"Stephen Costello stole the show," reported the Guardian when Stephen Costello made his 2009 house debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Spectator magazine was moved to predict: "Stephen Costello will be a big star." Now the American tenor returns to the fabled London venue for his company role debut as Alfredo in Verdi's La traviata. His five appearances (Jan 2–20) come in a revival of Richard Eyre's celebrated staging, with Maurizio Benini on the podium. For the first three performances, Costello's Violetta is Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho; for the final pair, he is rejoined by Anna Netrebko, with whom he recently made waves in the Metropolitan Opera's premiere production of Anna Bolena.
Costello and Netrebko's first appearance together in Donizetti's tragedy was at the Met's season-opening Anna Bolena this past fall. The Associated Press noted, "As the hapless Percy, Anna's former lover – and possibly husband – tenor Stephen Costello sang with fervent lyricism and coped extremely well with the many daunting high notes in the role." The New York Times called the tenor "gifted and game" and praised his "impetuous and ardent singing," while the Wall Street Journal observed, "Stephen Costello has the kind of voice that sets the audience – even at a dress rehearsal – atwitter." The singer himself comments, "Doing a production with [Netrebko] really helps you with your own character development; her high standard of performance really helps you bring more to the table."
After their London engagement, the two return to the Met to reprise their starring roles in Anna Bolena for two performances in February.