Grammy Award® winner Ana María Martínez is considered to be one of the foremost sopranos of her time, with an international career that spans the world’s most important opera houses and concert halls. Her repertoire encompasses opera’s most intriguing and diverse leading ladies, and she engages her audiences season after season with signature roles, spellbinding debuts, and a myriad of captivating recordings. Recent rave reviews for the soprano include the following:
“Her soprano harks back to the golden age. Her range is even, from a dusky chest-voice through a claret-colored middle and up to radiant top, and is impressive in its quiet moments as it is at full power.” (Opera News, Cover Story)
“The production was grounded by the exquisite performance of the title role by Ana María Martínez, who sang the opera for Glyndebourne in 2009. The soprano was in ravishing vocal estate, offering reams of floated lyricism in Act I’s famous song to the moon, as well as prodigious dynamic control in “Ó marno to je” and power in reserve for the climaxes of “Necitelná vodní moci….Martínez’s achievement was easily one of the great soprano performances of the present era at Lyric.” (Opera News, Rusalka, Lyric Opera of Chicago)
“Martínez’s voice alone – with its chocolate-rich vibrancy in the low and middle range and its thrilling brilliance at the top – is worth the price of admission, but she also has the expressive range, as a singing actress, to portray Marguerite’s complex transformation from youthful innocent in the throes of first love to outcast sinner consumed by tragedy and madness, who then achieves the miracle of redemption.” (Opera News, Faust, Houston Grand Opera)
“It was a bit of theatrical magic in a beautiful performance: modest and delicate, yet rising to glimpses of the epic in her final aria of self-sacrifice.” (The New York Times, Madama Butterfly, The Metropolitan Opera)
Ms. Martínez is constantly challenging and stretching herself as an artist. In addition to a full calendar of performances, she has recently taken on two new exciting roles that expand her presence offstage, including joining Houston Grand Opera as their first-ever Artistic Advisor as well as Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music as Artist-in-Residence for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. Equally interesting, she voiced the role of opera singer Alessandra in season three of Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle, and proudly represented her birthplace Puerto Rico as an honoree and performer in the 62nd Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. During her travels she frequently goes into the classroom to teach and offer guidance to students, has provided candid encouragement to young singers as a contributing editor to Classical Singer Magazine and her reflections were 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. Ms. Martínez was the inaugural recipient of the Pepita Embil Prize of Zarzuela at the 1995 Operalia II, and in the years since has been honored to regularly share the stage in concert with Plácido Domingo. Highlights of their touring include performances at The White House, HSBC Arena in Rio De Janeiro for the World Cup Celebration, her debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, as well as performances at the Abu Dhabi Festival in the United Arab Emirates, Arena di Verona, Chorégies d’Orange, Teatro Real in Madrid, with the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra in honor of Domingo’s 50th Anniversary, in a special concert event with the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra under the direction of Sir Andrew Davis, and for the inaugural performance at the Dubai Opera House, to name just a select few. Their recordings include a Zarzuela DVD recorded live at the Salzburg Festival entitled Amor, Vida de Mi Vida (EuroArts), the Latin Grammy Award® winning recording of Albeniz’s Merlin (Decca), as well as the Grammy nominated recording of Bacalov’s Misa Tango (Deutsche Grammophon), and the DVD Spanish Night (EuroArts) with the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Maestro Domingo. Ms. Martínez has also performed on international concert tours with star tenor Andrea Bocelli. Highlights of their collaboration include her appearance on the Emmy nominated PBS TV special and DVD American Dream: Andrea Bocelli’s Statue of Liberty Concert (WNET/Thirteen) with the New Jersey Symphony, as well as her participation in his star-studded performance in New York’s Central Park which was recorded live, entitled Concerto: One Night in Central Park (Verve). She performs the role of Nedda opposite Andrea Bocelli in the recording of Pagliacci (Decca), and portrays the title role in Manon Lescaut (Decca) recorded opposite Andrea Bocelli with Plácido Domingo conducting the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana.
During the 2019-20 season Ms. Martínez portrays the role of Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly with Opera National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago and The Metropolitan Opera. Season highlights on the concert stage include a New Year’s Eve Gala concert with the Baden-Baden Festival as well as a performance with the Houston Symphony for Composer-in-Residence Jimmy López’s Dreamers Oratorio. During the 2018-2019 season she joined Esa-Pekka Salonen and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra for the World Premiere of Dreamers, an oratorio co-commissioned by Cal Performances and Stanford Live. Written by composer Jimmy López of Peru and librettist Nilo Cruz of Cuba, Dreamers explores the immigrant experience in the United States. She returned to the Los Angeles Opera as both Elisabetta in Don Carlo and Solea in El Gato Montes opposite Plácido Domingo in the title role, the Vienna Staatsoper on the 20th anniversary of her debut with them as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, and Houston Grand Opera as the title role in Florencia en el Amazonas. She joined the Puerto Rico Symphony for their 60th Anniversary gala concert, shared the stage with Plácido Domingo on tour in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and with the San Francisco Opera and Houston Grand Opera for gala concert celebrations and took part in a week-long residency at DePaul University in Chicago.
Ms. Martínez makes her home in Houston, Texas, where her relationship with Houston Grand Opera runs deep. In addition to being named the company’s first-ever Artist Advisor, she is an alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, and the inaugural receipt of the Lynn Wyatt Great Artist Award, which is awarded by HGO and Lynn and Oscar Wyatt. In 1994 she won First Prize in HGO’s Eleanor McCollum Auditions and Awards Competition, and in 2015 established the Ana María Martínez Encouragement Award as part of that same competition. The scholarship is awarded annually to a young singer with great artistic promise, and is to be used towards the furthering of his or her artistic training. On the Houston Grand Opera stage Ms. Martínez continues to portray some of her most beloved characters, often under the baton of their Artistic and Music Director, Patrick Summers. It was there that she debuted the title role of Carmen, as well as the role of Cio-Cio San, which she since has performed around the world. She joined them as the title role in Rusalka, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Nedda in Pagliacci, Mimi in La Bohème, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, la Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, Liù in Turandot, Lucero in the world premiere of Daniel Catán’s Salsipuedes, and as both Rosalba and then in a later production as the title role in Florencia en el Amazonas, both which were recorded for commercial release.
