Artist of the Week: Maria José Siri

Uruguayan Soprano to Debut Abigaille in ‘Nabucco’ at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

By Francisco Salazar

This week, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is set to open “Nabucco,” the work that put Verdi on the map and is regarded as one of his early masterpieces. At the core of the opera is the challenging role of Abigaille, which requires a soprano who can sing both very low and very high with dramatic force and is also capable of virtuoso coloratura. In some cases, it has been called a “Voice Killer.”

This week, Maria José Siri will add the role to her growing Verdi repertoire.

Throughout the past few years, the Uruguayan soprano’s status in the opera world has surged and she has become te one of the most in-demand spintos of her generation. She has led new productions at the Teatro alla Scala, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Gran Teatre del Liceu, and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and is a leading interpreter of the verismo, Puccini, and Verdi repertoire. She has also revived rarely performed works as “Francesca da Rimini” and the original “Madama Butterfly” and has performed bel canto operas such as “Norma.” With Abigaille, Siri will add yet another Verdi role following critically acclaimed turns in “Atilla,” “I Due Foscari,” “Aida,” “Un Ballo in Maschera,” “La Forza del Destino,” and “Il Trovatore,” among others.

In a statement about her upcoming debut as Abigaille, Siri noted,  “For me Abigaille is a bel canto role, and a logical development from roles like Odabella in ‘Attila,’ Lucrezia Contarini in ‘I due Foscari,’ and Norma, which I’ve been singing with a lot of pleasure for many years. It is true that Abigaille is a warrior, and that the role includes demanding interval jumps and passagework. But at least as important is her very sensitive, vulnerable side, which is also being reflected in the music by the many beautiful legato lines and piani that Verdi wrote for the part. I really cannot wait to sing this exciting role for the first time at the Teatro del Maggio with this amazing team!”

The production is set to open on Oct. 4 and for those not in Florence, Siri will return to the Arena di Verona in 2021 for “Aida,” “Pagliacci” and “Cavalleria Rusticana.” She also headlines a new production of “Adriana Lecouvreur” in Florence.


For those not familiar with Siri, the soprano has DVD recordings of “Atilla,” “Madama Butterfly,” “Norma,” “Suor Angelica,” and “Il Tabarro.”

Here she is singing the role of Odabella in “Attila.”



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