Tenor Stephen Costello Withdraws From Cosi, Norman Reinhardt Will Do Double Duty in Two Operas

Proving that real-life opera can be as dramatic as the tumultuous scenes and lives it portrays, Houston Grand Opera has just announced it is making a last-minute switch of one of its lead singers in its upcoming production of Cosi fan tutte.

Stephen Costello, last seen here as the duke in last season's HGO production of Rigoletto, has had to withdraw due to illness, HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers announced. "We wish Stephen Costello a speedy recovery."

Instead, tenor Norman Reinhardt will sing the role of Ferrando. He happened to be in town because he's singing the role of Cassio in Giuseppe Verdi's Otello which starts next week.

Now he'll be singing both roles -- a pretty daunting proposition and one that has HGO officials saying that there will be no advance interviews with him while he takes special care of his voice.

Costello would have been making his role debut by singing Ferrando. Reinhardt, a former HGO Studio artist, has sung it before including with the Israeli Opera, Santa Fe Opera and Oper Leipzig.

"It is our great good fortune to have such an experienced Ferrando already in our midst," said Summers in a press release. "Norman, who has blossomed so deeply in the years since he left the HGO Studio, will be a perfect addition to this cast."

Interestingly enough, Costello's wife Ailyn Perez is making her role and house debut in HGO's Otello. Both Perez and Costello, who put out a recording of romantic songs earlier this year, have won the prestigious Tucker Award.

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