Ailyn Pérez shows off star power with New Century ensemble – reviews
Ailyn made her debut with the New Century Chamber Orchestra on their first concert series of the season, which garnered enthusiastic acclaim from critics:
“Just a few short years ago, soprano Ailyn Pérez was in the Merola Opera Program, and now she’s an international star. How’d that happen so fast?
The obvious answer — remarkable vocal talent, combined with radiance and charm — was on display in Berkeley’s First Congregational Church on Thursday night, when Pérez joined the New Century Chamber Orchestra for a first-rate season-opening program. Listening to her sing music of Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, one couldn’t help but be amazed, and a little awestruck, at the expressive and tonal splendor on display . . .
Still, it was Pérez who stole the show on this occasion with her ripe, chestnut-tinted vocal colorations and seemingly effortless phrasing. In Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise,” the endless skein of melody — arching, falling, rising again to a new crest — sounded at once luxuriant and purposeful. Each turn of phrase and each harmonic shift had somewhere concrete to get to, but the artists were content to let us linger en route just enough to savor the sheer beauty on display.
Even more gripping was the Letter Scene from Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” with a string accompaniment arranged by Clarice Assad. Pérez’s performance superbly tracked the emotional ups and downs of this fraught episode, infusing the composer’s expansive lyrical phrases with a blend of reflectiveness and urgency, and turning the character’s moments of heightened anxiety into something poignant and true.”
Joshua Kosman – SFGate
. . . it helps to have a glamorous guest artist on hand to transform an opening concert into a special event. With soprano Ailyn Perez as vocal soloist, Thursday’s program –which launched the ensemble’s 24th season — yielded the kind of performances that make the leap from the stylish to the sublime. This was especially true in the program’s centerpiece, a performance of Tatiana’s “Letter” aria from Tchaikovsky’s opera “Eugene Onegin.” Perez — who made an indelible impression as Violetta in San Francisco Opera’s 2014 production of “La Traviata” — once again combined vocal luster, emotional expressiveness and dazzling top notes in a performance of considerable dramatic urgency . . . Perez also sounded gorgeous in Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise,” delivering the composer’s “song without words” in an exquisite reading.
Georgia Rowe – San Jose Mercury News
“This haunting introduction set the stage for a most beautiful and moving performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise. Soprano soloist Ailyn Pérez, sang the wordless melody with pure, heartfelt emotion. Pérez glowed on stage and lent the orchestra a calming elegance . . .”
Be’eri Moalem – San Francisco Classical Voice