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Press review opera gala with Jonas Kaufmann at Arena di Verona

Many beautiful reviews for the opera gala at the Arena di Verona, where on August 20, Sonya Yoncheva starred alongside Jonas Kaufmann and Ludovic Tézier. The German TV channel ZDF telecasts the evening on September 3 at 22:15h. But here are the press quotes about Sonya in the above-mentioned concert:

“In this Arena performance, he [Jonas Kaufmann] was accompanied by two star performers such as baritone Ludovic Tézier and soprano Sonya Yoncheva, both of whom were featured in this Verona season.”
“But triumph was also bestowed on the artists with whom he shared the stage. Sonya Yoncheva, between the duets in Otello and Andrea Chénier, and a charming Carmen in Habanera, gave ample proof that she is a voice in full possession of her vocal and interpretive qualities, and one almost sensed a greater responsibility on her part in handling the event by playing her position as a singing prima donna, never backing down. And she also demonstrated this committed participation in the second part with a repertoire that ranged from Lehàr to the Non ti scordar di me duet with Kaufmann to Bernstein’s arias from West Side Story and music by Morricone (The Mission) and Zimmer (Gladiator).”
Federica Fanizza, Sipario

“Yoncheva was spellbinding… .”
Eleonora Bagarotti, Libertà

“…two other names shining on the international scene today are singing: soprano Sonya Yoncheva and baritone Ludovic Tézier”
“with the duet “Già nella notte densa” that closes the first act of Verdi’s Otello. In this larger page, alongside a stunning Sonya Yoncheva…”
“Yoncheva is not to be outdone: a voice with a warm, meaty timbre, supported by excellent technique, she returns to the Arena audience in perfect form. Her Desdemona is distinguished by pliable vocal production, variety of phrasing, and interpretive maturity. A portrait emerges of a self-conscious woman, sensual at times, deeply in love with her husband. Hers is a singing of extreme elegance, never forced, capable of shying away from an easy effect to seek the right nuance, the persuasive accent.”
“And, concluding the first part of the concert, the opera’s sublime final duet, “Vicino a te s’acqueta”. … the interpretive pathos that Yoncheva managed to infuse into Maddalena’s lines, with a phrasing that was very controlled yet disruptive in its naturalness and ease of emission, with well-projected high notes… . ”
“Sonya Yoncheva – superb in the dreamy “Somewhere” from the same musical – gives us an excellent rendition of the Habanera from Bizet’s Carmen, charged with sensuality and stripped of any crude vulgarity, demonstrating how much care for musical intention and word can be achieved. It is a winking yet bursting Carmen, with allusive, caressing, and biting phrasing that wraps a timbre that takes on the softness and warmth of velvet.”
“This second part of the concert included a single duet, the two-voice performance of “Non ti scordar di me” by Ernesto de Curtis in which Kaufmann and Yoncheva were able to emphasize the close links between folk tradition and cultured music, avoiding the open-throated singing that, according to Del Monaco, was instead required by pages such as this and by popular song (but, by his own admission, not for that reason any easier).”
“Greeted by roaring applause from the audience, the performers responded with encore generosity, sparing no effort”
“This was followed by Sonya Yoncheva, who showed off extremely wide-ranged phrasing and dreamy mezze voci in ‘Oh mio babbino caro’ from Gianni Schicchi;”
“Although the program did not include symphonic pieces, the orchestra, conducted with a sure hand by Jochen Rieder, was able to make its mark by contributing decisively to the outcomes of a concert at the end of which the audience seemed unwilling to give up, giving applause and a standing ovation to the eponymous protagonist, and whose artistic achievements reached very high levels at times for all three soloists. A magnificent evening for the Arena’s 100 Years.”
Stefano Bisacchi, Connessi all’Opera

“If the anticipation was all for him it should be emphasized that his two companions played on equal footing, starting with Sonya Yoncheva who confirmed her remarkable vocal talents as much in the two scenes from Otello and Andrea Chénier as in a charming and sensual Habanera and in the encore O mio babbino caro.”
Gianpaolo Dal Dosso, GBOpera

“Jonas Kaufmann, respectively the organizers of this concert, made an excellent choice regarding the two other voices that shared the stage with the star tenor that evening: The Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva is undeniably world-class with her wonderfully radiant, outstandingly beautiful voice – on this evening as well as on her other performances in the Arena.”
Dr. Charles Ritterband, Klassik Begeistert

“Sonya Yoncheva shone both alone and in the duets finding a nice artistic feeling with the tenor, feeling the stage and the atmosphere of the moment very much. The soprano’s voice runs freely, it is large and richly homogeneous: the artist enjoys herself, is moved, and is 100 percent involved. With the never failing Habanera she charmed everyone with her movements.”
Maria Teresa Giovagnoli, MTG Lirica

“Alongside Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva, Kaufmann steps into the role of Otello with ease; “Già nella notte densa” is marked by a great understanding between two singers capable of perfectly impersonating the two Shakespeare-Boito-Verdi characters without needing scenes and costumes; they sport a beautiful legato and a wide range of colors,”
“Sonya Yoncheva in “O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi delights the ear with its soft sound and sweetness of chiaroscuro. “
Irina Sorokina, L’Ape Musicale

“Alongside him, his celebrated colleagues Sonya Yoncheva and Ludovic Tézier were on the same high level, and they were able to shine not only in duets/trios with him but also in their own solo pieces.
The Bulgarian soprano made her mark by portraying two antithetical female portraits in the duets with Kaufmann, the pure Desdemona and the passionate Maddalena di Coigny;”
Martino Pinali, Opera Click

“… the Bulgarian soprano and the French baritone display excellent vocal form…”
“The Habanera is sung with conviction and turns into a seductive number for conductor Jochen Rieder [read our review of May 23, 2015], who provides solid musical direction throughout. Highly eclectic, the soprano also tackles Bernstein’s West Side Story (Somewhere)”
Irma Foletti, Anaclase

“Alongside him, Sonya Yoncheva, already engaged in duets with Kaufmann (Otello, Andrea Chenier and “Non ti scordar di me”) as well as in “Habanera” from Carmen and “Somewhere” from L.Bernstein’s West Side Story, displayed a vocality undoubtedly interesting for its color (…) Very generous with the audience she then offered as an encore the always beloved by the audience “O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi by G. Puccini.”
Silvia Campana, I Teatri dell’Est

“Sonya Yoncheva’s mellow, even and excellently projected voice outclassed in brilliance the rhinestone-studded gown she wore. Her Desdemona was palpitating and self-conscious, while her Maddalena seemed to magnificently carry on her shoulders the burden of the history that marked her existence. Again, Yoncheva delineated extremely different types of love: subtly seductive Carmen and romantic dreamer Maria, confirming the prominent place the Bulgarian soprano holds on the international stage.”
“”O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi performed by Yoncheva with soft sweetness and freshness; ”
Maria Luisa Abate, DeArtes

[Photo: Ennevi / Arena di Verona]