Ana María Martínez - Soprano Songs and Arias
Ana María Martínez has already won plaudits for roles at Covent Garden – Donna Elvira and Violetta – and for her recordings of stage works by Albéniz among others. This solo recital, recorded more than five years ago, is further confirmation of her gifts. Her voice has the typical ring and timbre of a Latin singer – she hails originally from Puerto Rico – and she has the spirited delivery that goes with the Latin temperament. There is nothing half-hearted in her delivery of this eclectic programme. Oddly arranged it may be but it serves to show off her appreciable talents.
She has just the right tranche of élan to encompass her opening shots – Delibes’s Les filles de Cadix and Juliette’s ‘Je veux vivre’, the coloratura neatly executed. The first of her three Puccini items, ‘O mio babbino caro’ demonstrates her ability to draw a refined legato across the grateful phrases and she does the same in an enchantingly fresh account of ‘Chi il bel sogno di Doretta’.
Vocally speaking ‘Un bel dì’ is exemplary in tone and phrasing but here her Achilles’ heel, one from which so many singers today suffer, is most apparent – a failure to make use of consonants to give the text real meaning as, say, Victoria de los Angeles in this aria so unerringly does. The same is true of her otherwise ravishing account of ‘Vilja’ – Hanna is one of the roles she has already taken on stage.
Where words are not of the essence, in Canteloube’s Baïlèro and the famous Villa-Lobos item, the beauty of the singing carries all before it, but best of all are the two songs from zarzuelas, with the popular ‘Violettes impériales’ the jewel in the recital’s crown, though – as recorded – here and elsewhere Martínez’s tone can harden in the upper extremities. The orchestral support is more notable for vigour than subtlety.