June 11, 2021

Spotlight on Ailyn Pérez

Ailyn Pérez has a heartstoppingly beautiful voice. It’s a glowing, full-toned lyric soprano, produced with sovereign technique and abundant artistry, so that it seems to draw every person who hears her into an embrace. She combines that sound with a warm, gracious, utterly natural stage presence that illuminates every character she plays.

Ailyn Pérez as Violetta in Act Two of La traviata (2016/17).

If you’ve been enjoying Lyric’s streamed performances, then you’ll remember the American soprano’s marvelous singing in the special For the Love of Lyric concert in September 2020. Chicagoans first had the opportunity to get to know the American soprano when she made her Ravinia debut in the summer of 2010 as a memorably gracious Countess in The Marriage of Figaro. When she returned in 2016/2017, it was to debut at Lyric in a gala performance, for which she sang Violetta in Act Two of La traviata. Then, two seasons later, she was back on Lyric’s stage for her first full-length role with the company. The occasion was the premiere of the company’s new production of Faust, in which her deeply touching Marguerite broke every heart in the audience. No one who saw and heard that portrayal will forget her captivating Jewel Song, her exquisitely soulful declaration of love, or the dramatic impact she brought to the opera’s final scenes.

Ailyn Pérez as Marguerite in Faust (2017/18).

All of us at Lyric are eagerly looking forward to Pérez’s return to the company. First will be Nedda in Pagliacci, in which she’ll reprise a portrayal she introduced at Amsterdam’s Dutch National Opera in 2019. This time she’ll appear in Lyric’s innovative new film of the opera, to be premiered  in August 2021. Then, this fall she’ll star as Adina in The Elixir of Love. With her enchanting singing and sparkling personality, it’s no surprise that this Donizetti heroine has become one of Pérez’s signature roles. Previously the role has been a great success for her in such major companies as those of Vienna, Munich, Berlin, and Washington. By the way, Pérez’s wonderful sense of humor can be savored on CD in a contemporary role, the flamboyant and ambitious soprano Tatyana Bakst, which she created in The Dallas Opera’s 2015 world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Great Scott.

Ailyn Pérez as Marguerite and Benjamin Bernheim in the title role of Faust (2017/18).

Like many of the most outstanding American opera singers of the past four decades, Pérez’s ascent to prominence was recognized with the highly prestigious Richard Tucker Award. When she received the award in 2012, she was its first Hispanic recipient. Pérez is intensely proud of her Hispanic heritage, which she celebrates in a new all-Spanish-language album entitled Mi Corazón.

Ailyn Pérez performs in the virtual concert For the Love of Lyric in fall 2020.

In the years since receiving the Tucker Award, Pérez has gone from one triumphant engagement to another. It’s been thrilling to watch her add exciting new roles to her repertoire, which encompasses portrayals as formidable as Violetta (La Scala, Royal Opera House), Elvira/Ernani (La Scala), the title role/Manon (Royal Opera House, Dallas Opera), the title role/Thaïs (Met), Desdemona/Otello (Houston Grand Opera), Antonia/The Tales of Hoffmann (Opéra National de Paris), and Magda/La rondine (her latest new role, heard in Florence and Naples in 2020/21).

Ailyn Pérez during the bows at a Lyric gala performance.

It will be an absolute joy to welcome Ailyn Pérez back to Lyric during the 2021/22 Season! To see more of her life and career, follow Pérez on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


You can hear Ailyn Pérez in excerpts from For the Love of Lyric on Facebook and YouTube. For more information on the 2021/22 production of The Elixir of Love, starring Ailyn Pérez as Adina, go to www.lyricopera.org/elixir.

Ailyn Pérez sings Nedda in Pagliacci in Lyric’s special streamed performance. Learn more at www.lyricopera.org/pagliacci.

September 26 – October 8, 2021

The Elixir of Love

The Elixir of Love

No operatic hero is more endearing than Nemorino, who pines for the flirtatious Adina. She’s the owner of the town’s hotel, he’s her delightfully naive waiter. His only hope to win her is the “elixir” sold by the quack, Dr. Dulcamara — little does he know that it’s just Bordeaux wine! From start to finish we root for Nemorino, as Adina toys with him until she finally lets him know how she really feels. Elixir is opera’s most heartwarming comedy, filled with Donizetti’s delectable music that brings nonstop smiles.

Header photo: Ailyn Pérez with Doug Peck in For the Love of Lyric (2020/21). Credit: Todd Rosenberg

All other photos: Todd Rosenberg, Cory Weaver