Madama Butterfly

Rigoletto

                     starring

       Metropolitan Opera Artist       

   Nelson Martinez

MADNESS & MAYHEM in MANTUA

 Special to Town Times by LARRY KELLUM

On Oct. 27, Opera Connecticut launched its 26th season with a stirring
performance of Verdi's powerful "Rigoletto" at St. Joseph's Univ. in
W. Hartford with a stellar cast, conducted by maestro/impresario Doris
Kosloff and directed by erstwhile Met Opera mezzo/current stage
director Sondra Kelly. In a nutshell, it was "one for the record
books!"

Two years ago, Nelson Martinez stupefied this company with his titanic
Scarpia in "Tosca". Since then, he has debuted at the Metropolitan
Opera and appeared all over North and South America. As Rigoletto, he
proved that he is quickly becoming the Pavarotti of Verdi baritones.
for not only does he resemble the legendary tenor in girth and beard,
but his voice is "as good as it gets" today in the great dramatic
Italian roles. His portrayal of the complex tragic jester was also
more sympathetic and less hectoring than usually seen.
 

Also returning to OC from that same 2015 production of "Tosca" was
tenor Tau Papua as the licentious Duke. Vocally, his brawny, manly
"Casanova'' was more in the  darker Corelli/Domingo  versus the
lighter Kraus/Valetti  mold, but his stentorian high B's shook the
house 8.9 on the Richter scale. Radames anyone........???
Sandwiched between these two forces of nature was young soprano Sarah
Tucker as Gilda. Hers was more the traditional instead of original
Gilda... ie two spiraling interpolated high D's and a zinfandel versus
merlot tonal quality. However, she is already one of those rare
sopranos today who can actually trill..........and basked in the long
ones that conclude "Caro Nome". She also mustered up the sheer volume
to ride the swirling orchestration of the Storm Scene, at least in
this venue anyway. As always. our state's favorite veteran basso
Laurentiu Rotaru served as deluxe casting  as the sinister
Sparafucile.
Next October, this innovative company will present another Puccini
masterpiece "La Boheme." 

Cuban-American Baritone Nelson Martinez began his operatic career at the young age of 19 singing to great praise and critical acclaim throughout opera houses around the world, with a variety of Italian and French Operas, as well as Cuban and Spanish Zarzuelas. Mr. Martinez’ voice is that of a high dramatic Verdian baritone, combining elegant legato with insightful musicality. He has a commanding and dominating stage presence.

Mr. Martinez joined the Metropolitan Opera’s roster in 2016 covering Count di Luna in The Met’s production of Il Trovatore and returned in 2017 singing the role of Monterone in Rigoletto and Giorgio Germont in La Traviata to great reviews.

Critics described Mr. Martinez as “the real deal, his voice is huge, his presence powerful, and when necessary, scaled down for moments of sensitivity and pathos. The sweetness that is essential for the father-daughter duets is mesmerizing. This is a true Verdi baritone”, for his performance of Nabucco in Nabucco with Florida Grand Opera.

In the 2013-14 season Mr. Martinez made his debut with the Greek National Opera in the title role of Rigoletto in Rigoletto, Nabucco in Nabucco with the Florida Grand Opera and Falstaff in Falstaff with the Theatro Municipal de Sao Paolo.

Mr. Martinez has also performed with such opera companies as The Metropolitan Opera, Greek National Opera, Theatro Municipal de Sao Paulo, Winter Opera St. Louis, Opera Carolina, Knoxville Opera, Miami Lyric Opera, Metro Lyric Opera of New Jersey, Baltimore Opera, Sociedad Pro Arte Gratelli of Miami, among others.

Mr. Martinez began his vocal studies in Cuba under the direction of Mr. Raul Camayd and later with Nayade Proenza.

Future engagements include Conte di Luna in Il Trovatore and Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with the Metropolitan Opera.

Mr. Martinez resides in Miami, FL where he studies with Hilda del Castillo.