“In the opening night performance Friday at Wortham Theater Center, Soprano Ailyn Pérez wholly immersed herself in Butterfly’s evolution from the child bride, who is bewitched into an illusion of love and marriage, to tragic heroine.

Pérez’s first entrance, with her voice vaulting above those of Butterfly’s attendants, offered a glimpse of the generous lyricism the soprano  would offer as the storyline—and Puccini’s melodies—intensified.

But when Butterfly came face-to-face with the sailor Pinkerton, Pérez exuded girlishness. Her voice was delicate and almost wispy; she often cast her eyes downward, putting across Butterfly’s shyness and deference. In the love duet, as Puccini’s melodies blossomed, Perez’s singing grew flowing and ardent—rich in its middle range, focused and potent at the top.

Butterfly’s  “Un bel di” became the embodiment of her futile hopes for a reunion. Pérez sang it as if Butterfly were retreating into a dream. Her voice grew more and more hushed and rapt as Butterfly envisioned Pinkerton’s return, and after the aria’s climactic surge, Pérez took the last note down to a pianissimo and held it—like Butterfly clinging to her fantasy. After Butterfly surrendered her child and took control of her fate, Pérez gave her the resolve and dignity of a tragic figure.”

Texas Classical Review