Dedicated by the tenor to his dear friend and colleague, the late Dmitri Hvorostovsky, A te, o cara (“To you, oh dear one”) was recorded with Constantine Orbelian leading Lithuania’s Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra. Its program combines “Parmi veder le lagrime” from Verdi’s Rigoletto and the title track, “A te, o cara, amor talora,” from Bellini’s I puritani, with arias from seven Donizetti operas: Anna Bolena, Don Pasquale, Dom Sébastien, La favorite, La fille du régiment, L’elisir d’amore, and Lucia di Lammermoor.
On the album, Stephen says:
“This is a really exciting moment in my career. I’ve been considering making a solo album for a while. I looked at it like curating my own concert, and the theme of bel canto arias began to emerge. Every aria is about love, and each one really expresses a different theme or aspect of love, ranging from fulfillment to longing, jealousy, and torture. We have all had these different ups and downs with love – love is sometimes our friend and sometimes our enemy – and although an aria may sound beautiful, it may be about the way love can torture your soul.”
Bel canto operas, especially those of Donizetti, have long loomed large in Stephen’s career. Recent seasons have seen him sing Lord Percy to Anna Netrebko’s Anna Bolena in the Met’s premiere production of the opera, and Edgardo in new stagings of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House and Canadian Opera Company, while his Nemorino has been justly celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic. In L’elisir d’amore at Washington National Opera, it was he who was greeted with “the warmest applause of the night” (Washington Post), while at Glyndebourne, the Arts Desk called his portrayal “a revelation,” and The Times of London stated simply: “The best voice on stage belongs to Stephen Costello.”