Monday, September 26, 2011

Stephen Costello Gets Some Limelight Love From WSJ

Stephen Costello (l) with Keith Miller (r)
in Anna Bolena (Photo: Ken Howard)
"Mr. Costello—who arrived for our interview wearing green soccer sneakers, precise facial hair and a slightly rumpled yet European blazer with jeans—began his opera training later than most singers do. He played the trumpet for 15 years, then attended the University of the Arts in his hometown, initially to study musical theater, before going to the prestigious, opera-only Academy of Vocal Arts, also in Philadelphia. Based now in Tennessee with his opera-singer wife, Ailyn Perez, Mr. Costello comes to New York often for continued study with his voice teacher. He also makes a point of seeing Broadway shows when he's here. 'I'm trying like crazy to see Book of Mormon. I have three connections. I'm hoping one of them will work out,' he said, adding that he had already asked the Met's head wig and make-up artist, Tom Watson, who has a number of Broadway credits, including Wicked. 'I said, 'Please tell me you did Book of Mormon. He said no.' The subject of wigs,
Costello with Anna Netrebko as the
title character. (Photo: Ken Howard)
however, brightened Mr. Costello a bit, because in this production of Anna Bolena, he doesn't have to wear one. 'It's kind of nice to use your own head,' he said. "Usually, you've got this wig on, and there's someone poking at you.' That said, the role of Percy calls for other costume constraints. When his character is jailed, he has to sing with his hands bound in front of him. 'It's kind of difficult to breathe, but I'm trying to figure out a way to get comfortable in that scene,' he said. And in an earlier scene, he has to wear a hooded cape, which he's supposed to pull off his head when he enters. But the historically accurate costumes are held against the body with a series of hidden ties that constrict the range of movement. 'The problem,' he said, 'is that it ties under your armpits. So I can only raise my hands so high.' But it's all in a day's work, and at the end of the day Mr. Costello is prone to relax with a burger at the P.J. Clarke's near Lincoln Center: "They have beer. It's my spot.'" [Source]