PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (CBS) — When Romeo and Juliet sing of their love in the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s production, Steven Costello and Ailyn Perez, who play the roles, will have a certain spark.
They’ve found their love to be timeless too.
In 2003, they met as students at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts. Three years ago, they married. And now are cast as the lovers in Charles Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, on stage at the Academy of Music with five performances through February 20th.
“You have to to relive that spark when you first met, “ Costello said, “when you were afraid to just kind of take hold of each other.”
“We’re very romantic,” said Perez.
And that’s a blessing and a challenge on stage. “My body language… the director pointed out was so comfortable already giving him my hand.”
Perez’ dark eyes catch the light, as she speaks of her husband. She learned to allow the music to lead her.
“You hear the theme of fate, you hear the theme of love. The first glance, the first time he sees me, you hear it in the music.”
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The score is classic. But the new production is set in a 21st Century world of glamour. The Capulet’s and the Montague’s are rival fashion houses, dueling for prominence.
“There’s a whole fight scene that takes place with a hammer and chisel and stop sign.”
Couples who share careers have to navigate unsteady terrain from time to time.
“I think it’s important as a couple, in any business, especially this business, to establish yourself as individual artists first. We get hired by ourselves and together all the time. But we don’t make it known to people that they have to hire us together,” said Costello.
Studying together is another thing. In Philadelphia, Costello and Perez share a one bedroom, furnished apartment. The space is tight for two big voices.
“I’m going to hear him singing, and he’s going to hear me singing. Sometimes, I go to the theater,” Perez said.
On stage, they feel very supported by each other.
Perez believes their music works because the supportiveness is behind it, the love is behind it, and it translates.
To experience Romeo and Juliet, go to www.operaphila.org. Performances are February 13m, 16, 18, 20m at the Academy of Music.
Reported by Pat Ciarrocchi, CBS 3