"Yes. There is a direct line going from Maria Callas to Sonya Yoncheva. One could already sense it three years ago in her "Traviata" in Berlin. There is the same vulnerability and attack, female warmth, and atrabilious pungency, attitude and humility. (…)
After Violetta, Tosca (in New York) and Imogene in "Pirata" (at La Scala) now the debut in another signature role of the great Greek soprano followed at Staatsoper Unter den Linden. … Yoncheva doesn’t imitate her, even though some phrases are similar. She possesses more fullness, more positivism, more love in her dark voice... . She knows the Callas reference very well, but she creates something of her own.
This is how, when she finally enters the scene, the mediocre early classical piece which was premiered in Paris in 1797 is seemingly becoming a master piece. It already shone in Florence and Milan in 1953 thanks to the personality and and magic of an artist such as Callas. Also, the ... staging becomes a character study of a woman, a stranger, a castoff wife, a mother mulcted of her designation, a human being fighting for her sense in life.”
Manuel Brug, Die Welt
"Yoncheva, a stage animal to her last molecule, still manages to bring an extraordinary range of colour and passion to the murderous role of Médée."
Shirley Apthorp, Financial Times
“... the crown is due to Sonya Yoncheva’s Medea.”
“Medea, terrifically performed by Sonya Yoncheva’s dark soprano voice which is over shining everything is- as common sense requests since Maria Callas’s days - no archaic monster, she becomes one because of the world of the men.”
“... Yoncheva’s outstanding presence.”
Eleonore Büning, Neue Zürcher Zeitung
“... an admirable performance. Her singing is so enchantingly beautiful and excessively present that all the other characters seem to be pale in comparison... .”
Julia Spinola, Süddeutsche
“Cherubini’s "Medea" had its acclaimed premiere at the Berlin Staatsoper. Star of the evening is Sonya Yoncheva.”
“Medea is on stage almost for the whole evening. Luigi Cherubini’s two and a half hour lasting opera is a wonderful show-off piece for Primadonnas, particularly when a star soprano like the Bulgarian Sonya Yoncheva is singing the role. The Staatsoper Unter den Linden uses this occasion, everything is built up around her Medea. Singers of this calibre are overwhelming in particular because of the effortlessness with which they can switch between the most different states of emotion. Yoncheva loves, betrays and seduces, is desperate, is furious in her arias and duets. One can’t get enough of her singing. She inevitably outsings everyone around her.“
Volker Blech, Berliner Morgenpost
"There are just a few operas which are so connected to their protagonist like this one. Yoncheva lives up to this very well - definitely on the footsteps of Maria Callas... ... one follows these vocal high-voltage currents with amazements and raised pulse."
Gerard Felber, F.A.Z.
"The musical event of this evening ... is the Bulgarian singer Sonya Yoncheva in the title role. When it comes to Medea one is always reminded of Maria Callas, who revived this part and who also played it in the movie by Pier Paolo Pasolini, but Yoncheva doesn't have to avoid any comparison. She acts and sings Medea moving the audience, gently and piercingly, suffering and diabolically in the same time."
Jürgen Liebing, Märkische Oderzeitung
“Star soprano Sonya Yoncheva triumphs in the title role"
"The Bulgarian Sonya Yoncheva throws herself into the role, lets her voice sparkle with passion and has the great tragedy in front of her eyes at every single movement.“
Roberto Becker, Concerti
“The Bulgarian Sonya Yoncheva didn’t let herself to be blocked by the “over Medea” of the last century Maria Callas, but got inspired to an intense all or nothing.”
Joachim Lange, Die Deutsche Bühne
“The Bulgarian star soprano with the dark timbre rocks the show, as fierce avenging angel dressed in violet she coos and whirs, bewitches and laments, wails and rages. She intrigues and loses so powerfully and soulfully, that she outsings everyone... .”
Maria Ossowski, RBB24
“The Staatsoper has got a great protagonist! ... Sonya Yoncheva, with one oft he biggest soprano voices of our days… .“
Kai Luehrs-Kaiser, RBB Kulturradio
"The Bulgarian soprano with the dark timbre is a perfect choice for this role."
Stefan Lang, Deutschlandfunk Kultur
"To describe Sonya Yoncheva's performance as "world class" is not enough - it is simply too good for this world"
If you leave the opera house after a performance and the whole world looks completely different than before you just know: something huge, yes even gigantic was created.
Who could believe that after Maria Callas, who sparked interest in this (unfortunately forgotten) great opera by Luigi Cherubini in the mid 20th century, one could experience someone on the same level 60 years later? But there is someone: from the first to the last note the Bulgarian star soprano Sonya Yoncheva gives something PHENOMENAL to the world. Her performance of the crazy character of Mede (Médée) is vocally and acting-wise unbelievable.
Yoncheva has a very personal timbre, dark, warm and round, solid top notes with perfect vibrato. The voice possesses an incredible intensity, expressiveness, empathy and sounds completely inexhaustible. Every single note and her phrasing is thought through to the smallest detail, and everything comes directly from her heart. How she portrays the motherly passion, love, glowing revenge musically and dramatically in such an authentic way is incredible. It is not possible to sing and play it in a better way: Sonya Yoncheva IS Medea."
Yehya Alazem, Klassik Begeistert
"... Sonya Yoncheva as Medea speaks a perfect French and articulates in an excellent way."
"... the Bulgarian soprano's singing and acting is great. She sings the long, extremely demanding role with all of its emotional polarities with powerful volume, abyssal middle voice, lyric moments, fierce attacks, heroic high notes and an explosive final scene."
Michaela Schabel, Klassik.com
“...a vocal cast led by an impressive Sonya Yoncheva.
Médée was sung by soprano Sonya Yoncheva, and her performance was praiseworthy in every possible way. Her voice has darkened noticeably in recent years, but she maintains all the attractiveness of her timbre, and sings and moves on stage with great assurance. Yoncheva was the centre of the audience’s attention from the moment she appeared on stage. Throughout the opera, she truly lived the part of this tragic character (...)”
José M. Izurzun, Seen and heard international
"Sonya Yoncheva is a proud, desperate and mighty Medea. Before her immense pain, her desparation and her fierce entrance all the other performers seem to be small and weak. (...)
Yoncheva met all the requirements of the role. With unsparing abandonment she grows with each act. In the third act her characterization is outstanding... . (...) Vocally and through her extreme portrayal this is a terrific performance of this immense role, which was rediscovered by Callas and had been personified with her for a long time."
Achim Dombrowski, Opera Online