Ailyn Pérez & Stephen Costello – Love Duets: Arias and songs by Massenet, Mascagni, Verdi, Donizetti, Gounod, Puccini, Bernstein, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Loesser and Wright & Forrest

Reviewed on Fri 29 Aug, 2014

Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello are a young, married couple who are fortunate enough to spend part of their working life together. This album of love duets comprises 7 operatic items and 4 from musicals. The booklet includes the words as sung but no translations. In the duets from Manon and Faust Pérez shows great control of soft, heart-rending high notes, and both she and Costello sing with wonderful, quiet tenderness in 'O soave fanciulla' from La Bohème. Of course, passion appears where relevant; indeed, Costello is perhaps slightly too passionate as the Duke in Rigoletto (one feels this might scare Gilda, although it is in keeping with his lustful character). The duet from La Traviata is simply beautiful – I just wanted them to go on singing! However, this CD is not all so intense. The duet from L'amico Fritz is sung with the pleasing simplicity appropriate to the story, and that from L'elisir d'amore is light-hearted and, in places, amusing. What's more, the excerpts from musicals are expressively sung and very enjoyable. Individually, Pérez and Costello have rich, colourful supple voices; together, their singing is really exciting.
–Ruth Piatkus