Maria Ferrante

ferrante-Steve-J-ShermanSoprano Maria Ferrante broke my heart Sunday night. Or, through her, Puccini’s Madama combination of delicacy and intensity …brought tears to my eyes … In her honesty, imagination, and investment, she was infinitely superior to the last Butterfly I saw at the Met.” One of Franco Corelli’s few students, the petite soprano’s operatic roles range from the great stage heroines (Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata, Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, Liù in Puccini’s Turandot, Rosalinda in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, and Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème,) to serving girls (Despina in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, Barbarina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and Serpina in Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona).  “A true singing actress,” Dyer enthused, “her eyes and hands and body know how to sing, and with her voice she can act.” She appeared live in May 2003 on WGBH-TV as Sacerdotessa in Verdi’s Aida.  Performing in the trousers role of Oscar in Verdi’sUn Ballo in Maschera for Berks Grand Opera, she was acclaimed as “perfect, I doubt if any company anywhere could find one better suited to sing this crucial role.”

Equally at home on the concert stage, Maria has sung Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Beethoven’sSymphony No. 9, Poulenc’s Gloria, Faure’s Requiem, Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass, Handel’s Acis and Galatea, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Orff’s Carmina Burana,  Verdi’s Requiem, Mahler’s 4th and Mendelssohn’s Elijah.  She has appeared in solo recitals and concerts with world renowned artists Gilbert Kalish and Lincoln Mayorga.  Critic-composer Alice Parker wrote that she “handled the wide tessitura, compelling lines and German diction [of Berg’s ‘Sieben Frühe Lieder’] with ease, matched by Mr. Kalish’s accomplished pianism.”  One of the world’s most eminent solo clarinetists, Richard Stoltzman, has performed in recital with her. Internationally touring solo violinists Ayako Yoshida and Colin Jacobsen, cellist Dorothy Lawson (a Deutsche Grammaphon recording artist), and pianists Abba Bogin, Ian Watson and John McGinn have all accompanied Ms. Ferrante. Czech prodigy Miroslav Sekera, the 2002 winner of the Johannes Brahms International Piano Competition in Austria and first prize winner of many other international competitions) has recorded with Maria in Prague and performed with her in the United States and the Virgin Islands. American composers Seymour Barab and Sheldon Harnick (who wrote Fiddler on the Roof) have collaborated in performance with her, as has the late Arnold Black, founder of the Mohawk Trail Concert Series. All New Englanders will remember Robert J. Lurtsema as the voice of WGBH radio, and some will have had the pleasure of hearing him in concert with Maria.  Xavier de Maistre, solo harpist with the Vienna Philharmonic, accompanied the soprano in concert at The Goethe-Institut Gala in Boston. 

Besides her accomplishments singing the familiar, she is also that rare creature, an artist capable of creating brand new roles fresh from the composer’s pen.  Drafted by composer Joseph Summer as principal soprano forThe Shakespeare Concerts, Maria introduced Juliet in Gallop Apace, Ophelia in They Bore Him Barefaced, as well as several sonnets and scena in performances and recordings in the United States, Europe, and the Virgin Islands in  2003. Commenting on her Virgin Islands premiere of They Bore Him Barefaced, critic Roger Lakins described Ferrante as “a soprano whose love for singing is surpassed only by her love of communicating. She managed to bring the audience into her mood as Ophelia in just a few notes. From then on, they were her fans. A young woman sitting with me confided that she found the Ophelia work haunting, but had to work hard to believe that someone capable of making such beautiful sounds would drown herself. Had the need arisen, there were a few hundred people present who would have rescued her in a heartbeat.” Ferrante’s efforts in the arduous task of premiering new works were applauded. Maria has premiered Daniel Pelzig’s Bachiana with the Boston Ballet and the United States premiere of both the Requiem and Tota Pulchra Es Maria of Jose Nuñes Garcia. 

Recent performances have included her appearance in New York with the Ensemble for the Romantic Century in a program of Spanish compositions accompanied  by the guitar virtuoso Benjamin Verdery; Villa-Lobos’Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5 at New York’s Symphony Space (“sung with sweetness and oxygenated clarity by Maria Ferrante”) as well as performances with the Charleston(SC) and Delaware Symphony Orchestras, as featured soloist for BankBoston Showcase Series, The Newton Symphony (MA), The Newtown Chamber Orchestra (CT), Harvard’s Landmark Concerts, the Harvard Musical Association, Orpheus Choir of Hexam (England), The National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, DC), Kosciusko Foundation( NYC), the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, the Bay Chamber Ensemble, the Boston Chamber Ensemble, and the Great Music Series (Provincetown, MA). An acclaimed regular soloist with the Mohawk Trail Concert Series, she recently appeared with the great violinist Arnold Steinhardt in New York City.  

Maria’s performance of Respighi’s Il Tramonto with Susan Davenny Wyner and the New England String Ensemble received rave reviews.  Other recent performances include Lori Laitman’s I Never Saw Another Butterfly and Mahler’s 4th with the Andover Chamber Music Series; Poulenc’s Gloria with the Civic Symphony of Boston with Max Hobart; and the premiere of Fire and Straw by composer John McGinn at Clark University. She returned to the U.S. Virgin Islands, to perform new 21 Century works.  Upcoming performances also include an appearance as Cho-Cho-San in Madama Butterfly with The Florida Southwest Symphony,  an appearance in Mahler’s 4th Symphony, and Brahms Requiem. Maria will be singing Weil and Dvorak with the highly acclaimed Worcester Chamber Music Society, and will appear with the Mohawk Trail Concerts singing Chopin.

Ms. Ferrante has recorded for Albany and has three highly acclaimed solo CDs to her credit.  Her  CD, “Sea Tides and Time” received a rave review from the Boston Herald:” [Ms. Ferranteknown for her lilting soprano voice and probing mind… brings a supple and colorful approach to a broad variety of repertoire.”   The Boston Globe said: “Superb”

Her website is: www.mariaferrante.com.