MET Opera Star Aiyln Perez talks all things travel

In my latest column where I interview stars of New York productions about what they love about New York, I expand beyond Broadway to the Metropolitan Opera by profiling soprano Ailyn Pérez. I also ask Perez about travel in general.

The glamorous singer plays the role of Blanche de la Force in Poulenc Dialogues of the Carmelites, from January 15, and Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff, from March 12. Get your tickets now while they are still available.

where do you live now?

We love our apartment on W 53rd & 10 Avenue! It is a 20-minute walk from Lincoln Center and close to many art, shopping, and entertainment venues that can only be found in New York City.

What is your favorite neighborhood in the city and why?

It’s hard to pick a favorite, and I tend to have only explored limited areas due to my busy work schedule around Lincoln Center.

For me, when I need a good dose of brunch or grab a coffee and enjoy nature, I head straight to Central Park and get lost for a while. My favorite jogging route is to do a few laps around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. My favorite day off would include a good coffee and a walk through Central Park from west to east, spending time at the Guggenheim and the Met Museum. I still have to visit the Frick!

SoHo for the long walks and the different architectural landscape that feels more like a neighborhood, which forces the eye to take in more of what’s in front of you at eye level, rather than gazing up at skyscrapers.

Can you share some of your favorite places near the MET Opera and what makes them so great?

Luckily, the following spots near Lincoln Center offer a range of fine menus you can choose from, without ever feeling disappointed, as these restaurants are aware of the time constraints for theatergoers. All offer specialty cocktails and desserts to honor special occasions.

For larger groups I would recommend Shun Lee West, Cafe Fiorello and Porter House Bar and Grill

For a more relaxed vibe and smaller groups, I think PJ Clarke is always fun.

And for a lounge, cocktails and music after the opera, if you still want to hear more music or go dancing, the Empire Hotel rooftop is great!

The best place for a pre or post opera meal near any opera in the world and why. What dishes to order?

Close to Berlin’s Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Good Time restaurant and Ristorante Rosati. I think the most popular restaurant for singers and visitors is Rosati, and I would definitely order the carbonara just to see them bring the plate of fresh parmesan cheese to the table and watch them coat each noodle in your pasta for you! It’s drool and taste worthy! There are so many pictures of artists on the wall, and it’s right in front of the opera house. You can not be wrong !

Then Giovanni’s in Covent Garden in London. You must eat here if you’re visiting the English National Opera, seeing a West End show, or visiting the Royal Opera House, and you must meet the owner, Pino! The food, ambiance and wine are perfect every night.

Can you share your favorite operas around the world and why?

The Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Italy has such a special place in my heart for the history and beauty of theater that is matched by the warmest and most receptive audiences and artistic teams. For foodies and lovers of Italian history and culture, going to Naples is a must, and you need to eat, shop and sing until late at night, because there is so much culture to enjoy.

What other opera productions are on your radar right now and why?

I’m always listening to what begins at the San Diego Opera, the San José Opera (directed by the fabulous Shawna Lucey!), the Opéra Parallèle, the Grand Opera of Houston, the Dallas Opera, Lyric Opera Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Prototype, to get a feel for new works and opera composers in Spanish or native dialects .

How much time are you currently on the road?

Since the pandemic interrupted our work, I have been working as much as possible. I think I actually spend very little time at home because our contractual periods of engagement vary between four days and two months in the same city.

Can you share your travel essentials?

Safe! We love Briggs and Riley luggage because of its capacity and lifetime warranty! I would say that having good luggage for traveling is very important in my life. Having a few dresses in tow, even though I mainly sing opera roles, has always been a must-have. You never know if you might have a last minute hop for a concert, recital or opera ball.

I must have my photo and multimedia equipment with me. During the pandemic, my fiancé took to producing videos and content more seriously, so I inherited a lot of great material. I’ve usually captured my experiences just using my iPhone, but now I can enjoy and enjoy capturing higher resolution images, as a hobby and to enrich my artistic life by sharing it with the public.

What are your requests when staying at a hotel or what do you look for when trying to find a hotel to stay?

I always look for a hotel with a gym or pool and close to parks and theater. My favorite hotel is the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich, where it’s exactly all I could want for a week-long hotel stay, especially for summer festival dates! I love going to work and being close enough to the English Garden to jump in the river for a swim or to spend a day at the spa.

I usually book AirBnB stays, which have mostly been successful, but never on an instant booking basis! I always love being within a 20 minute walk of the theater and near a beautiful park and/or large body of water. Since I spend most of my time at the theater rehearsing, I like to make sure I have grocery stores close to my apartment because I love to cook.

There are a few cities where I have good friends who love to entertain when I’m in town, and that makes life on the road so much better.

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