

        • Cocky Kurwenal

          Fair enough -- and it might do him good to spend some of his timing prioritising matters like filling out legato lines during long phrases, and hence ultimately keep him before the public for longer. He is a wonderful singer and, though I don’t enjoy his timbre, or I’m afraid his rather business-like delivery, I do enjoy being able to relax and know everything will come out just as he wants it to, which is no longer the case with say Alagna, an artist for whom I have a lot more affection and who does, to me, have a drop dead gorgeous voice, but for whom I slightly worry on anything above an A these days.

          • Camille

            You know, Cocky--I just want to reiterate what I said to grimoaldo the other day about Alagna—I chanced to hear his Canio (just the opening monologue which goes up to a B natural, as I passed by the TV monitor in front of the Box Office one evening, after coming from the symphony and I just stood there, waiting for that note, and he sailed right up to it with no problem whatsoever. That was his second and last performance. Then, according to an interview he had at an intermission in one I heard over Sirius (they repeat these group interviews they have, as presided over by Gelb to promote the operas on Sirius--yesterdfay I heard one about Roberto D.) and within that context he stated that he had really not slept, to speak of, in that entire period he was madly preparing his Des Grieux. The reason I bring this out is because, to me, he sounded just so tired and ragged and SO unlike the smooth and easy delivery of Canio’s first set piece.

            Now I did not hear the entire performance he gave but you may refer yourself to a review here or elsewhere to see how he did the rest of the role. I just think that he loves a “dare” and he has been good at accepting them in the past, but all of that may be past him now as he is no longer a spring chicken, so to speak.

            That’s just my hunch about the situation. Just a year ago, in the CARMEN with Garanca, he sounded completely at his ease and just sang so beautifully. He’s a wild and crazy guy--but now he’s 52 or so and maybe he’ll have to ease up a little in the future. Hard to tell.

          • SilvestriWoman

            When Hymel sang Percy to Ravanovsky’s Bolena here in Chicago in October ’14, his legato was exemplary -- long-lined and limpid.

        • gustave of montreal

          Will we hear The Lone Ranger too ?

          • Camille

            Juste pour Vous, TONTO—

            Et comme vous savez jouer du pianoforte—

            • Batty Masetto

              Nonsense, one as exigent as our gustave surely plays this version:

            • Batty Masetto

              Autocorrect strikes yet again! “Éxigeant!”

          • Indiana Loiterer III

            I think you want this:

            • gustave of montreal

              sounds like TWO pianos or is it the long forgotten First Piano Quartet ?

            • Camille

              Why, monsieur gustave chéri--merci beaucoup for having mentioned the First Piano Quartet--I was completely unaware of them and am glad to make their acquaintance. Yes, it sounds like two pianos to me as well.

              Juste pour Vous encore une fois—

            • There’s only one pianist playing the Rossini/Liszt.

            • Camille

              yes, and thank you, m.c., and that would have been easily goggleable in any case had I cared to know, but it still does not explain to me why gustave and moi hear more than one pianist playing? I do not know this piece at all and would have to look at the music to explain it myself to do so. Just funny that it managed to trick the ear in both our cases. But then —- that’s why what you hear when you listen may be something very different from what is actually there and why you’ve got to reference what’s there to know what you’re listening to, if you care to know what you are listening, if you know what I mean?

        • laddie

          I watched this performance the other day and thought it was magnificent. Have only heard him a few years back in Santa Fe singing Faust when I didn’t know too much about him and I was astounded. I too can’t wait.

      • john

        With your singing expertise, I’d be more curious to know what you think about Perez. She seems in some ways an odd singer to win this award -- highly promoted, no doubt, but not what I’d call “extraordinarily gifted”. My experience has been that she has a nice voice with shaky technique but it’s allied to an appealing stage personality -- one that isn’t yet fully developed to allow her to fill out her roles but which definitely has promise. What are your thoughts?

        • Will

          I thought that her Musetta’s Waltz lacked charm and allure.
          Her tone also seemed hard — not at all my ideal combination for this character.

    • Camille

      About Ailyn Pérez:

      Indee, I have heard a few video youtubes of her for which I did not care much, BUT, as I never assess any musician from those things, my reference is this set of performances, one of which I attended, as Micaela, in which she held her own with old pro Alagna, and they sang positively beautifully together. Don’t know if the duet is recorded but here is the aria, in which I thought she was excellent the night I heard her. She did not rely upon her obvious prettiness to get across to the public but really sang out and projected both voice and character. I liked her performance enough to have hoped she would be featured in something else, much as I have hoped for Ana María Martínez, who has had hers of late in the Butterfly substitutions.

      Ms Pérez singing Micaela’s Air--

      Extraordinary? I don’t know as yet but I would say she has excellent qualities and this award should be of assistance in bringing them to the fore.

      • Camille

        Hahaha..I did not attend the performances ‘as Micaela’, jeez, I attended HER performances as she sang Micaela.

        Non hablo bien el ingles!!!!

        • I was wondering about the natte tombante.

          • Camille

            La natte tombante reste tombée toujours.

            Non, non, non, non,non, NON! The truth is, Angie stuffed it down her garbage disposal.
            It’s toast. Or dust. Or drain clog.

      • mjmacmtenor

        She won the Tucker award shortly before splitting up with hubby Stephen Costello. As I recall, she was very good in a duet they did from L’Elisir. I think she would, have been a BIG improvement over Kurzak (based on what I heard of the broadcast).

