Biography: Sonya Yoncheva

Sonya 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. Of her performances in La traviata at the Staatsoper Berlin, Die Welt proclaimed: "She is the finest Violetta since Maria Callas.

The Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva is possibly the best Traviata in the world at present.” This season Sonya Yoncheva will set a record at the Metropolitan Opera: she will be the first singer to appear in leading roles in three movie-theater broadcasts. On January 27, 2018 Sonya will present her "memorable Tosca" (Huffington Post) in David McVicar's new staging to the large international HD audience.

Reviews for Sonya Yoncheva's role debut as Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera are enthusiastic. Anthony Tommasini from the New York Times describes her Tosca as "refined, thoughtful" with a "richly textured and shimmering" sound. Her luxurious dark voice balanced lyric warmth with a hint of dramatic steel at the very top of range, and she fearlessly plunged into blood-curdling chest tones in moments of peak frenzy." And the New York Classical Review headlines "Yoncheva triumphs in premiere of Met's new and dazzling Tosca , praising her performance as "nothing short of brilliant. Her glowing soprano was at its very best in Sunday night's premiere, focused, colorful, rising to moments of intensity without ever forcing at her top.

Next month, on February 24, La bohème in Franco Zeffirelli's legendary staging will be broadcast with the star soprano reprising her acclaimed portrayal of Mimì. And on April 14 the MET will screen Luisa Miller starring Sonya in her title role debut. Sonya Yoncheva debuts in the title role of Verdi's Luisa Miller in the first Met performances of the opera in more than ten years.

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. Sonya 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 has also been awarded several scholarships provided by several Swiss Foundations including “Mosetti” and “Hablitzel.” 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 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 Prague.

During the 2016/17 season, Ms. Yoncheva debuted in the title role of Bellini’s Norma and sang Antonia in Les contes d'Hoffmann at Royal Opera House, Tatiana in Eugene Onegin at Deutsche Oper Berlin, and was Mimì at the Teatro alla Scala. Ms. Yoncheva also returned to The Metropolitan Opera as Violetta in La traviata, and was a featured artist at the Met’s Gala Concert celebrating its 50th Anniversary at Lincoln Center. Sonya sang a full Verdi Gala concert in her home country of Bulgaria, a recital for the Turku Music Festival, and embarked on a concert tour featuring Baroque repertoire with Academia Montis Regalis which was highlighted on a Sony Classical album release.

In addition to her star turn as Violetta, Ms. Yoncheva’s 2015/16 season included celebrated performances as Desdemona in The Metropolitan Opera’s season opening production of Otello; Micaëla (Carmen) at the Royal Opera House; Mimì (La bohème) at the Staatsoper Berlin; and the title role in Iolanta at Opéra de Paris. She was also a featured artist at the annual Adventskonzert in Dresden, broadcast on ZDF in Europe.

Other past performance highlights include several Metropolitan Opera appearances, featuring her debut as Gilda in Rigoletto and star turns as Mimì in La bohème, Violetta in La traviata, and Desdemona in Otello; Violetta at the Staatsoper Berlin, the Palau de les Arts Valencia, Monte Carlo, and the Bayerische Staatsoper; Marguerite in Faust at the Vienna Staatsoper, the Royal Opera House, and the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden; Léïla in Les pêcheurs de perles for the Opéra Comique Paris; and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor for Opéra de Paris.

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 Reims and Versailles; and Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Poppea (Agrippina) in Lille and Dijon with conductor Emmanuelle Haim.