Sapphire Gets a Diamond cut for Gala Concert

"Williams in virginal white was mesmerizing to perfection in the tragic and technically challenging bel canto aria " Casta Diva" from "Norma" and delightful in " Quando men vo" (Musetta's Waltz)from the second scene of Puccini's "la Boheme"......

The San Juan Star by Peggy Ann Bliss

Verdi's Traviata wins new audience

Puerto Rican soprano Yali-Marie Williams (Violetta) was superb, possessing a refined, pure voice. She crafts each note, and finishes them with a flourish. Unlike Williams, who sang to the audience, beseeching them with her troubles or relating to them her passion,......... Williams was the clear star of the show, her voice full of subtle power, supremely accurate and impressively versatile. From the touching Addio! Del passato, in which she floated effortlessly to the highest notes, to the heart-rending duet, Dite all giovane, with Alfredo's father Germont (Theodore Baerg), where, kneeling on the ground, she agrees to give up Alfredo, her sensitive interpretation touched us all. She nearly blew us away in Sempre libera degg' io, singing of her need for freedom. She has a natural delivery, powering through the most commanding parts gracefully, without going over the top. A terrific actress as well, the talented Williams is a remarkably complete package.

By Gwenda Nemerofsky

Symphony presents emotionally intricate performance of La Traviata

......... soprano Yali-Marie Williams was solid by the aria Ah, Fors’e Lui in the first act, and portrayed Violetta Valery with a delicate balance of vocal confidence, gaiety and sorrow. Williams had no trouble conjuring both the emotional and vocal range required to bring the tragic role of Violetta to life,and was convincing in her portrayal of Violetta’s struggle with tuberculosis that led to her eventual and untimely death.

By ANGELA BUSSONE , The Times-Union

Luisa Fernanda

Making her Los Angeles Opera début at this première performance was Yali Marie Williiams who substituted for the indisposed Maria José Montiel. Williams' Luisa was a honey-voiced village girl who came close to matching super star Placido Domingo in romantic fervor and vocal power.

Copyright © 22 July 2007 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

Our beloved revolutionary sweetheart

On top of this, the production stars Placido Domingo as Vidal Hernando, and it must be said that hearing the master sing and sing so well at this point in his career is more than enough reason to catch one of the two remaining performances on Thursday and Saturday. But there are other reasons, too - like Yali-Marie Williams for instance. Making her LA Opera debut she has been filling in for an ill Maria Jose Montiel throughout virtually all of this run. She is a former Operalia winner, she sounds marvelous here and holds her own both against Domingo as well as Antonia Gandia as Javier.

posted by Brian @ 6/12/2007 11:53:00 PM

Luisa Fernanda

On opening night the indisposed Maria José Montiel is replaced by Puerto Rican-born Yali-Marie Williams in the title role. Making her LA Opera debut, Williams’ rendition of a love torn woman is a perfect fit with the nonpareil Plácido Domingo both of whom sing their roles with the utmost believability and passion.

Christie Grimstad

La Traviata (Opera de Montreal)

Verdi's Traviata becomes a one-woman show,Heroine outshines her suitor.

Opera de Montreal's modernized version Puerto Rican soprano Yali-Marie Williams plays Violetta.

The brunt of the production's musical success is shouldered by the relatively unknown Puerto Rican soprano Yali-Marie Williams,who concives a Violetta of authentic integrity and pathos. This is an infamously touchy role;Verdi's heroine must in turn play ditzy diva,ardent lover,and ultimatly sefless quasi-saint,all whilst being convincingly consumed with tuberculosis.

Williams is clearly capable of the demands. Her violetta displays a subtle disconfort in act of coquettish courtesan hostess,managing skillfully hesitant coloraturain Act I's Sempre Libera.She is a model of emotional turmoil in Act II,allowing sobs and coughs to intersperse lyrical vocal fragments as she is convinced by Alfredo's father to sacrifice her love to avoid social stigma,and her final act,grappling with her unjust misfurtunes whilst clinging to the final hours of life, is a masterful balance of despair and a new found pious strength.

Next to Williams's powerful and emotive voice,.....

Thisproduction is essentially,however,a one-women show- strangely apt for an opera that is essentially a one -woman tribute.With this performance,Williams proves herself a fine Verdian soprano

The Gazette (Montreal)

La Traviata (Opera de Montreal)

...The opening party at Violetta's goes very well and Williams's singing soars throught the hall with power ,grace and intelligence.

Alan Conter -The Globe

Madama Butterfly (Opera de Puerto Rico)

Madama Butterfly impone nuevo estandar de calidad para la opera de Puerto Rico
-Al frente del elenco de primera categoria -la maravillosa butterfly de Yali-Marie Williams

La interpretacion que realizo nuestra joven soprano dio al personaje todos los matices vocales y dramaticos imaginables.Brillo tanto por la belleza de su canto como por la intesidad de su actuacion. Yali-Marie fue creciendo durante la noche:ataco la dificil Aria de entrada con una voz delicada,de acariciadores pianisimos,convencio en la esperada aria "un bel di" y recurrio a una voz obscura y poderosa que para caracterizar la mujer desenganada y decidida al suicidio. Un momento particularmente bellose produjo en el segundo acto, cuando su voz radiante expreso el extasis al confirmar el retorno de su amado Pinkerton.

Esta produccion de Madama Butterfly esta entre los mejores espectaculos teatrales-no solo de opera- que se han presentado en Puerto Rico en un buen tiempo. Con esta Butterfly Opera de Puerto Rico ha alcanzado presentar una produccion que realmente esta a la altura superior a a mucho de lo que se ve alrededor del mundo.
Al final del primer acto,canta absorta Butterfly:"Dolce Notte,quante Stelle". Y asi fue el pasado fin de semana en Bellas Artes:Dulces noches,llenas de estrellas. Y ninguna mas brillante que la fulgurante soprano cuya voz entonaba la melodia.Que siga cresiendo la trayectoria estelar de Yali-Marie Williams. Y que su orbita la siga trayendo a Puerto Rico.

Antonio Salgado-Periodico Claridad

Madame Butterfly (Birmingham Opera)

Was Madama Butterfly a coy flower who unquestioningly follow her American husband's wishes? An obsessed geisha who flew off the handle at the mere thought of abandonment? A madwoman in the mold of Donizetti's Lucia?
If you subscribe to Yali-Marie Williams' very believable portrayal of Butterfly,in Opera Birmingham's "Madame Butterfly", she is all the above.
At 29,Williams is a star in the making, a powerful soprano who can vibrate the rafters one minute and retreat to a dulcet sotto voce the next.She entertained with sweet delight in her Act one duet with Pinkerton(tenor Jorge Pita)and the longing aria "Un bel Di".She was terryfying in Act 2 when she learn her husband might not return("Ora a noi")and brought tears in Act 3 suicide scene.
The Puerto Rican singer was a replacement for Birmingham soprano susan Patterson,making her engagement performance all the more remarkable.It was the high point of a well-cast production that yielded outstanding work from the supporting roles as well.
Michael Huebner

The Birmingham News

Verdi's Requiem (New Mexico Synphony)

Puerto Rican Yali-Marie Williams sounds for all the world like a true Verdi Soprano with ringing top Notes. One could hear her as,say, Leonora in Il Trovatore. Her signal outburst in the final Libera Me(Deliver Me)especially,capped a shining performance all around.

Albuquerque Journal

La Traviata (Opera Festival of New Jersey)

"... was the discovery of a 25-year old soprano performing for the first time as the ill-fated heroine, Violetta. Mark the name Yali-Marie Williams and make sure to hear her here. She is just two years out of Philadelphia's great conservatory, the Curtis Institute of Music, where festival artistic David Agler instructed her. She is blessed with a truly magnificent voice and an intense dramatic persona."
Albert H. Cohen, Home News Tribune

"Puerto-Rican born soprano Yali-Marie Williams is the riveting center of this production. Her dramatic intensity as Violetta coupled with a willingness to march right to the gray edge of... Williams dominated each scene with a steely yet malleable soprano sound, technically fluid in coloratura work with exactly placed high notes yet flexible enough to offer softer, more introverted moments in the mid to low range."
Willa J. Conrad, The Star-Ledger

"Williams was fine as Violetta. Her strong voice captured all of the drama of the role... Her death scene is Act 4 was beautifully done, evoking pity for this character who is cheated by death at the moment she appears to be on the verge of happiness."
Donald P. Delany, The Times

"Depicted with superb acting and singing, the three leading characters appeared as plausible, three-dimensional individuals. Violetta (Soprano Yali-Marie Williams, making her OFNJ debut) is, at first, a vivacious and alluring young woman. She becomes a devoted lover and, afterwards, a distraught person of integrity before succumbing to tuberculosis in the final scene. Williams' stellar emotional range runs from introspection to passion. Since Violetta is rarely absent from the stage, the role requires enormous stamina. Williams has the necessary power."
Elaine Strauss

"It is the singing, however, that has brought the opera its popularity. Yali-Marie Williams throws herself into the role of Violetta with passion. The character has been changed to match the time period. No longer merely courtesan, this Violetta is a famous star of the nightclub circuit in the era of the flowering of the Folies-Bergeres. Think Josephine Baker and you will be close. Ms. Williams, just 25, has a lovely, mature voice and shows much promise for the future. She has just sung her first Musetta and her first Desdemona in her native Puerto Rico. Ahead lies Anna in Street Scene and a second Desdemona."
Stuart Duncan

