“A prodigiously gifted singer whose voice makes an immediate impact” (Associated Press), Stephen Costello stands “among the world’s best tenors” (Daily Express, UK). The Philadelphia-born artist came to national attention in 2007, when, aged 26, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut on the company’s season-opening night. Two years later he won the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, and in 2010 he drew especial praise for his creation of the role of Greenhorn (Ishmael) in Dallas Opera’s celebrated world-premiere production of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick. He has since appeared at many of the world’s most important opera houses and music festivals, including London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; the Deutsche Oper Berlin; the Vienna State Opera; the Lyric Opera of Chicago; San Francisco Opera; Washington National Opera; and the Salzburg Festival. As Opera News noted in a “Spotlight” double-page spread, the “all-American tenor” is now “at the top of his game.”
In summer and fall 2018 Costello makes back-to-back leading role debuts, returning to Spain for his house and role debuts as Fernand in a new production of Donizetti’s La favorite at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu before launching the season with his first performances as Don José in Bizet’s Carmen at the Dallas Opera. The 2018-19 season sees him reprise his celebrated interpretation of Alfredo in Verdi’s La traviata for returns to the Hamburg State Opera and the Met, where he partners Anita Hartig in a new staging from Michael Mayer. A second signature role, Rodolfo in La bohème, takes the tenor back to Germany’s Semperoper Dresden and Nationaltheater Mannheim, while another of Puccini’s leading men is the vehicle for his Japanese operatic debut, when he makes his role debut as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at Tokyo’s New National Theatre. To crown the season, Costello looks forward to making his solo album debut with a collection of bel canto arias by Donizetti, Verdi and Bellini on the Delos label.
The tenor enjoyed a heightened European presence in 2017-18, highlighted by a pair of notable firsts. He made his Paris Opera debut as Camille in Léhar’s The Merry Widow and sang Puccini’s Rodolfo for his Dresden Opera debut, as well as his return to the Teatro Real Madrid. He also reprised his acclaimed portrayal of Verdi’s Duke of Mantua in productions of Rigoletto at the Dresden Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Canadian Opera Company.
Costello played the tenor lead in each of Donizetti’s three Tudor operas at the Dallas Opera, before reprising Lord Percy opposite Anna Netrebko for his second opening-night performance at the Met, in the company’s premiere presentation of Anna Bolena. He and Netrebko appeared on PBS’s Charlie Rose to discuss the new production, which was transmitted worldwide in the Met’s Live in HD series. Costello made his first appearances with the Boston Symphony and Andris Nelsons alongside Renée Fleming in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. For his Los Angeles Opera debut, he portrayed Rodolfo in La bohème; for his first appearances at Washington National Opera, he resumed the role of Greenhorn in Heggie/Scheer’s Moby-Dick; and for his Houston Grand Opera debut, he scored glowing reviews as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto. Verdi’s Duke has since also been the vehicle for Costello’s memorable appearances in the Met’s Vegas setting of the opera, again directed by Michael Mayer, and in a special televised, outdoor performance of Rigoletto in Hannover. Other career highlights saw him headline “BrAVA Philadelphia!” – the Academy of Vocal Arts’ 80th Anniversary Gala Concert – at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and undertake the male lead in La traviata, both for the historic first live webcast of a complete opera from London’s Royal Opera House, and in a San Francisco Opera production that was simulcast to thousands in AT&T Park, home of baseball’s San Francisco Giants.
Costello’s performance as Cassio in Verdi’s Otello, under Riccardo Muti’s leadership at the Salzburg Festival, was released on DVD in 2010 (Major/Naxos), and his Covent Garden debut in Linda di Chamounix was issued on CD a year later (Opera Rara). His star turn in San Francisco Opera’s Moby-Dick, televised nationwide on PBS’s Great Performances, was released on DVD in 2013 (SFO) and named an “Editor’s Choice” by Gramophone. Similarly, his appearance alongside Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, and other operatic luminaries in 2013’s Richard Tucker Gala, which celebrated the legendary tenor’s centennial, was broadcast on PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center and subsequently issued on DVD. The same year saw the release of here/after: songs of lost voices (PentaTone), featuring the tenor’s world premiere recording of Jake Heggie’s Friendly Persuasions: Homage to Poulenc.
Besides winning the 2009 Richard Tucker Award, Stephen Costello has previously received other grants from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, as well as taking First Prize in the 2006 George London Foundation Awards Competition, First Prize and Audience Prize in the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition, and First Prize in the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition. A native of Philadelphia, he is a graduate of the city’s famed Academy of Vocal Arts.
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