Soprano Ailyn Pérez and tenor Joshua Guerrero will perform opera arias and the Mexican boleros they grew up on

Soprano Ailyn Pérez and tenor Joshua Guerrero have a lot in common. They can both thank Andrea Bocelli as an early influence on their thriving international opera careers. They both finished second in Placido Domingo’s Operalia vocal competition. And they both have lead roles in Giuseppe Verdi’s “La traviata” in their repertoire.

But there’s another thing the singers share, and it’s what will bring them together Dec. 11 for a San Diego Opera recital they have both described as deeply personal.

Pérez and Guerrero are first-generation Americans born to Mexican immigrant parents. While the first half of the “One Amazing Night” recital will be traditional opera arias and duets, the second half will be entirely devoted to the Spanish-language boleros and pop songs they grew up listening to as children.

“Rather than just doing a standard lieder-based recital, we wanted to do something truly personal and uniquely our own,” Guerrero said. “We want to pay homage to our roots by putting the spotlight on the music that influenced us, the music of Latin American culture.”

Pérez and Guerrero met in 2016 in the Santa Fe Opera production of “Romeo and Juliet,” when Guerrero stepped in on short notice as Romeo for an ailing Stephen Costello. Pérez said Guerrero did a great job, performing with “ease and calm” under obviously stressful circumstances. Guerrero, then a member of Santa Fe’s young apprentice program, said he was thrilled to share the stage with such an established star.

“It was one of the greatest nights I’ve ever had,” Guerrero said. “To be met with such grace and such support from a star like her was something really beautiful, because she had every right to be a diva and focus on her own role and process. We hit it off that whole summer and became good friends.”

Although their career trajectories were different, Pérez and Guerrero discovered commonalities. They were both over-achieving children of immigrants; both among the few Latinx performers in a mostly Caucasian industry; and both lifelong fans of Mexican artists like Juan Gabriel, Luis Miguel, and José José.

They also had a surprising connection to the blind Italian tenor Bocelli. Pérez, 40, launched her professional career in 2006 by touring with the opera/pop star as a guest soprano. And Guerrero, 36, discovered a love for singing as teenager while listening to Bocelli’s 1997 breakthrough album “Romanza.”

Pérez and Guerrero have been traveling for most of the past year for work, but they’ve been collaborating via email and phone with San Diego Opera’s artistic adviser Dominic Domingo on the “One Amazing Night” program, which will be accompanied by Mexico City-based pianist Abdiel Vázquez.

Read the complete article via The San Diego Union-Tribune.