“Ailyn Perez was an incredibly emotional Mimì with impeccable style and good singing. Perez’s is a pure lyrical voice with a dark velvet timbre, a strong middle register, secure round high notes, and an astonishing ability to dimuendi to ethereal pianissimi.
Perez is no stranger to Mimì, having sung the role at Cincinnati and the Met, and it has become one of her signature roles. The soprano offered a vital, young, and amorous incarnation of the character. She maintained, throughout the performance, the effects of Tuberculosis from which the character suffers—even when not marked in the libretto or the original staging.
For example, on her first lyrical aria “Si. Mi chiamano Mimì” she sang the long legato lines, expansive melody, and ethereal A naturals in pianissimi, providing it with a sense of “lack of air” which characterizes this illness.
But despite this believable, realistic portrayal of the sick Mimì, what made Perez’s performance astounding and special was her portrayal of a young, radiant, infatuated girl. She did not overact the drama of her scene with Marcello and she sang her aria “ Donde lieta usci” with a measured emotion of worry and sadness present in a lover’s quarrel. Perez’s voice carries brilliantly over the dense forte orchestration in Act three. During the third act aria and her final death scene in Act four, she kept her eyes bright but wore a homesick smile. There are moments where, despite the sadness of the moment, Mimì remembers her good times with Rodolfo, and this made her performance more dramatic and emotional rather than the usual tragic attitude.
Perez’s Mimì died smiling, surrounded by all the people she loved. She sang the B flat of “e tutta la mia vita” in a soaring sweet pianissimo during the Jan. 3 performance, but delivered an amazing crescendo the following night. She showed how she adapts her singing for different performances, playing with emotions at the moment she is singing, which might differ from one day to another, as was the case when performing with a different tenor in the role of Rodolfo.
It is commendable that she kept her voice fresh, and showed commitment in both performances, giving all she had and not saving her voice for the first performance, knowing she had to sing again the next night.”