Ana María Martínez is a Grammy award-winning operatic soprano from Puerto Rico.
Martínez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the daughter of Puerto Rican opera singer Evangelína Colón and Ángel Martínez, a Cuban psychoanalyst. Martínez can trace her grandparents back to Spain and France before coming to the Caribbean Islands. Martínez grew up with discipline and experienced a strict Catholic upbringing.
Highlights of Martinez's career include her debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Micaëla in Carmen, for which Marion Lignana Rosenberg of Newsday, said: "A lovely singer, Martínez is something more rare and wonderful besides: a beautiful musician. She shades her smoky, soft-grained voice with finesse, phrasing with unfussy grace and serving up some of the most ravishing soft singing heard at the Met in years." For her debut in the title role of Rusalka at the Glyndebourne Festival, she was praised for her "brave back-flips before singing a radiant 'Song to the Moon'. Her dusky lyric soprano rides the great closing scene to heartbreaking effect." Martinez's debut performance with the Opera de Bastille was as Amelia in a new production of Simon Boccanegra, and she returned there to sing the title role in a new production of Verdi's Luisa Miller. Performances at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich the title role of Luisa Miller and the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro.
An alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Martinez has appeared in numerous productions with the Opera house, including her performance as Lucero in the World Premier of Daniel Catán's Salsipuedes, Mimi in La Boheme, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, La Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Liù in Turandot. At the San Francisco Opera she has performed as Amelia in Simon Boccanegra, Micaëla in Carmen, and Pamina in the Die Zauberflöte. In addition, she has had leading roles with the Netherlands Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Dresden Semper Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Seattle Opera, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Oper der Stadt Bonn, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Hamburg Opera, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, and the Seattle Opera.
Martinez has also appeared in concert, including world tours with Andrea Bocelli and Plácido Domingo, as well as performances with the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Orchestre de Paris, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Symphony at Carnegie Hall, and the Puerto Rico Symphony at the Kennedy Center. Festival appearances include performances at the Ravinia Festival, Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy, Salzburg Festival, Florence Maggio Musicale Festival, and the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico. She has worked with such distinguished conductors as Plácido Domingo, Sylvan Cambreling, Gustavo Dudamel, Bernard Haitink, and Giuseppe Sinopoli, among others.
Her solo recording, titled Ana María Martínez - Soprano Songs and Arias, recorded with the Prague Philharmonia conducted by Steven Mercurio on Naxos, was released to critical acclaim and selected by Gramophone Magazine as an "Editor's Choice." She stars on the Decca DVD Cosi Fan Tutte filmed at the Salzburg Festival and performs the role of Nedda opposite Andrea Bocelli in the Universal CD recording of I Pagliacci, which debuted at #1. She can also be seen on the EuroArts DVD Spanish Night recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Plácido Domingo.
Her discography also includes a performance on Steven Mercurio's Sony Classical CD, Many Voices, and the Latin Grammy award-winning recording of Albeniz's Merlin with Plácido Domingo (Decca), which coincided with the Grammy nominated recording of Bacalov's Misa Tango with Plácido Domingo (Deutsche Grammophon). Additional recordings include 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 in the Denzel Washington film "John Q" and she has been featured on the Emmy nominated PBS TV special and DVD "American Dream: Andrea Bocelli's Statue of Liberty Concert" with the New Jersey Symphony and she joins Plácido Domingo for a DVD of Zarzuelas entitled Amor, Vida de Mi Vida, which was recorded live with the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg.
Martínez married tenor Chad Shelton in 2000 and had one son. They divorced about seven years later.
Martínez has won prizes including the Pepita Embil Award, the Plácido Domingo International Voice Competition, and first prize at the Eleanor McCollum Awards.
Martínez won a Latin Grammy in 2001 for Classical Album for Isaac Albéniz's Merlin with Carlos Álvarez, Plácido Domingo, Jane Henschel and conductor José De Eusebio with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid.