Ana María Martínez lends “patented shimmering sound” to Madama Butterfly in Houston

Ana María Martínez’s return to the title role in Madama Butterfly last Friday was met with an overwhelming audience reception and an equally warm critical reception at Houston Grand Opera. The Houston Press praised the soprano’s “patented shimmering sound,” noting also that “Martínez possesses a tone of unfailing beauty, with an abundant blush of freshness and purity that conveys youthfulness and unbridled passion. That she’s a consummate actor only adds to her complete portrayal of this innocent young girl, scampering in tiny little steps and giggling behind an upturned hand, then seduced then abandoned, then ultimately shattered, maturing with a vengeance, when her dreams of love get trampled. Her aching farewell aria to her little son Sorrow brings tears from even the most jaded of opera patrons.”

The Houston Chronicle concurred, adding, “If the richness, passion and style Martínez lavished on Puccini’s music weren’t enough to restore a naysayer’s faith, I don’t know what would be. As Martínez’s vibrant, full-bodied voice welled up again and again, it was more than a feast for the ear. It exuded the emotion and dignity that make Butterfly so captivating.…In Act 3, as hope died, Martínez sang with an abandon that not only exposed Butterfly’s desperation, but completed her growth into a larger-than-life figure.”

Ana María can be heard in Houston Grand Opera’s Madama Butterfly through February 8, with the next performance taking place on January 28.

(Photo: Lynn Lane)