Back from the brink, San Diego Opera to kick off 50th season

Stephen Costello and Ailyn Perez

Stephen Costello and Ailyn Perez

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SAN DIEGO — Having survived a near-death experience, the San Diego Opera plans to open its 50th season Friday night with a recital of love duets by Ailyn Perez and Stephen Costello.

Leaders of the opera company, unable to overcome financial problems, decided in March to fold. However, several board members, employees and supporters subsequently raised enough money to stay in business.

Ian Campbell, who led the San Diego Opera since 1983, was ousted amid the turmoil.

The next season originally was scheduled to begin in January, but will now get started with the show by Perez and Costello, set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Balboa Theatre. Perez and Costello, a married couple, will sing selections from their “Love Duets” album, which features arias and songs from “Manon,” “Rigoletto,” “The Elixir of Love,” “Faust,” “Le boheme,” “Carousel” and “West Side Story.”

“Steven and Ailyn are no strangers to our audience, and are some of the most exciting singers performing today,” said Carol Lazier, the opera’s board president who contributed $1 million to save the company. “To welcome them as the inaugural performance  of our 2014-2015 season is an incredible pleasure.”

Perez and Costello will be accompanied by pianist Danielle Orlando.

Another special show, featuring the songs of Kate Smith, is scheduled for Dec. 11.

The opera originated as the San Diego Opera Guild in 1950. The San Diego Opera Association was incorporated in 1965.

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