Stephen Costello


As the Associated Press observes, Stephen Costello is “a prodigiously gifted singer whose voice makes an immediate impact.” The Philadelphia-born tenor quickly established a reputation as a “first-class talent” (Opera News) after coming to national attention in 2007, when, aged 26, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut on the company’s season-opening night. Two years later Costello won the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, and has since appeared at many of the world’s most important opera houses and music festivals, including the Metropolitan Opera New York; Royal Opera House Covent Garden; Deutsche Oper Berlin; Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin; Vienna State Opera; Bayerische Staatsoper Munich and the Salzburg Festival. 

Stephen's 2016/17 season includes Alfredo La Traviata at the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich and at the Bolshoi; Italian Tenor Der Rosenkavalier in concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Lensky Eugene Onegin and Greenhorn Moby Dick for Dallas Opera; title role Roméo et Juliette for Korea National Opera and for the Metropolitan Opera; and Duca Rigoletto for the Metropolitan Opera. Stephen will make his Paris Opera debut in 2017 as Camille The Merry Widow.

This is for information only. Please contact Camilla Wehmeyer for an up-to-date biography.

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Operatic Repertoire

BELLINI - I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Tebaldo
BELLINI - La sonnambula, Elvino
BIZET - Les Percheurs de Perles, Nadir
DELIBES - Lakme, Gerald
DONIZETTI - Anna Bolena, Percy
DONIZETTI - Don Pasquale, Ernesto
DONIZETTI - L'elisir d'amore, Nemorino
DONIZETTI - La fille du Regiment, Tonio
DONIZETTI - Lucia di Lammermoor, Edgardo
DONIZETTI - Maria Stuarda, Leicester
DONIZETTI - Roberto Devereux, Roberto
GOUNOD - Faust, Faust
GOUNOD - Romeo et Juliette, Romeo
MASCAGNI - L'Amico Fritz, Fritz
MASSENET - Manon, Des Grieux
PUCCINI - Gianni Schicchi, Rinuccio
PUCCINI - La Boheme, Rodolfo
ROSSINI - Guillaume Tell, Fisherman
STRAUSS - Der Rosenkavalier, Italian Tenor
VERDI - Falstaff, Fenton
VERDI - La Traviata, Alfredo
VERDI - Otello, Cassio
VERDI - Rigoletto, Duke

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Moby Dick (Greenhorn)

Dallas Opera

"Stephen Costello is brilliantly reprising his role of Greenhorn (and just wrapped the role of Lensky in Dallas Opera’s final Eugene Onegin performance Saturday). His voice is powerful yet youthful-sounding, and brings needed poignancy to the role." J. Robin Coffelt, Texas Classical Review, 6 November 2016
"Stephen Costello's aura of innocence is perfect for Greenhorn" Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 5 November 2016


Eugene Onegin (Lensky)

Dallas Opera

"Another major character is Lensky, who is eventually killed by Onegin in a duel. Tenor Stephen Costello made a major impression in the part. His role as Olga’s jealous love was convincing, and Lensky’s soliloquy as he awaits the duel was one of the high points of Sunday afternoon’s performance." Olin Chism, Star-Telegram, 31 October 2016
"Stephen Costello is fully engaged as the hotheaded Lensky" Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 29 October 2016
"Stephen Costello, as Lensky, is spectacular in his upper registers" Robin Coffelt, Texas Classical Review, 29 October 2016


Der Rosenkavalier (Italian Tenor)

Boston Symphony Orchestra cond. Andris Nelsons, Symphony Hall Boston

“Stephen Costello as the elegant Italian Singer, whose dulcet and fervent tone was perfectly attuned to his character stood out” John Ehrlich, The Boston Musical Intelligencer, 30 Sept ‘16
“The standout was Stephen Costello as the Italian singer, who sang with ringing brilliance” Aaron Keebaugh, Boston Classical Review, 30 Sept ‘16
“Stephen Costello filled the hall with Italianate squillo and thrilling top notes as he navigated with aplomb the many landmines in the treacherous pastiche Strauss wrote for The Italian Singer. Had the score invited applause, he would have stopped the show.”
Kevin Wells, Bachtrack, 3 Oct ‘16


Roméo et Juliette (Roméo)