"Though much has been said here about the production, the opera's success arguably hinges on the performance of its Violetta, Yali-Marie Williams. Ms. Williams generates and manifests the spirit of this production. Her performance ventures out to several edges, both in voice and dramatic execution. Vocally, she is a natural Violetta, masterfully handling the coloratura first-act aria, easily matching Verdi's heavy orchestrations (though pared down in this production) and beautifully shaping the lyricism of the part. In addition to this palette of vocal ability, she displays potent dramatic sensibilities. "Sempre libra" was sung with desperation: she conveys that Alfredo's advances were not merely inviting, but also posed a threat to her. His advances forced her to realize that despite her efforts to convince herself of the pleasures of her current life, in reality, there was little pleasure in it; the effect of the tenor's serenade could be witnessed in her violent response."
Joseph Orchard, Classical NJ Society Journal

"Yali-Marie Williams made a brave and often successful attempt Saturday night. Her soprano voice opens up with thrilling impact in the big dramatic outbursts... Williams acts with engaging enthusiasm... her gestures are heartfelt... Williams gives a strong portrayal that will no doubt gain assurance and nuance as she performs the role."
Robert Baxter, Courier Post Online

"La Traviata cannot succeed without a solid Violetta, and although one hopes that Opera Festival has not strutted their best stuff in the first production, soprano Yali-Marie Williams may be the find of the season. Because of the demands of the role all Violettas are in danger of being "too healthy to be dying of consumption," but what Ms. Williams did with this role far outweighed any potential credibility issues. Ms. Williams carried this role solidly until the very end, with physical mannerisms and deathly coughing many singers would not dare attempt. This was no frail Violetta in the first act; when illness overtook her, it felled her like a tree. Her phase echoes, especially in the first act, kept the musical dialogue in its intended meditative mood, and her coloratuna singing was nothing short of spectacular."
Nancy Plum, Town Topics

La Traviata (Connecticut Grand Opera):

"I found in Yali-Marie Williams a very touching Violetta, both vocally and dramatically. Hers is a voice both sweet and penetrating, without a hint of harshness anywhere in her range. Psychologically (and physically: after all, she is dying of consumption!), Violetta must be vulnerable and fragile, though struggling to be strong and to accept that a love has been denied her. The complexity of her emotions must come through, especially in the long duet with Germont in Act 2; here, Williams was effective throughout. Her final scene convincingly reflected the devastating weakness of the disease and the faux feeling of recovery before death. It was a find performance all around, indicating a lot of promise for this young singer."

Jerome R. Sehulster, Stamford Advocate

La Boheme(OTSL)

"locked in a roller-coaster affair with Musetta – she of the Relaxed Virtue – a role sung with great flair by soprano Yali-Marie Williams. Lynch and Williams manage to make both the comic and melancholy aspects of the Marcello – Musetta affair work, which is a strong testimony to both their musical and dramatic skills."

Chuck Lavazzi, KDHX Theater Review

Otello (Tampa Bay Opera)

"A highlight was Desdemona”s touching “Ave Maria” introduced by a ranked of solo cellos under the baton of Anton Coppola.Yali-Marie Williams’ opulent soprano voice poignantly expressed the last gasp of a woman facing her death."
Kurt Loft, Tampa Tribune

"Yali-Marie Williams was an angelic Desdemona, innocent and sincere, and her light soprano held up well through a long night of singing. She wrung every last drop of poignancy from Desdemona's death-haunted Willow Song, delicately supported by the orchestra under Anton Coppola."
John Fleming, Times Performing Arts Critic, © St. Petersburg Times

Faust (Chautauqua Opera)

"In the role of Marguerite,soprano Yali-Marie Williams provided a surprised for those who assumed by her early singing that she possessed mor eof a mezzo than soprano range. She certainly has at her disposal a secure lower voice,but she also sports a thrilling higher range, which she employed with pinpoint accuracy both in ragards to intonation and coloratura.
She was also capable of an incredible broad range of voice coloration,ranging from pure lyric tones to a fairly credible impersonation of the sonority of the lead tenor in Act's Three prison scene....Williams succeded in conveying the various moods written for Marguerite.
Chuck Klaus

The Chautauqua Daily

Tales of Hoffmann (Tulsa Opera)

"Williams as the doomed Antonia brought a wonderful poignancy and depht to the character,especially in the way would swell in resonance and power during the aria"Elle a fui la tourterelle",only to choke off as Antonia pushed herself too closed to disaster."
James D. Watts Jr.

Tulsa World

Cosi fan Tutte(Hawaii Opera Theater)

"....while soprano Yali-Marie Williams(Fiordiligi)sounds more like a young merlot,her voice is clearly still growing and her arias tour de force of Dynamics and range."
Ruth O. Bingham

The Honolulu Adviser

Thea's Musgrave The Louisiana Purchase:Pontalba Legacy

The Cast was strong throughout without relaying on international names.Yali-Marie Williams sang the baroness with energy and security.
Bernard Holland

The New York Times

The Louisiana Purchuse:A pontalba Legacy

The World Premier of Pontalba had much to recommend it. The singing was beatiful and effective throughout.Yali-Marie Williams brought the thoughness and tenderness to the Baroness:she seems poised on the brink of a major career.
Bryan Sands

New Orleans,Louisiana

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