Popescu made her European concert debut as Anna in Berlioz' Les Troyens for Sir Colin Davis at the Barbican Centre in London (1994). Davis then engaged her to repeat the role at La Scala in Milan. Her debut there 6 Apr 1996 made her the fifth Canadian woman to sing at La Scala (after Emma Albani, Teresa Stratas, Edith Wiens and Maureen Forrester). Popescu's success there led to Canada Council career grants 1995-6 and 1996-7. She then chose to base her career in Europe, moving to Milan in 1999. Subsequent La Scala roles include Meg in Falstaff; Mère Jeanne in Dialogue des Carmélites; Suzuki in Madama Butterfly (three productions); Olga in Eugene Onegin; Rosette in Massenet's Manon; Madame Dangeville (Adriana Lecouvreur); Pieretto in Linda de Chamounix; and the Page in Salome.
In Europe, Annamaria Popescu has sung in Venice (La Fenice) and for Florentine Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Opéra de Toulon, and companies in Portugal, Spain, and elsewhere, as well as at the Aldeburgh, Czech Republic, and other festivals.
Performances in Canada
Popescu has returned often to perform in Canada, eg with Pacific Opera Victoria (Charlotte in Werther, 1998); Opera Hamilton; Opera Lyra Ottawa (Marcellina in La Nocce di Figaro, 1995); Opéra de Montréal (Annina in Der Rosenkavalier, 1991; La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, 1991; Olga in Eugene Onegin, 1992; Meg Page in Falstaff, 1994; Zerlina in Don Giovanni, 1995; La Cieca in La Gioconda, 1999; Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, 2007). She has sung in concerts with the Edmonton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto and Winnipeg symphony orchestras; the National Arts Centre Orchestra; the CBC Vancouver Orchestra; the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir; and often with the Orchestre Métropolitain under Agnes Grossmann. As well, she has sung with Les Grands Ballet Canadiens in Les Noces; the St Lawrence Choir (Messiah, 1996); and at Festival international de Lanaudière. In recital she is often accompanied by Michael McMahon.
Author Betty Nygaard King
Schafer, R. Murray. The Garden of the Heart. National Arts Centre Orchestra, Bernardi conductor. 1997. SMCD 5173 CBC Records
Rachmaninov. Complete Songs. Howard Shelley, piano; Joan Rodgers et al. 1996. CHAN 9405 Chandos
Eatock, Colin. "Mezzo-soprano Maria Popescu reflects on the road to La Scala," Opera Canada, Fall 1996
"Doubtful debut," Performing Arts and Entertainment in Canada, Fall 1996
Chan, Wah Keung. "De Montréal à Milan. Quick study: Annamaria Popescu," La Scena Musicale, Sept 2003