Santa Fe Opera

"His gleaming tenor showed even warmth throughout his range, and his attention to the details of the score reflected a commendable attitude of deeply imbued musicianship. His performance combined dramatic urgency with unerring vocal tastefulness, and, what’s more, he sang convincingly in French. This served him especially well in his tête-à-tête with Frère Laurent at the top of Act III, an exchange that came across as sincere and unaffected. Of all the cast, he was the one you could imagine stepping offstage and picking up a conversation quite naturally in that language.”  James M. Keller, Santa Fe New Mexican, 18 July 2016
"Stephen Costello makes a winning SFO debut as the luckless Roméo." John Stege, Santa Fe Reporter, 20 July 2016
"Tenor Stephen Costello, who made his Santa Fe debut last night, is at the pivotal moment in his career. He has the most beautiful tenor I’ve heard in decades and his lyric voice is large and easily carries throughout the auditorium." Neil Kurtzman, Medicine & Opera, 17 July 2016
“Stephen Costello was a stunning Roméo, his tenor beautifully poised and free, ardent without pushing.” Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal, 9 August 2016
"As Romeo, Stephen Costello gives a masterful performance to be reprised at the Metropolitan Opera in March. He sneaks into the ball disguised. Costello suggests the deep pleasure we will have in his devastating performance to follow." ...

"As the opera unfolds, Costello comes into his own. Since he was first singled out in high school musical productions and greeted at his Metropolitan Opera debut by a busload of his townfolk who arrived from southern New Jersey on a moment’s notice. Moving up from cover to star in twenty-four hours, Costello has studied under the wing of the pre-eminent music teacher Bill Schuman."

"Costello always suggested not only great promise, and the possibility of a singular career of a great divo. He realizes the promise in this role. With a slight edge and texture to an otherwise lovely voice, he has added emotional depth and phrasing to his take on this role. It is a magnificent, career defining performance which should launch the tenor into the upper stratosphere of opera. He deserves his place there." ... 

"Gounod’s orchestration is memorably presented by Bicket and Costello’s perfect singing of the difficult Romeo role are highlights of this luscious evening."
Susan Hall,, 18 August 2016
“As Romeo, Costello was in thrilling voice, especially in the big moments such as a knock ‘em dead “Ah! Lêve-toi soleil,” with his bright, clarion tenor and brilliant high notes. When he chose to use his mezza voce and in particular his hushed pianissimi in the quieter moments like the love duet, the effect was magical.  Dramatically he fully embodied the character of Romeo, romantic, ardent, gentle, and heart felt.” Joseph So, Musical Toronto, 15 August 2016
"Mr. Costello in particular, comes across in SFO's production as a youthful, almost winsome Romeo, but also surprises us with his powerful, substantial tenor delivery—perhaps the most vocally impeccable, sweeping interpretations of this role we have yet heard.” Terry Ponick, Communities Digital News, 17 August 2016


Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)

Royal Opera House

“Stephen Costello sang a mellifluous Edgardo … the tone is lovely. He and Ruciński led a full-blooded account of the great Sextet”  Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack, 12 May ‘16


Manon (des Grieux)

Winspear Opera House, Dallas Opera

"Stephen Costello is well known locally and has impressed before.. He was wonderful in the Dallas Opera’s world premiere of Moby-Dick... Vocally, he is in his prime and sounds even better than he did recently at the Houston Grand Opera as the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto."
Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, North Texas Performing Arts News, 6 March 2016
"Tenor Stephen Costello gave a stellar performance as Chevalier des Grieux, a character whose life is destroyed by his love for Manon. Besides a brief moment in which Costello swallowed a word or two, his smooth voice and clear tones depicted perfectly the character's moral decline and his descent into dishonor because he was unable to refuse Manon’s every request. His painful expression when forced to gamble was touching and the aria "En fermant les jeux" will make you fall in love with him." Monica Hinman, Dallas Observer, 6 March 2016


Rigoletto (Duke of Mantua)

