Soprano Ailyn Pérez, winner of the 2012 Richard Tucker Award, was fresh from a string of European appearances, including her Bolshoi Theater debut and performances at the Hamburg State Opera, when she lit up the stage at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall at the Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s annual gala on November 11. The gala was filmed for national broadcast in the U.S. as part of the Emmy Award-winning Live From Lincoln Center series on PBS and will air on Thursday, December 13. Live from Lincoln Center: The Richard Tucker Opera Gala, which is being hosted by singer and actress Audra McDonald, will include a feature on Pérez, backstage access to the artists, and selections from the musical performance.
Reporting on the Tucker Gala, the New York Times said:
“This year’s winner of the Rickard Tucker Award is Ailyn Pérez, a fast-rising lyric soprano who was featured in three performances. Though Ms. Pérez has not yet appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, she has been thriving in major houses in Vienna, London, Berlin, Milan and at the Salzburg Festival. … Ms. Pérez brought a gleaming voice and agile coloratura technique to Manon’s brilliant arioso and coyly seductive gavotte (‘Obéissons quand leur voix appelle’). Her voice has a distinctive timbre, with plaintive richness blended into its youthful bloom … Ms. Pérez, a beautiful woman who commands the stage, has the makings of a major soprano.”
The Associated Press reported, “The creamy elegance of her sound was heard to advantage in the “Cherry Duet” from Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz and the finale to Act 2 of Verdi’s La Traviata.”
Not one to rest on her laurels, Pérez flew to Florida immediately following the gala to continue rehearsing for La bohème. The production opened the Florida Grand Opera season just six days later, on November 17, to rave reviews. South Florida Classical Review commented:
“At the season-opening performance of Puccini’s La bohème Saturday night, FGO delivered a moving, passionate performance with one of the finest sopranos to sing with the company in many years. Ailyn Pérez, who sings the role of Mimì, performed last week in a gala concert at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall as winner of the prestigious Richard Tucker Award for young singers. The Chicago-born soprano sings with a warm lyricism that’s perfect for the role of Puccini’s gentle, loving, tubercular seamstress. Her evenly produced, well-focused voice projects effortlessly. Pérez spun long lines of soft melody as she introduces herself to the poet Rodolfo in Sì, mi chiamano Mimì and when she says she will leave him in Donde lieta uscì, the soprano rose to a passage of soaring lyricism as she tells her lover to keep her pink bonnet as a memory of their love. Throughout the evening, she never disappointed, wringing all the emotion from the moments of grand passion, from her desire for winter to last forever so they would never leave each other to her feverish dying expressions of love for Rodolfo.”