San Francisco Opera
Ailyn Perez
Stephen Costello


August 18, 2013

2:00 p.m.

Free Admission

Stern Grove

19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard

San Francisco Map

Enjoy the renowned San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Opera Orchestra performing a selection of operatic favorites.

The featured soloists will be the husband and wife team of Ailyn Pérez, soprano, and Stephen Costello, tenor. Pérez is a former Merolina who later debuted with San Francisco Opera in summer 2009 as Violetta/La TraviataCostello debuted with San Francisco Opera this past fall as Greenhorn in Moby-Dick. They will appear opposite each other in La Traviata later on in San Francisco Opera's 13/14 season.


GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813–1901)
RICHARD WAGNER (1813–1883)

GIUSEPPE VERDI: La Forza del Destino

VERDI: Rigoletto
Questa o quella (Stephen Costello)

The lecherous Duke sings a cynical song declaring that all women are the same to him, and he defies jealous husbands in his constant and eager pursuit of one beauty or the next.

VERDI: La Traviata
O qual pallor!  . . . Un dì felice (Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello)

Alfredo tells Violetta of the “happy day” when he fell in love with her at first sight, and professes his sincerity. She responds with flippant gaiety, saying that she could never love truly, and can only offer friendship.  Though he persists, she advises him to find someone else.

Look, through the port…. And farewell to ye old Rights o’ Man (Hadleigh Adams)

Condemned to hang in the morning for striking and accidentally killing an officer, the good-hearted British sailor Billy Budd muses about his last day, his shipmates, and his coming burial at sea. Then, summoning his courage, he bids farewell to his cherished former ship, HMS Rights of Man, and with confidence and serenity faces what is to come.

VERDI: La Traviata
È strano . . . Ah, fors’è lui…Sempre libera (Ailyn Pérez, with Stephen Costello)

The courtesan Violetta muses over Alfredo’s declarations of love, wondering aloud whether this is at last the true devotion she has longed for.  But she quickly rejects the notion, even as his vow echoes in the distance, and forcefully resolves to forget him and remain “forever free” amidst a life of pleasure.

BRITTEN: The Rape of Lucretia
Give Him This Orchid (Renée Rapier)

Lucretia has been ravished by Tarquinius. Unaware, her servants have arranged flowers for her. Wildly she orders them to send for her husband, and to take him an orchid as an ironic symbol of her lost chastity. In a quieter mood she then contemplates the blossoms, singing “Flowers alone are chaste.”

The Ride of the Valkyries


WAGNER: Lohengrin
Prelude to Act III

BRITTEN: Peter Grimes
Embroidery Aria (Marina Harris)

Peter Grimes has caused the death of his young apprentice and has fled. Ellen Orford, Peter’s friend and confidant, has found on the shore the missing boy’s jersey on which she had embroidered an anchor. She sings sadly about the role of embroidery in her life: a girlhood pastime, a woman’s kind way of cheering children, and now a foreboding clue in a mysterious tragedy.

VERDI: Rigoletto
Ella mi fu rapita!  . . .  Parmi veder le lagrime . . . Possente amor (Stephen Costello)

In disguise, the lecherous Duke has wooed Rigoletto’s innocent daughter Gilda, who now loves him. Discovering that she has been abducted, the Duke voices his shock and despair, realizing his genuine (though temporary) affection for her, and imagines her fear and distress. Then, learning that she has in fact been brought to his palace, his rejoices excitedly in the coming consummation of his desire.

WAGNER: Tannhäuser
Wie Todesahnung . . .  O du, mein holder Abendstern (Joo Wan Kang)

Wolfram voices a prayer to the Evening Star, asking its blessing on the soul of Elisabeth, who is near death in her grief over the banished and absent Tannhäuser.

BRITTEN: Peter Grimes
Sea Interlude: Moonlight

BRITTEN: The Rape of Lucretia
The Ride to Rome (“Tarquinius does not wait”) (A. J. Glueckert)

The Roman prince Tarquinius is obsessed with Lucretia, the chaste and beautiful wife of General Collatinus, and resolves to test her chastity himself.  A narrator called the Male Chorus describes how, awake late at night in his military camp, Tarquinius impulsively calls for his horse and gallops off to Rome to bed Lucretia.

VERDI: Simon Boccanegra
Come in quest’ora bruna (Ailyn Pérez)

Amelia looks into the darkening sky at twilight and recalls with longing her childhood and the old woman who once cared for her in a small hut by the sea. Though now in luxurious surroundings, she vows never to forget her humble past.

VERDI: Rigoletto
Quartet: Un dì, se ben rammentomi (Ailyn Pérez, Renée Rapier, Stephen Costello, Joo Wan Kang)

The womanizing Duke has forgotten Gilda, and now woos the tavern girl Maddalena, who laughs at his flattery. Overhearing, Gilda is shocked at his betrayal, and her father Rigoletto mutters a vow of revenge on the Duke for dishonoring his daughter.

WAGNER: Tannhäuser
Dich, teure Halle (Marina Harris)

Hearing that her beloved Tannhäuser will return at last to the Hall of Song, the site of his many past triumphs in singing contests, Elisabeth enters the hall and greets it with exuberant joy.

Today’s performance is dedicated to the memory of Elise S. Haas, Festival Chair from 1956 to 1968.

A Pre-Concert Troc Talk takes place at noon in the Trocadero Clubhouse at Stern Grove.


Ailyn Perez

Stephen Costello


Osher Foundation