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Sonya Yoncheva

Text in englischer Sprache verfügbar
Soprano Sonya Yoncheva rocketed to prominence in the mid-2010s with a series of appearances at top houses. Her background is unusual in that it was closely associated with Baroque music. As her career has developed, it has included that repertory but has also encompassed traditional 19th century works. Yoncheva was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second city, on December 25, 1981. She began intensive music studies at age six and never looked back, studying piano and voice at Bulgaria's National School for Music and Dance. Another unusual feature of her career was a stint as a television music show host as a teenager. Far from distracting her from her goals, the experience, Yoncheva has said, helped her overcome her shyness and combat stage fright. Yoncheva won several singing competitions in Bulgaria, including one in which she performed with her brother, a rock singer. She came to the attention of Western musicians after enrolling at the Geneva Conservatory, where her teacher was Danielle Borst. She earned a Master's degree there in 2009, and by that time, her operatic career was already well underway: she had caught the attention of the Baroque opera conductor William Christie and joined his Jardin des Voix training program in 2007. With Christie, she has appeared in touring productions of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and, more unusually, Rameau's Les Indes galantes. Yoncheva has also worked with conductor Emmanuelle Haïm in productions of Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea (recorded for DVD release), among other operas. Signed to Sony Classical in 2013, Yoncheva became a first-string replacement artist for ailing sopranos at major houses. She made a splash at the Metropolitan Opera in 2013 as a last-minute substitute in Verdi's Rigoletto, earning raves from New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini. Her Met debut as Mimi in La bohème followed the next year, just five weeks after the birth of a son, Mateo, to Yoncheva and conductor Domingo Hindoyan. Yoncheva released her debut album, Paris, Mon Amour, in 2014. Another substitute slot, for a touring production of Gounod's Faust, in which Yoncheva replaced Anna Netrebko, brought her to the attention of new European audiences, and in 2015, she won the ECHO Klassik Award as Best Newcomer. The year 2016 brought fresh triumphs: Yoncheva appeared as Bellini's Norma at the Royal Opera House in London, and she released a collection of arias by Handel and Purcell, playing to her Baroque strong suit. Yoncheva made her debut in 2017 at La Scala in Milan as Mimi in Puccini's La bohème, and she continued a string of critically well-received appearances at top houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, where during the 2017-2018 season, she appeared in three of the house's nationally distributed movie theater broadcasts. Yoncheva remained active during the 2020-2021 coronavirus pandemic, performing the soprano part in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, at Victoria Hall in Geneva and participating in a concert at the Staatsoper unter den Linden in Berlin that was sponsored by watchmaker Rolex and raised funds for musicians hurt by cancellations. Yoncheva's recording career continued on Sony Classical with The Verdi Album in 2018 and Rebirth, a collection of early music that also included an ABBA song in 2021.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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