Yoncheva a blazing Violetta in Met’s highly charged “Traviata”

"In the current run of Verdi’s classic tragedy at the Met, Sonya Yoncheva has no trouble filling that space. Her interpretation of the meteoric heroine has earned every ounce of the praise that has been heaped on it.

From the beginning, her Violetta is a ferocious force, driven by the knowledge of her impending death to live as fast a life as she can, even if it only hastens her demise. The sudden entrance of Alfredo into her life grounds her momentarily, just as their separation puts her back on her downward spiral. In following the turbulent arc of Violetta, Yoncheva brings a vivid, breathing character to the stage—few are the sopranos who can bring a listener to tears simply by reading a letter aloud.

Few, too, are the sopranos who command so powerfully rich a voice and can tie a vocal interpretation so closely together with a dramatic one. In Wednesday night’s performance there was an electric thrill in her sound, making her spirited “Sempre libera” feel like a manifesto. She lost nothing when turning down her intensity, giving a breathtaking account of “Addio, bel passato,” her melancholy resignation heartbreaking. La Traviata is often cited as an opera that pushes the boundaries of suspended disbelief, teased for having a young woman sing fortissimo as she succumbs to tuberculosis. In Yoncheva’s riveting final moments, one heard a woman fighting fiercely to stay alive, only to collapse at last, exhausted, as though she’d sung herself to death."

Eric C. Simpson - New York Classical Review

"Yoncheva combines a genuine glamour voice—a sound both beautiful and hauntingly complex—with a rare honestly of expression. Her singing is refreshingly frank and open, with the virtuousity the bravura role of Violetta requires always kept in the background. Only in retrospect do you stop to recall the smoothness of her scales, the brilliance of her high notes, or the dynamic variety she brought to lyrical passages."

James Jorden - Observer

"Sonya Yoncheva was absolutely superb in the demanding role of Violetta ... when the revellers entered she was immediately transformed into the ultimate party girl cavorting in front of her male admirers and drinking champagne. The dizzying coloratura and runs of the first Act were dispatched with virtuoso aplomb. Sempre libera bubbled along with infectious joy while her handling of the coquettish ornaments in Un di felice, eterea was glorious. In her Act 2 encounters with Thomas Hampson’s Germont she was transformed into a much more serious and principled figure. Yoncheva produced a rich and varied palette of vocal colours and the singing was subtly nuanced and lines sustained beautifully. When required she was able to produce considerable dramatic power, as in Amami Alfredo which was full of searing passion. Addio, del passato was heartbreaking and Yoncheva’s haunting rendition of the mournful opening melody and wonderful colour changes moved me. Her final moments on stage as she tried to cling on to life and her last desperate attempt to rekindle the joys of the past were very moving."

Robert Beattie - MusicWeb International