Singer’s surprise marriage proposal brings the house down at San Francisco Opera’s Tosca

9 September 2021, 12:44 | Updated: 9 September 2021, 12:49

San Francisco Opera’s ‘Tosca’ features surprise marriage proposal finale
San Francisco Opera’s ‘Tosca’ features surprise marriage proposal finale. Picture: Gabe Meline/Twitter

By Rosie Pentreath

Opera star Soloman Howard gives a production of Puccini’s ‘Tosca’ its most memorable finale yet...

It was a case of curtain call, ring box out at the San Francisco Opera this week.

International opera star Soloman Howard surprised soprano Ailyn Pérez with a romantic marriage proposal at the end of Puccini’s Tosca.

To Pérez’s surprise and delight – and the audience’s – Howard got down on one knee, and declared from the stage, “In front of God, in front of my sisters and cousins, and most importantly in front of your mum and dad, I ask you: will you marry me?”

The audience greeted the gesture with emotional and ebullient applause, and Pérez jumped into the singer’s arms with a resounding “yes.”

Read more: Trumpeter proposes to girlfriend violinist during a Philadelphia Orchestra live concert

Solomon Howard and Ailyn Pérez have been together since 2019. Pérez began performing with the San Francisco Opera in 2005 as a participant in the Merola Opera Program, and she appeared in the company’s 2014 production of Verdi’s La Traviata. Howard made his San Francisco Opera debut in 2017 in Puccini's Turandot.

Howard told The San Francisco Chronicle, “I arranged for all our families to be here for this performance [and] I got her parents’ blessing.”

In this production Pérez was in the lead role of Floria Tosca, while Howard was singing the role of Angelotti. Michael Fabiano and Alfred Walker starred alongside the pair in this revival of Shawna Lucey’s period production of Puccini’s 1900 opera.

Audience member and KQED arts and Culture editor, Gabe Meline, tweeted on Monday, “Curtain call of the year: At the end of ‘Tosca’ just now at SFOpera, Soloman Howard (Angelotti) proposed to Ailyn Pérez (Tosca).”

An unexpected and very romantic plot twist – and one that truly brought the house down.

In the words of Puccini, “I have lived for art, I have lived for love” – and Howard’s glorious gesture encapsulates both marvellously. Big congratulations to the happy couple.