“…  the star of this production was arguably Ailyn Pérez, who winningly captures the wholesomeness, humanity and pathos of the betrayed Marguerite … the Chicago-born soprano’s honest, understated style was ideal.”

Kyle MacMillan – Chicago Sun Times

“Pérez invested Marguerite’s music with ravishing delicacy and grace, and had no trouble summoning full-toned intensity for the character’s emotionally fraught scenes later in the opera. She gave an affecting account of the King of Thule ballad and sailed easily through the sparkling roulades of the Jewel Song …”

John von Rhein – The Chicago Tribune

“Ailyn Perez’s doomed Marguerite walks with a crutch, which makes her transformation in the “Jewel Song,” where Faust seduces her with a box of baubles, more poignant. We sense that this is a woman who isn’t used to seeing herself as glittering and beautiful, which makes her final redemptive transformation especially resonant. Perez brings fire and wistfulness throughout her fine sensitive performance.”

Kerry Reid – Windy City Times

“From Marguerite’s first line in Act II, Ailyn Pérez‘s uniquely beautiful tone and uncommon intelligence, subtlety, and emotional commitment were self-evident. Pérez is also a gifted, compelling actress—crucial for this physically-demanding production in which Marguerite is disabled and uses crutches throughout. It was refreshing to see a disability symbolizing not an outward manifestation of some inner corruption but rather as a marker of self-reliance.”

Hannah de Priest – Schmopera

“Elk Grove Village native Ailyn Pérez is touching as the demure Marguerite, deploying her gorgeous soprano to be extra vulnerable …”

Scott C. Morgan – The Daily Herald

“One of the oddities of soprano Ailyn Pérez’s career is that the Chicago-born singer had yet to appear in a staged opera at the Lyric despite performing at many other notable companies around the world. Pérez can now check that accomplishment off after this night.

She had to overcome a quirk in that her Marguerite was portrayed as a cripple forced to limp around the stage with a crutch. Pérez didn’t let that deter her with a sparkling Jewel Song in Act three in front of that stilt house.”

Santosh Venkataraman – Operawire

“Perez sings beautifully throughout (including her rendering of “King of Thule,” which flips between that ballad and her attraction to Faust). But she comes fully into her own near the very end of the opera when she turns to heaven with a gorgeous aria that renews her bond with God and the angels. Faust’s fate, of course, was determined from the start.”

Hedy Weiss – Chicago Tonight / WTTW

“In Newbury’s production Marguerite has impaired mobility, using a crutch throughout the performance. Yet, though Pérez’ Marguerite is a pitiable character,  Pérez’ vocal performance was lustrous, the Jewel song brilliantly sung. Pérez’ spinning wheel song Il ne revient pas! (sung by the abandoned, pregnant Marguerite) was affecting, Marguerite’s soaring vocal line in the final trio Anges pur, anges radieux was triumphant.”

William Burnett – Opera Warhorses

Image: Cory Weaver / Lyric Opera of Chicago