The New York Times

“Half an hour of intermission separates the first and second acts of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” at the Metropolitan Opera. But in the libretto that gap covers three years of suffering for the title character, a betrayed young geisha waiting in vain for the return of her American husband.

The soprano Ana María Martínez appearing in her first leading role at the Met on Friday, made you disbelieve your watch. Yes, you’d returned to your seat after just 30 minutes, but in that time years seemed to have gone by onstage. Ms. Martínez’s Butterfly had transformed, in both manner and sound, from a demure, besotted girl to a weary, hardened woman. She seemed, quite simply, to have aged.

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…While Ms. Martínez’s voice has a low, dark center of gravity that makes the more conversational passages of the score really speak, once she had settled into her upper register, her high notes came out like Butterfly herself: reserved yet movingly clear.”