“The phrase “an embarrassment of riches” might have been invented to describe the combination of talents that belong to Ailyn Pérez, the Chicago-born lyric soprano who truly seems to have it all. A lovely voice with a timbre like nobody else’s? Check. Musical imagination? Check. A beautiful face with enormous brown eyes that can make any tenor or baritone weak at the knees? Check and double check. Acting ability that can break an audience’s collective heart? Get out your Kleenex: this woman can jerk tears like a champ. Add to all these virtues an impressive appetite for hard work, a sharp sense of humor and a rare capacity for kindness, and you have something of the measure of Pérez, a fast-rising artist who was named winner of the 2012 Richard Tucker Award.

A graduate of Indiana University, San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program and the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Pérez comes from a family that she says had little cultural connection to opera: in a video interview posted on her website, Pérez admits that it would have been more likely for her to have made a career in music singing “mariachi or [Spanish] pop.” She fell in love with opera because of La Traviata. One of Pérez’s favorite lines in the opera belongs not to Violetta — a role she has sung at venues from St. Louis, Miami and San Francisco to London, Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna — but to Alfredo, as he tries to convince Violetta that true love can be hers: “Di quell’amor ch’è palpito dell’universo intero” . . .

Read the entire feature via Opera News.

Image: James Salzano