American soprano Maria Valdes has been praised for her “silvery tone, glassily smooth phrasing, and fine-caliber dynamics” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Highlights of the 2018-2019 season include a debut with Atlanta Opera as Doris Parker in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, the Maiden in the world-premiere piece Sueños de Béjar with Opera San Antonio, and a return to Phoenix Symphony for performances of Handel’s Messiah.
In the 2017-2018 season, Ms. Valdes made her debut with New York City Opera, in cooperation with Houston Grand Opera as Diana in the mariachi opera, Cruzar la cara de la luna, and with Opera San José as Despina in Così fan tutte She made her company debut with The Berkshire Opera Festival as Gilda in Rigoletto and Opera Theatre of St. Louis as Amore in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. On the concert stage, Ms. Valdes performed Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the California Symphony. She also joined the Phoenix Symphony as the soprano soloist in Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem and returned to the Bellingham Festival of Music to sing Poulenc’s Gloria.
Maria Valdes completed the 2016-2017 season with a return to San Francisco Opera to cover the role of Gilda; she went on in-role during a performance after a colleague fell ill. A distinguished alumna of the SongFest program in Los Angeles, she was heard in a solo recital of Nordic, Spanish and Latin American music. Other season highlights included performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate with both the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Chattanooga Symphony, and with Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra singing Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and the West Coast premiere of Scott Ordway’s “Tonight We Tell the Secrets of the World.” She also performed Messiah with Concert Royal at St. Thomas Church in New York City, where The New York Times exclaimed that she performed “beautifully, growing stronger as the evening progressed.”
Past appearances include a Lyric Opera of Chicago debut covering Juliette in Roméo et Juliette immediately upon finishing her tenure as an Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera. Throughout that two-year fellowship she performed the roles of Musetta in La bohème, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro. Covers included Johanna in Sweeney Todd, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Oscar in Un ballo in maschera, Magnolia in Showboat and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, which she also performed in 2013 as member of that company’s Merola Program.
An accomplished recitalist, Valdes has appeared in concert with Martin Katz, as well as world-renowned flamenco guitarist Pepe Romero. She made her New York recital debut with NYFOS performing with Steven Blier and Michael Barrett in Compositora, a recital of female Latin American composers. Of her performance, The New York Times praised Ms. Valdes for her interpretation of the repertoire with “keening clarity.” She also attended the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival which included several concert appearances. Ms. Valdes can be heard singing Mendelssohn’s “Hear my prayer” on the album Evening Hymn released by Gothic Records and acclaimed in the American Record Guide.
An award-winner in the regional Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, Maria Valdes is also the winner of the top prize at the Corbett Opera Scholarship Competition at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and is the recipient of a Shoshana Foundation Grant. She is a native of Atlanta.
“The soprano Maria Valdes has already proven herself in more modern fare; she was a standout this past January in New York City Opera’s mariachi opera ‘Cruzar la Cara de la Luna.’ Here she was a first-rate singing actress and a perfectly charming Gilda.”
“Valdes, another star in ascendance, was in excellent voice on opening night, her ‘Caro nome’ sung almost entirely seated, from the floor. At least for this reviewer, it helps that the soprano’s also a fine actress and looks more than a little like a young Renée Fleming, though her sound has a sharper, more youthful edge in its upper reaches—a nice touch for a doomed jester’s daughter torn between chaste duty and adolescent desire.”
“There was a heart-rending and emotionally transparent scene from Debussy’s “Pelléas et Mélisande” done by soprano Maria Valdes and bass-baritone Philippe Sly. Even before that, Valdes had stormed her way fearlessly through the expressive and technical challenges of Anne Truelove’s great Act 1 aria and cabaletta from Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress,” culminating in a beautiful and secure high C.”
“Soprano Maria Valdes used her silvery tone, glassily smooth phrasing, and fine-caliber dynamics”
Steven Winn, The San Francisco Classical Voice
“Valdes’s movement even topped the beautiful third movement in sheer gorgeousness. As the graceful confidence in her voice suggested, Valdes had performed this work with Cabrera … before. It was certainly a finale worth waiting for.”
Jessica Balik, The San Francisco Classical Voice
“Equally lovely to gaze at, and just as strong in the acting department, she was able to control her every facial expression and movement, making them seem to arise naturally from her heart and gut rather than her head. The same can be said of her perfectly placed, sweet voice, which brought light to her every utterance. She also knows when to add body to the voice…and when to lighten.”
Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice
“Maria Valdes charmingly portrayed his ultimate prize Papagena.”
James Ambroff-Tahan, San Francisco Examiner