The Metropolitan Opera, New York

"The cast in this year's production adds to Mayer's concept, especially tenor Stephen Costello as the Duke. Costello is a fine Verdian tenor, with an ideal range and a rounded, colorful sound ... Costello also used touches of rubato to give his phrases the conversational quality, essential to Verdi singing ... Costello sang the character, who must be attractive and repellent at the same time, beautifully." George Grella, New York Classical Review, 21 October 2015
"Stephen Costello, as the Duke, sang with a bright tenor that seemed coated in Teflon. Smooth, dependable but emotionally nonreactive, his voice was perfectly suited to a character who remains impervious to the suffering he causes." Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times, 21 October 2015
"The principal singers were expertly cast, particularly the toothsome Stephen Costello as the Duke of Mantua. His debauched "dreamboat" provided him the perfect blend of drunk confidence. His "La donna e mobile" avoided cliche by exuding a sense of dark menace." Sacha Evans, Bachtrack, 25 October 2015


Anna Bolena (Riccardo Percy)

The Metropolitan Opera, New York

"The gifted young tenor Stephen Costello ... sang with robust sound and impetuous fervor." Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, 27 September 2015


La Traviata - Alfredo: 09 August 2015

Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl

"Costello's Alfredo was deeper than some, more sensitive than most and vocally convincing."  Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 11 August 2015

Tucker Gala

Avery Fisher Hall

"In a deliciously comic scene with her husband and fellow Tucker Prize recipient, Stephen Costello, [Ailyn Perez] showed her sassy side, as Norina played hard to get in “Esulti pur la Barbara,” from “L’Elisir d’Amore.” Each revealed a perfect grasp of comic timing in acting and singing. 

Mr. Costello’s bright, ringing top notes came through in Gounod’s “Salut! Demeure chaste et pure,” from “Faust.”

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times, 18 November 2013


Lucia di Lammermoor

Canadian Opera Company, Toronto

"Stephen Costello’s Edgardo is another masterful performance, eschewing the standard romantic tenor for something rugged and more convincing. A bit of Glaswegian steampunk in his costume and a voice that rang out time and time again with purity and passion made for an unbeatable combination." Richard Ouzounian, Theatre Critic, 18 April 2013


La Fille du Regiment - Tonio

San Diego Opera

"Tonio’s nail biting “Pour mon âme” finds Costello hitting the nine high Cs with an introductory staccato adding a splendid, dramatic extension, and he effortlessly holds on to the concluding note with charismatic tenuto. It’s one the most memorable highlights of the opera.", January 2013
"Costello was completely convincing as Tonio, her suitor who joins the army just so her can marry her (then he runs up against the Marquise)."  U-T San Diego, 27 January 2013


Moby Dick

San Francisco Opera

"Tenor Stephen Costello sang the role of Greenhorn – the Ishmael of the novel – with sympathetic tone and an attention to the character’s journey from innocence to experience."
Bachtrack, October 2012


La Traviata - Alfredo

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

"The first cast ... lacked stage chemistry. But from the moment Ermonela Jaho meets her Alfredo in the form of Stephen Costello in her glittering salon, you sense the electricity between them...Jaho’s gestures and attitudes have an expressive grace for which Costello’s airy, boyish lyricism makes the ideal foil."

  The Independent, January 2012


Anna Bolena - Percy

Metropolitan Opera, New York

"and it was good to hear the young American tenor Stephen Costello back on ringing form.." The Sunday Times, October 2011
"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." Washington Post, September 2011


Romeo et Juliette

Opera Company of Philadelphia

"But the chief attraction is the casting of America's fastest-rising husband-and-wife opera stars in the title roles: tenor Stephen Costello and soprano Ailyn Perez. Young, attractive singers who are proud alumnae of the Academy's training program, they made the performance a memorable one.
Costello, winner of the 2009 Richard Tucker Award, is a prodigiously gifted singer whose voice makes an immediate impact. There's an unforced warmth and generosity to his sound, and his big aria, "Ah! Leve-toi, soleil!" ("Arise, o sun!") showed excellent control over phrasing and dynamics. Occasionally he pushes up to a high note from below — but once reached, those notes ring out excitingly."
Associated Press, February 2011
"Costello gave the type of solid performance that has earned him major roles at the Metropolitan, where he will be the leading tenor in next season's opening night Anna Bolena. The quality that differentiates Costello is his solid voice that retains a defined character no matter where he is on the scale. It is a bit baritonal, reminiscent of Plácido Domingo's sound. In addition, Costello employs stylish diminuendos and graceful, classy phrasing." Opera Critic, February 2011