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Biography

SUPERSTAR SOPRANO SONYA YONCHEVA HAS BEEN HERALDED AS ONE OF THE MOST ACCLAIMED AND EXCITING PERFORMERS OF HER GENERATION.

She has become an acclaimed fixture on the most important stages of the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Teatro alla Scala, Bayerische Staatsoper, Berlin State Opera, Wiener Staatsoper, and the Opéra de Paris. Her unforgettable portrayals of iconic roles have received tremendous acclaim from critics and audiences alike.

Sonya Yoncheva’s extensive repertoire includes jewels of the Baroque canon, as well as works by Mozart, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, and Puccini. Celebrated for her distinctly beautiful voice and exceptional dramatic presence, Sonya is equally at home on the concert and recital stage, having performed to critical acclaim in several cities including Paris, Dresden, Baden-Baden, and Munich.

Current Season

Sonya kicks off her 2020/2021 season at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin, hosting a Rolex Perpetual Music Concert in support of musicians during the challenging period of COVID-19. Following this, the superstar soprano opens the concert season of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and of the Würth Philharmoniker. In the role of the Roman Diva Tosca, Sonya sings her first staged opera performances since the beginning of the current crisis in three performances at the Bayerische Staatsoper of Munich, followed by a recital in Berlin within the Met Stars Live in Concert series, streamed worldwide by the Metropolitan Opera. Sonya concludes the year with the first of several exciting new roles, making her much awaited Wagnerian debut as Elsa in a new production of Lohengrin at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden. In 2021, she sings her first Manon Lescaut (Puccini) at the Bayerische Staatsoper and returns to the title role of Tosca at the Wiener Staatsoper. She subsequently stars in a recital featuring her programme Ad una Stella at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, in a Zarzuela Concert at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid and in a Renaissance concert at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées of Paris. In summer 2021, Sonya returns to the Arena di Verona, making her title role debut in concert performances of Aida conducted by Riccardo Muti to celebrate the 150 years since the world premiere of Verdi’s masterwork. She also brings her Violetta in La traviata to the Arena di Verona, stars in the Verismo rarity Siberia by Giordano in a new staging at the Maggio Musicale in Florence and appears in concert and recital at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden and the Munich Opera Festival. She was also supposed to make her role debuts as Rusalka and Leonora in Il trovatore at the Metropolitan Opera, but the company had to cancel its entire 2020/2021 season due to the current pandemic. Sonya will return to New York in the 2021/2022 season in a recital and as Élisabeth de Valois in a new production Verdi’s Don Carlos in French.

Highlights of past seasons

Engagements of the 2019/2020 season included star turns as Imogene in Il pirata at the Teatro Real of Madrid, as Mimì in La bohème at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and in the title role of Médée at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin. Sonya also appeared in concert at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, the Moscow Tchaikovsky Hall and the Sofia Philharmonic Hall. Her role debuts as Manon Lescaut at the Metropolitan Opera and as Fedora at the Teatro alla Scala and Festival Radio France; Tosca at the Wiener Staatsoper and Bayerische Staatsoper, La traviata at the Arena di Verona as well as recitals at the Palau de la Música in Barcelona and the Verbier Festival were cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Following the global lockdown, Sonya returned on stage in summer 2020 for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at the Victoria Hall in Geneva, telecast by Arte, and the prestigious Concert de Paris at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, shown on television all over the world. She subsequently starred in the title role of La traviata in an open-air concert performance at the Cavea del Teatro del Maggio of Florence, in a Puccini Gala in the composer’s hometown Lucca and in a gala concert at the Reggia di Caserta. She also presented her new solo concert program Renaissance at the Salzburg Festival, returned to her home town of Plovdiv for a gala concert titled Coming Back and to the Arena di Verona in a gala concert dedicated to love.

Ms Yoncheva’s starry 2018/2019 engagements have led her to the Staatsoper Unter den Linden for her title role debut in a new production of Cherubini’s Médée, followed by her return to the Metropolitan Opera for performances as Desdemona in Otello and in the title part of Iolanta. Sonya returned to the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden as Desdemona in a new production of Otello, a role that she also performed in concert performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the Philharmonic Hall of Berlin. She also reprised her acclaimed portrayal of Tosca at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden. Performances on the concert platform included Rossini’s Stabat Mater at the Philharmonie of Paris, gala concerts at the Teatro alla Scala, the Opéra de Paris, the Wiener Staatsoper and the Grafenegg Festival, recitals at the Monte-Carlo Opéra, Teatro Real of Madrid, Rosey Concert Hall and Teatro del Lago Frutillar (Chile) as well as solo concerts at the Berliner Philharmonie, The Broad Stage of Santa Monica, Hungarian State Opera in Budapest, Liège Opera House, Teatro del Bicentenario in Guanajuato (Mexico) and Mexico City.

