The soprano Ailyn Pérez has won this year’s Beverly Sills Artist Award, which offers a $50,000 prize to help foster the careers of young singers who have appeared in solo roles at the Metropolitan Opera, that company announced on Thursday.
A rising lyric soprano who won the 2012 Richard Tucker Award, Ms. Pérez, 36, cited Ms. Sills, the Brooklyn-born opera star, as an inspiration. “She presented the operatic voice as something we could be fascinated and awed by, and with her great sense of humor, she was ‘Bubbles,’ the diva we could all relate to,” Ms. Pérez said in a statement, adding that she hoped to engage new audiences through social media and by working in schools. “Opera will survive and thrive if we embrace it as an important part of our collective culture.”
Ms. Pérez made her Met debut last year as Micaëla in Bizet’s “Carmen,” and was praised by Zachary Woolfe in The New York Times as a “confident, forthright presence in a role that can fade into merely demure.” She will sing her first Met performances of Musetta in Puccini’s “La Bohème” beginning April 15, and next season she is scheduled to add another “Bohème” role at the Met for the first time: Mimì.
She is the 11th recipient of the award; past winners include Joyce DiDonato, Matthew Polenzani, Isabel Leonard, Angela Meade, Brian Hymel and Michael Fabiano.