Ms. Martínez is delighted to perform season after season with Lyric Opera of Chicago. Recent performances include Donna Elvira in a new Robert Falls production of Don Giovanni, her role debut as Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, as well as Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, Mimi in La Bohème, Nedda in Pagliacci, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte and Marguerite in Faust. With the Los Angeles Opera she performed as Amelia in Simon Boccanegra and Elisabetta in Don Carlo, both opposite Plácido Domingo and conducted by LA Opera Music Director, James Conlon, as well as the title role in Carmen, Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Mimi in La Bohème, Nedda in Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Pagliacci, and Violetta in La Traviata, the last two conducted by Maestro Domingo. She made her role debut as Elisabetta in Don Carlo, with San Francisco Opera conducted by Nicola Luisotti, and also joined them as Amelia in Simon Boccanegra, Micaëla in Carmen, as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. She made her debut with The Metropolitan Opera as Micaëla in Carmen and returned to the house as Musetta La Bohème and Cio-Cio San. She joined Washington National Opera as Liù in Turandot, and Cio-Cio San, and she made her debut with Santa Fe Opera as Fiordiligi in Così fan Tutte, and returned there as Rosina in a new production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Mimi in La Bohème, as Cio-Cio San, and as the title role in Carmen. Additional leading roles in the United States have taken her for multiples seasons to the stages of Opera de Puerto Rico, Dallas Opera, and Florida Grand Opera, among many others. Career highlights from stages across Europe include her headline-making role and house debut as Rusalka with the Glyndebourne Festival, a performance that was recording live and released on the Glyndebourne label. She returned to the Festival as the leading role of Paolina in the United Kingdom’s first professionally staged performances of Donizetti’s Poliuto, also recorded live and released on DVD. She made her debut at Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires as Rusalka, and her debut with the Opera National de Paris as Amelia in a new production of Simon Boccanegra, returning as the title role in a new production of Luisa Miller, as Mimi in La Bohème, and for her role debut as Antonia in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffman. She made her debut with the Vienna Staatsoper as Adina in L’elisir d’amore, and returned there as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Micaëla in Carmen, Mimi in La Bohème, Liù in Turandot, and as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly conducted by Plácido Domingo. She joined the Bayerische Staatsoper as Cio-Cio San, the title role in Luisa Miller, the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Mimi in La Bohème, the title role in Rusalka, and as Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffman. At the Royal Opera House Covent Garden she debuted her Alice Ford in Falstaff, and portrayed Violetta in La Traviata, Cio-Cio San in Madame Butterfly, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. She sang Liu in Turandot and Nedda in Pagliacci both with De Nederlandse Opera. In the Middle East, she portrayed Mimi in La Bohème with the Abu Dhabi Festival in the United Arab Emirates, for the city’s first ever fully staged opera production.
Ms. Martínez’s dynamic concert career also includes engagements with some of the world’s most celebrated orchestras and conductors. She made her debut at Teatro alla Scala with the Filharmonica della Scala, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, performed with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, conducted by Alan Gilbert, in selections from West Side Story, and has had solo concerts with the Puerto Rico Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Mercury Baroque in Houston, the Seoul Philharmonic, and with the English National Opera Orchestra in London. She has performed with the Tchaikovsky Symphony in Moscow, under the direction of Vladimir Fedoseyev, the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasiliera in Rio de Janeiro, the BBC Symphony at Barbican Hall, and the National Symphony of the Dominican Republic. She joined the Boston Symphony, conducted by Bernard Haitink, Lyric Opera of Chicago for several concerts at Millenium Park conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, and the Washington National Opera Orchestra for a concert with Bryn Terfel conducted by Plácido Domingo. She made her debut with the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg for Verdi’s Requiem, joined the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Gustavo Dudamel, and performed alongside baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky in a gala concert with the Turkish Opera and Ballet Theatre. She sang with tenor Joseph Calleja in an open-air televised gala concert with the Esterhazy Festival in Austria, the Ravinia Festival in concert performances as Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte conducted by James Conlon, joined the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy, Mostly Mozart Festival in New York, and has appeared on several occasions with the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico.
Ms. Martínez’s recording collection is highlighted by her solo disc, entitled Ana María Martínez – Soprano Songs and Arias, of which she also served as Executive Producer. Recorded with the Prague Philharmonia and conducted by Steven Mercurio on Naxos, the album was selected by Gramophone Magazine as an “Editor’s Choice.” She stars on the soundtrack of Amazon’s season 3 of Mozart in the Jungle (Sony Classical), on the DVD Cosi Fan Tutte (Decca) filmed at the Salzburg Festival, and appears on Steven Mercurio’s Many Voices (Sony Classical). She performs on the albums 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 Maria is heard on the Aaron Zigman soundtrack in the Denzel Washington film “John Q,” and her “Je veux vivre” from Romeo et Juliette can be heard in the movie “Factory Girl.”
Born in Puerto Rico to a Puerto Rican mother and a Cuban father, Ana María spent her formative years in Puerto Rico and New York City. She graduated from The Juilliard School with both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. An 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. She is the recipient of the National Association of Latina Leaders’ Groundbreaking Latina in Music award.