Opera News

“As Florencia, soprano Ana María Martínez registered best: the soaring high notes and vastly extended melodic lines of Catan’s score are Martínez’s métier, and the nuances in her singing, as well as the strength and richness of her voice, captured both Florencia’s upper-class reserve and her anguished yearning for the lover she left behind.”

“Ana Maria Martinez was at her very best in the title role: Her solos as Florencia were rapturous and impassioned, and her middle range gorgeously colored and rich, with soaring high notes that never bordered on strain. There was a naturalness to her acting that carried the emotion of the character without exaggeration.”

“All evening long she sang with total control, employing even vocal color throughout her enormous range. Her ability to vary her sound from dramatic fortissimo to the most beautiful thin thread of silver was impressive. Whereas most recitalists want the top of the piano down as far as they can get the pianist to put it, Martínez sang with it all the way up and had no problem being heard above the full sound of Craig Terry’s elegant accompaniment.”

“As the opera star Florencia Grimaldi, the Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez brought to the role a tone of world-weariness tempered by hope, as she returned to scene of her lover’s disappearance. Vocally, she was outstanding, with a dark, creamy middle register that perfectly brought out the sensuousness of the music. With stunning clarity, she floated pianissimo high notes, soft and luminous, that easily projected through the hall.”

“Ana María Martínez sung an enchanting Fiordiligi. Martínez sailed through the triplets in “Come scoglio” with precision and grace, and her exquisitely shaped, deeply felt “Per pietà” was amongst the most beautiful musical interludes of the evening.”

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It was a program made for pleasure, and most pleasurable of all was Ms. Martînez’s rich, warm, disciplined instrument, a melt-in-your mouth dark-chocolate truffle – with flecks of orange zest contributed by her horn-like vibrancy. She is remembered locally for her splendid work in the Verdi Requiem in 2013, and I also recall her impressive Countess in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Juliet in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet at Houston Grand Opera in 2005.

Her vehicles in this concert were Manuel de Falla’s Seven Popular Spanish Songs, arranged for orchestra by Rodolfo Halffter, and selections from four zarzuelas – the Spanish style of operetta – including her encore, the famous “Carceleras“ from Ruperto Chapi’s comedy of tangled loves Las Hijas del Zebedeo. There were many rewarding subtleties in her performances – the slight pitch inflections in Falla’s tender “Nana,” the sweetness of her response to concertmaster Eric Gratz’s sweet violin solo at the beginning of the Romanza from Ernesto Lecuona’s Maria la O, her intelligent shadings of vocal color to underscore the texts throughout.

En un elenco de notable eficiencia vocal y escénica, en la puesta del Colón se destacó la soprano puertorriqueña Ana María Martínez, que administrando bien sus energías vocales y poniendo el cuerpo cuando tuvo que hacer de muda, compuso una Rusalka tierna y sobria, impactante en la compleja escena final.

“In a role mostly sung by mezzos, she oozed sexuality and mischief as the opera’s flawed protagonist, seen at its peak during her Seguidilla. Martínez is as fine an actress as she is a musician — her thick lower register made her execution all the more alluring.”

“CARMEN, the title character Georges Bizet’s opera is a young woman who wants the social freedoms nineteenth century men simply took for granted. Sung magnificently by Ana MariA Martinez, Carmen is suave and self-confident, but enroute to certain destruction…CARMEN sings one aria after another and on this occasion Martinez gave us a potpourri of aural delights. Her “Habanera” was delicious and her “Seguidilla” seductive. In the second act she created an ambiance of exoticism and in the Smuggling Scene she stopped our hearts for a beat or two as she foretold her death with resounding low notes.”

“In the 1859 retelling of the Faust legend, via Gothe, Charles Gounod and his librettist, Jules Barbier, and Michael Carre, placed Marguerite at the heart of the story; as that beleaguered heroine, HGO favorite Ana Maria Martinez, an outstanding soprano and powerful stage presence, brought home the opera’s moral lesson and emotional force. Martinez’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.”