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ANA MARIA MARTINEZ

Grammy Award® winner Ana María Martínez dramatic range distinguishes her as one of today’s most sophisticated lyric sopranos. Her career spans the world’s opera houses, concert halls, recording studios and movie theatres, and she continues to engage her audiences both with her signature roles and with new and exciting debuts on stage.

Released to critical acclaim is her recorded solo effort, simply titled Ana María Martínez – Soprano Songs and Arias, recorded with the Prague Philharmonic conducted by Steven Mercurio on Naxos. She stars on the Decca DVD Così fan tutte filmed at the Salzburg Festival and performs the role of Nedda opposite Andrea Bocelli in the Universal CD recording of Pagliacci which debuted at No. 1. DVDs on the Euro Arts label include Spanish Night with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Plácido Domingo, and Amor, Vida de Mi Vida where she joins Plácido Domingo for Zarzuelas recorded live with the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg.

Ms Martínez begins the 2009–2010 season on tour with Plácido Domingo for concerts in Cartagena and Lima, Peru. She then returns to the stages of Lyric Opera of Chicago following her debut last year as Nedda in Pagliacci, this time as Marguerite in Faust, which marks her debut in the role. She travels to her native Puerto Rico twice during the season, first to Opera de Puerto Rico as Mimi in La Bohème and then to the Casals Festival for Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and a selection of Mozart’s concert arias. In addition, she will be heard in concert with the National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic and the BBC Symphony at Barbican Hall. She then returns to De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam as Liu in Turandot and finishes the season at the Ravinia Festival as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte conducted by James Conlon.

The 2008–2009 season found Ms Martínez singing the title role of Luisa Miller and the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro both with the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Nedda in Pagliacci with the Houston Grand Opera, and Amelia in Simon Boccanegra with the San Francisco Opera. House debuts during the season included Nedda in Pagliacci with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus at Dallas Opera, and her headline making role and house debut as the title role in Rusalka at the Glyndebourne Festival: ‘When Martínez sings that “to suffer is to feel alive” in her lustrous, vibrant voice (an intoxicating composite of Slavic darkness and Latin brilliance), you believe her.’ (The Independent); ‘In the title role, the Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez does brave back-flips before singing a radiant ‘Song to the Moon’. Her dusky lyric soprano rides the great closing scene to heartbreaking effect.’ (Sunday Telegraph)

Back on the concert stage she made her debut with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra in Moscow, with the Filharmonica della Scala, under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel for her Teatro alla Scala debut, and with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in a concert conducted by Alan Gilbert in selections from West Side Story as part of a celebration of Leonard Bernstein. She toured with both Plácido Domingo and Andrea Bocelli, and was a guest soloist at the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy.

Highlights of her 2007–2008 season included performing the role of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. No stranger to this role, a previous portrayal resulted in Hugh Canning of The Times, London, heralding Martínez as ‘one of the most vocally lustrous and temperamental performers of this role here since Kiri Te Kanawa’s early days. Martínez is a beautiful woman with a fascinating voice, full of velvety mezzoish half-tints in the middle and bottom ranges, with a gleaming top. She must come back soon, and often’.

She also performed in concert with Plácido Domingo in Spain and Germany as well as at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago in addition to the Salzburg Festival, in an all-Zarzuela concert for TV entitled, Amor, Vida de Mi Vida. She portrayed Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with the Florida Grand Opera and returned to the Opera de Bastille in Paris to sing the title role in a new production of Verdi’s Luisa Miller under the baton of Massimo Zanetti; singing the role of Mimi in La Bohème with the Houston Grand Opera conducted by Patrick Summers; a debut with the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg for her first Verdi Requiem conducted by Sylvan Cambreling; and a debut with the Orchestre de Paris to sing Bernstein’s Kaddish Symphony. She also returned to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel to sing Villa-Lobos and selected Spanish and Latin American repertoire.

Highlights of the ’05–’06 season included the role of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni at Houston Grand Opera and as Micaëla in Carmen at San Francisco Opera as well as her debut as Nedda in Pagliacci at the Netherlands Opera and her Metropolitan Opera debut as Micaëla in Carmen for which Marion Lignana Rosenberg of Newsday said: ‘A lovely singer, Martínez is something more rare and wonderful besides: a beautiful musician. She shades her smoky, soft-grained voice with finesse, phrasing with unfussy grace and serving up some of the most ravishing soft singing heard at the Met in years’.