      • Camille

        Here is the duo from CARMEN featuring Ailyn Pérez--not unfortunately as I heard it the night with Alagna, but with the poor guy who got stuck--and while he was sick--singing as substitute for Jonas Kaufmann:

        As she is the object and purpose of this discussion, it matters not. Actually, it would seem to me that her future roles would be other than this essentially lyric role. I’m not quite sure which but it’s a shame they will never put on L’amico Fritz, as it would suit her perfectly, but that’s not happening. Guess she will sing Juliette in the Gounod version with the ex-husband this summer…wonder how that works…? In bocca al lupo alla più carina!

        • aulus agerius

          I have a recording of a broadcast of Fritz from AVA feat Perez and Valenti. She is, indeed, very very good and JV is not all bad. ;-)

  • parpignol

    as Micaela: she gave a beautiful performance at her debut; very moving!

    • marshiemarkII

      Agreed parpi, I was there the might of her debut, and surrounded by divinities of the scale of Granaca and Alagna, both in magnificent voice to boot, hse more than held her own and sounded brilliant, gorgeous and fabulously well projected. I hope she now also has many returns! a fabulous artist!

    • marshiemarkII

      GARANCA of course, she is too important a divinity, to misspell her name, even as a typo :-)

  • Constantine A. Papas


    Do we take “Italianate” too seriously? It’s nice to have it, but many tenors don’t and still are great: Gedda (by his own admission) Krouse, Domingo (by his own admission), Kauffmann, Konia.

    • Lohengrin

      Could You please explain what is “Italianitate” in Your opinion? It is always difficult for me to discuss that term.To me “I” seems to be the way Italian singers sang O sole mio in the Fifties, schmalzy and semi-dramatic. This may be nice, but I do not like it in Opera, even not at Puccini.

      • mercadante

        Because of the way the language is formed, the vowels especially, Italianate voices have a warmth and liquidity that ideally allows them to project through a legato line. The Italianate voice is not too nasal, nor is it ingolatta, throaty. The roundness and liquidity of movement are the defining factors. As far as Italianate phrasing, there is a propulsive slancio, a way of portare la voce, carrying the voice along the line, rather than chopping up, or separately attacking. Listen to Nilsson in Fanciulla and then Tebaldi . Nilsson will put a clean attack on many separate phrases, and her voice is very forward in the mask, bright, a little cold in color. Tebaldi makes subtle connections between phrases, welding them together in a more fluid movement between notes, her tone has more roundness and warmth as she forms the vowels more idiomatically and sings through the consonants more rather into and then our of them. Sloppiness, sobbing, provincial is not Italianate.

        • Camille

          thanks SO much, Sig.r. mercadante for a nice explanation.

          I am too tired to try and don’t want to be bothered as people always want to start up big brouhahas about all this stuff. It is a very subtle function of the Italian language, really, and all that other stuff, the Gigli sob, etc., etc., is either just bad singing and/or provincial, as you’ve well termed it. Italian links together the sounds and lends a type of ‘warmth’, and ‘vibrazione’, as I’ve seen it termed in older didactic materials.

        • Lohengrin

          Thank You for explanation.

        • fletcher

          Thank you mercadante for this explanation and for drawing a specific contrast between two singers. I’ve found that so many discussions about voice tend to include vague, hard-to-define descriptors like white, hard, metallic, round, dark, flinty, gleaming, cold, floating, &c, which are all fine enough for words describing vocal qualities, but often hard to pin down. It doesn’t help that almost all of them are words that don’t describe qualities of sound, but used to describe just that (eg what is “cold in color”?). And in using these semi-poetic words, I also get the impression that they mean different things to different people. Much easier, for neophytes like me, to provide examples or illustrate terms with YouTube clips.

    • la vociaccia

      Bizarre to put Domingo and Krause on that list, both of whom were quite beautifully suited to the Italian language and style (even if the former lacked the squeal that so many prize in Verdi and Puccini and the latter invariably had a Spanish accent in every language). In any event there is a ‘lift’ in the vocal productions of Krause, Domingo and Gedda that I don’t hear in Kaufmann, which is why I don’t like Jonas in Italian music.

    • Camille

      Dr. Papas:

      I don’t know.

      All I do know is Mr Gedda sounded like a Frenchman when he sang in French, an Italian when he sang in Italian, and like whatever other nationality or language he might be singing in at any given moment. “O Anatol, how hard it will be, the backward road of regret”.

      A model of a great singer. I’m glad he was one of the first ones I ever listened to with regularity.

    • Krunoslav

      Tom Krause = Finnish Baritone

      Alfredo Kraus = Spanish Tenor

      • manou

        Kings Cross = London railway station

        • rapt

          Was St. Pancras not available?

          • manou

            Victoria! Victoria!

          • Krunoslav

            “The line is immaterial.”

      • Camille

        You forgot Sandor Konya (I presume) Hungarian Tenor and the Lohengrin of my Jungen Jahren.

        Mr Krunoslav, one thing has led to another and instead of dutifully listening to La Rotonda today, instead, I am doing a naughty and opting to go through Lazar Berman’s Transcendental Meditations, long now postponed. I don’t care if he was first-gold, second-silver, or third-bronze, he’s kind of a banger and I just sorta like him, e basta, Roberti e buonanotte.

        You tell that nervy Nerva NOT to post THAT WOMAN herein once again! It gave me a frightful shock! I thought Nerva had successfully banished her from these shores and was not expecting such an indignity!!

        Dictated and Signed by

        Pearl-clutching Camille

        • Krunoslav

          “Die Nerva walte frei.”

          • Camille

            ‘NICHT DOCH — deinen Willen vollbringt sie allein —

            Entzieh’ dem den Zauber — Empfah’ ich von Wotan den Eid?”

  • Lady Abbado
    • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

      Is anyone else going to be there for the prima tomorrow night?

    • Lohengrin

      …. and see what JK did yesterday evening:

      • Cicciabella

        What? Has he announced that he will create the leading role in an opera based on Bee Movie?