Sonya Yoncheva began the 2017/18 season in Paris, where she made her debut as Élisabeth de Valois in a new production of Verdi’s Don Carlos, followed by performances in one of her signature roles, Mimì, in a new staging of Puccini’s La bohème, all for the Opéra de Paris. She then travelled to New York’s Metropolitan Opera, where she made her highly praised debut in the title role of a new production of Puccini’s Tosca, and reprised her portrayal of Mimì in La bohème. Additionally, Ms Yoncheva debuted in the title role of Verdi’s Luisa Miller in the first Met performances of the opera in more than ten years. Following this string of engagements, Sonya Yoncheva made her role debut as Imogene in a new production of Il pirata at the Teatro alla Scala and starred as Poppea in a new staging of L’incoronazione di Poppea at the Salzburg Festival. Sonya sang in concert at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées Paris, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Grand Théâtre de Genève and Konzerthaus Dortmund on an all-Verdi programme, in addition to being the soloist at the Bayerische Staatsoper’s annual outdoor summer Festival Concert “Opera for All”. She was named the 2017 medici.tv Artist of the Year, and was featured on a series of live online and archived broadcasts in celebration of this recognition.

Other past performance highlights include her title role debut in a new production of Norma, Antonia in Les contes d’Hoffmann and Micaëla in Carmen at the Royal Opera House, several Metropolitan Opera appearances, featuring her debut as Gilda in Rigoletto and star turns as Mimì in La bohème, Violetta in La traviata, Desdemona in the 2015/16 opening production of Otello and in the Met’s Gala Concert celebrating its 50th Anniversary at Lincoln Center; the title roles of Iolanta, La traviata and Lucia di Lammermoor at Opéra de Paris, Mimì at the Teatro alla Scala; Violetta at the Staatsoper Berlin, the Palau de les Arts Valencia, Monte Carlo, and the Bayerische Staatsoper; Tatyana in Eugene Onegin at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Marguerite in Faust at the Wiener Staatsoper, the Royal Opera House, and the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. She was also a featured artist at the annual Adventskonzert in Dresden, broadcast on ZDF in Europe.

Sonya Yoncheva is an alumna of William Christie’s Le Jardin des Voix and has maintained a special focus the Early and Baroque repertory. Past engagements have featured her in several iconic roles, including Phani/Zima (Les Indes galantes) and Dido (Dido and Aeneas) on tour with William Christie in Europe, Russia and the US; La Fortuna (L’incoronazione di Poppea) at the Glyndebourne Festival; Giunone (Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria) at the Teatro Real; Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare) in Versailles; and Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Poppea (Agrippina) in Lille and Dijon with conductor Emmanuelle Haim.

Education and Accolades

Born in 1981, soprano Sonya Yoncheva graduated with performance degrees in piano and voice in her hometown of Plovdiv, Bulgaria under the tutelage of Nelly Koitcheva. Sonya later obtained her master’s degree in voice at the Conservatory of Geneva, studying with Danielle Borst. Ms. Yoncheva is also the winner of several renowned international competitions, including top prize and the special CultureArte prize at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition (2010). She was honored as the Newcomer of the Year (Singer) at the 2015 ECHO Klassik Awards and received the Special Prize of the Les Amis du Festival for her performance of Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, at the Academy of Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (2007). Sonya is the winner of the 2019 Readers’ Award of The International Opera Awards.

Sonya Yoncheva is also a first prizewinner of numerous competitions in her home country of Bulgaria: “Competition for Bulgarian Classical Music” in 2000 and “Competition for German and Austrian Classical Music” in 2001. Sonya and her brother Marin Yonchev were lauded as the Singers of the Year in the 2000 edition of the competition “Hit-1,” produced by Bulgarian National Television. Ms. Yoncheva has collaborated with acclaimed popular artists including Sting and Elvis Costello, and she retains a keen interest in film music, which includes her past collaborations with famed composer Vladimir Cosma.

Sonya records exclusively for Sony Classical, and is featured on a new solo album titled The Verdi Album, released in February 2018, on her solo album Handel released in 2017, in addition to her debut solo album Paris, mon amour, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and several recordings on DVD/Blu-Ray. Her discography also includes CD recordings of Le nozze di Figaro (Contessa) for Deutsche Gramophone and Handel’s Messiah with the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Ms. Yoncheva is also a global ambassador for Rolex.