She also returned to Covent Garden as Violetta in La Traviata, her role debut as la Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Houston Grand Opera, and her debut at Paris Opera Bastille as Amelia in a new production of Simon Boccanegra.

In the 2004–2005 season Ms Martínez created the role of Lucero in the world premiere of Daniel Catán’s Salsipuedes with the Houston Grand Opera and performed with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. Other highlights of the season included performances of Mimì in La Bohème with the Los Angeles Opera and a return to Houston for a revival production of Roméo et Juliette. The summer festival season found Ms Martínez at the Santa Fe Opera in another role debut, singing Rosina in a new production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

Ms Martínez’ previous season included several critically acclaimed debuts: at the Santa Fe Opera as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, at the Dresden Semper Opera as Mimì in La Bohème and at the San Francisco Opera as Pamina in the Die Zauberflöte, a role she has sung with the Vienna Staatsoper, Seattle, Bonn and Stuttgart operas. She returned to the Deutsche Oper Berlin to perform Mimì in La Bohème as well as Violetta in their season’s production of La Traviata. Ms Martínez also returned to Houston as Liù in Turandot and in the same role at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico. The festival season found Ms Martínez returning to Santa Fe Opera as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni.

Other highlights were her Hamburg Opera debut as Blanche in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites, her Violetta conducted by Plácido Domingo at the Los Angeles Opera; her Deutsche Oper Berlin debut in Götz Friedrich’s production of Luisa Miller; her debut at the Vienna Staatsoper as Adina in L’elisir d’amore, and her acclaimed performance of Mélisande in a Dieter Dorn production at the Florence Maggio Musicale Festival under Giuseppe Sinopoli. Martínez also performed with the Boston Symphony conducted by Bernard Haitink in both Boston and Carnegie Hall and toured the world and appeared at the White House with Plácido Domingo and with Andrea Bocelli in concert. Other past engagements include performing at the Richard Tucker Gala in New York’s Avery Fisher Hall conducted by Julius Rudel, as well as performances at Bonn, Montpellier, Stuttgart, Vienna, Los Angeles, New York City Opera, Minnesota, Seattle, and Washington Opera.

In addition to her 2005 self titled CD on the Naxos label which Gramophone magazine selected for their “Editor’s Choice,” her discography includes a performance on Steven Mercurio’s Sony Classical CD, Many Voices, and the Latin Grammy award-winning recording of Albeniz’s Merlin with Plácido Domingo (Decca), which coincided with the Grammy nominated recording of Bacalov’s Misa Tango with Plácido Domingo (Deutsche Grammophon). Additional recordings include Glass’ La Belle et la Bête and Symphony No. 5 (Nonesuch), Albeniz’s Henry Clifford (Decca), Joaquin Rodrigo’s Obra Vocal I, II, IV & V (EMI), and Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas (Albany). Recorded on Naxos for the Milken Archives and with the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, she can be heard on Castelnuovo Tedesco’s Naomi & Ruth Opus 27 (Naxos) as well as Yizkor’s Requiem (Naxos) and with the Barcelona Symphony, Marvin Levy’s Canto de los Marranos (Naxos), Julius Chajes’ Old Jerusalem (Naxos) and Hugo Weisgall’s Psalm of the Distant Dove (Naxos).

Her rendition of Ave María is heard in the Denzel Washington film “John Q” and she has been featured on the Emmy nominated PBS TV special and DVD American Dream: Andrea Bocelli’s Statue of Liberty Concert with the New Jersey Symphony.

A graduate of the Juilliard School with Bachelor and Master of Music degrees and alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Martínez won the Pepita Embil Award at the 1995 Operalia II, first prize in the 1994 Eleanor McCollum Auditions and Awards from Houston Grand Opera, and in the 1993 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions she was a first place district and first place regional winner and national finalist. Martínez offers candid encouragement to young singers as a contributing editor to Classical Singer Magazine. Martínez is the recipient of the National Association of Latina Leaders’ Groundbreaking Latina in Music award. Her recollections and reflections are profiled in Latino Wisdom: Celebrity Stories of Hope, Inspiration, and Success to Recharge our Mind, Body, and Soul by Cathy Areu, published by Barricade Books.


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