Biography

Matching “steely vocalism with lyricism and pathos” (Financial Times), while being “capable to completely dive into her characters”, boasting “glistening high notes” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung), María José Siri figures among today's leading sopranos in a repertoire comprising many of the great Italian opera heroines of the 19th and 20th century. 

Most recently, Ms Siri caused a stir as the tragic protagonist of Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino 2021 in a new staging conducted by Daniel Harding, proving “to be an interpreter of the highest order, not only for her lush vocality but also for an emission that ideally recalls Tebaldi’s full and resounding sound” (Opera Áctual). The star soprano debuted the role of the famous French actress in 2020 at the Teatro Petruzzelli of Bari, also reprising it in 2021 at the Las Palmas Opera, where she made history as the first female singer to encore an aria (“Io son l'umile ancella”) in the great history of the Spanish theatre. Maria José Siri's next new role is Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana, which she debuts at the 2021 Arena di Verona Festival, singing Nedda in Pagliacci on the same evening. A much requested interpreter of the role of Maddalena de Coigny in Andrea Chénier, Ms Siri scored success after success in Giordano's French Revolution opera at theatres such as the Wiener Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, New National Theatre Tokyo, Teatro dell'Opera of Rome, Teatro Regio of Turin or the Bregenz Festival. 

Ms Siri rose to international fame when triumphing in the inauguration of the Teatro alla Scala's 2016/2017 season, making her debut in the title role of Madama Butterfly conducted by Riccardo Chailly. She immediately became one of the most requested interpreters of the role of Cio-Cio-San, taking the Japanese Geisha to many prestigious opera houses, such as the Vienna State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera Munich and the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Other iconic Puccini characters include the title roles of Manon Lescaut, Tosca and Suor Angelica; Giorgetta in Il tabarro, Anna in Le villi or Mimì and Musetta in La bohème, which Ms Siri has sung to great acclaim at theatres such as the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Semperoper Dresden, the Staatsoper Hamburg, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the Vienna State Opera, the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires and the New National Theatre Tokyo.

Following her success in Madama Butterfly at La Scala, she was also acclaimed as the title heroines in new productions of Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini and Puccini's Manon Lescaut at the famed Milanese opera house, where her other appearances have included several important concerts and her house debut in the title role of Aida.

Apart from the Teatro alla Scala, Maria José Siri has appeared in more than 100 performances as Aida all over the world, from Argentina, where she made her 2004 role debut to Bregenz, Florence, Hamburg, Montevideo, São Paulo, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Verona and in front of the Giza Pyramids in Cairo, singing the part of the Ethiopian princess with conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Plácido Domingo, Zubin Mehta and Daniel Oren.

Ms Siri's rich Verdi repertoire includes more than ten roles, from the composer's fierce early dramatic coloratura warriors such as the latest addition to her repertoire, Abigaille in Nabucco, Lucrezia Contarini in I due Foscari or Odabella in Attila, to titles such as Il trovatore, Simon Boccanegra, Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino, the French and Italian versions of Don Carlo as well as Otello. She has sung the composer's monumental Messa da Requiem with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmoniker and Marek Janowski, the Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala and Riccardo Chailly or the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Myung-Whun Chung.

Another iconic soprano role of Maria José Siri's repertoire is Bellini's Norma, which she performed for the first time in 2016 at the Macerata Opera Festival, receiving praise for her artistic authority, which according to Concerti established “a perfect connection to the great old days of real singing personalities”. Ms Siri reprised the role of the fiery Druid priestess in 2020 at the Teatro San Carlo, causing Il giornale della musica to laud her “complete Norma”.

Born in Uruguay to Italian ancestors, Ms Siri began her vocal studies at the ENAL Montevideo, completing them at the Paris Conservatory and with Ileana Cotrubas in Nizza and Vienna. The recipient of the 2017 Oscar della Lirica in the category Best Soprano performed her first operatic roles on the stages of her native country and in Argentina, making her career breakthrough in Europe in 2008 as Leonora in Il trovatore at the Teatro Carlo Felice of Genoa under the musical direction of Bruno Bartoletti. Having established herself as one of the leading singers of the Italian repertoire in Italy, she moved to Verona in the mid 2000s and later acquired the Italian citizenship.

June 2021