Grammy Award-winning soprano Ana María Martínez will join Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music this fall as an artist-in-residence for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years.
With an international career that spans the world’s most important opera houses and concert halls, Martínez has been praised by Opera News for having a voice that that “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.” The New York Times described her as 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.”
During her residency, she will conduct master classes, provide individual coaching, offer career counseling and assist students with their role preparations in the opera department.
“Ana María Martínez is one of the leading artists of her generation with a special gift for sharing her knowledge of the profession with aspiring young singers,” said Robert Yekovich, dean of the Shepherd School. “The Shepherd School stands to greatly benefit from her appointment as artist-in-residence.”
Martínez’s Rice appointment follows her recent designation as the first-ever artistic advisor of the Houston Grand Opera, where she was a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and has portrayed some of her most beloved leading-lady characters in her adopted hometown. Most notably in Houston, she has performed the title role in “Carmen,” with Opera Newsroclaiming, “Ana María Martínez’s amazing performance as Carmen established a benchmark for the role in the Houston Grand Opera production of Bizet’s opera.” In addition, she performed the roles of Cio-Cio San in “Madama Butterfly,” 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” and Lucero in the world premiere of Daniel Catán’s “Salsipuedes,” among many others. Houstonia magazine wrote, “Martínez has the type of down-to-earth and disarming personality that nearly belies her international opera diva status, and she’s totally unabashed about her love for Houston, where she’s lived since 2002.”
During the 2018-19 season Martínez joined Esa-Pekka Salonen and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra for the world premiere of “Dreamers,” an oratorio that 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, with whom she often performs. She joined the Vienna Staatsoper for the 20th anniversary of her debut with them as Cio-Cio San in “Madama Butterfly,” and Houston Grand Opera in the title role in “Florencia en el Amazonas.” Concert performances included joining the Puerto Rico Symphony for its 60th anniversary gala concert and engagements with Domingo throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Highlights for her upcoming 2019-20 season include leading roles in return engagements with Opera National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago and New York’s Metropolitan Opera.
Martinez is frequently seen on the stages of Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she has performed as the title roles in “Rusalka” and “Carmen,” Donna Elvira in “Don Giovanni,” Desdemona in Verdi’s “Otello,” Tatyana in “Eugene Onegin,” Mimi in “La bohème,” Nedda in “Pagliacci,” Fiordiligi in “Così fan Tutte” and Marguerite in “Faust.” She has joined the Los Angeles Opera as Mimi, Violetta in “La Traviata,” Amelia in “Simon Boccanegra,” The Metropolitan Opera as Cio-Cio-San in “Madama Butterfly,” Museta in “La bohème” and Micaela in “Carmen” and the San Francisco Opera as Donna Elvira in “Don Giovanni,” Elisabetta in “Don Carlo,” Amelia in “Simon Boccanegra,” Micaela in “Carmen” and Pamina in “Die Zauberflöte.”
Career highlights from stages across Europe include her headline-making role and house debut in the title role in “Rusalka” with the Glyndebourne Festival, a performance that was recorded live and released on the Glyndebourne label. She returned to the festival in the leading role of Paolina in the United Kingdom’s first professionally staged performances of Donizetti’s “Poliuto.” She made her debut with the Opera National de Paris as Amelia in a new production of “Simon Boccanegra” and returned in 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.” With the Vienna Staatsoper she performed as Cio-Cio San in “Madama Butterfly,” Adina in “L’elisir d’amore,” Micaela in “Carmen,” Mimi in “La bohème” and as Pamina in the “Die Zauberflöte” and joined the Bayerische Staatsoper as Cio-Cio San in “Madama Butterfly,” 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” and Donna Elvira in “Don Giovanni.” She sang Liú in “Turandot” and Nedda in “Pagliacci,” both with De Nederlandse Opera.
Martínez’s 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, and has joined the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall as well as the Puerto Rico Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, English National Opera Orchestra in London, Tchaikovsky Symphony in Moscow, the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasiliera in Rio de Janeiro, the BBC Symphony at Barbican Hall and the National Symphony of the Dominican Republic. She has performed with the Boston Symphony, Washington National Opera Orchestra, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico and has been seen for many seasons in concert performances alongside both Domingo and Andrea Bocelli. In addition to her solo disc, Martinez has appeared in numerous recordings and DVDs and voiced the role of opera singer Alessandra in season three of Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle.”