Record news: Sony plucks the Met’s Gilda

Record news: Sony plucks the Met’s Gilda


norman lebrecht

November 14, 2013

Sony has pulled a soprano from this month’s Rigoletto and announced her exclusivity. Business as usual. Or maybe they thought her name already had Sony branding. (Small question: Why has publicity gone monochrome this season?) Press release below.

sonya yoncheva

Sony Classical is delighted to announce an exclusive long-term agreement with Sonya Yoncheva, the young Bulgarian soprano who has recently won enthusiastic acclaim for a triumphant performance of the title role in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in Paris. The New York Times wrote of Sonya’s performance that “… her high notes are so easily produced that they can be colored and shaped for nuance at the singer’s will, thereby making crucial moments … truly memorable.” To her impressive voice she adds a remarkable stage presence which moved the critic of Le Monde to predict that “She was a star, she’ll be a diva”.

New York audiences will have an opportunity to experience Sonya Yoncheva on stage in late November 2013, when she plays Gilda in Rigoletto at the MET.

Born in 1981, Sonya Yoncheva graduated in piano and voice in her home town of Plovdiv in Bulgaria. She obtained her master’s diploma in classical singing at the Conservatory of Geneva in the professional class of Danielle Borst. She has won numerous awards, most prominently the first prize in the 2010 edition of the world’s most important singing competition, Operalia, conducted and organised by Plácido Domingo at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. “The biggest dream of opera singers today”, in Sonya Yoncheva’s own words.

Her first album on Sony Classical, to be released in fall 2014, will focus on repertoire from 19th century Paris as an homage to the ‘Belle Époque’ era, and to the city where her career began and where she has already celebrated big success. A decisive step in her early progress was the selection by William Christie for his academy for young singers, Jardin de la Voix. She made her successful debut in 2012 at the famous Salle Pleyel in Offenbach’s Contes d’Hoffmann with Les Musiciens du Louvre under the baton of Marc Minkowski. In 2013 she took part in the Concert de France in front of the Eiffel Tower in the company of such illustrious classical performers as Lang Lang, Vittorio Grigòlo, Philippe Jaroussky and the Orchestre National de Radio France under Daniele Gatti.

Participation in the Jardin des Voix academy in 2007 paved the way for appearances at venues such as Glyndebourne, the Théâtre du Châtelet, and at The Proms in London. She was later engaged to sing in productions and concerts in the Teatro Real Madrid, the National Opera of Prague, the Tonhalle Zurich, Cité de la Musique Paris, the Lincoln Center New York, London’s Barbican Center, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels and the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow, to name only a selection. Sonya Yoncheva has collaborated with many artists from the world of the opera, and also cross genres: with names from the rock and pop world such as Sting and Elvis Costello, as well as with outstanding classical musicians like Plácido Domingo and Jonas Kaufmann.

Sonya Yoncheva said: “Recorded music was always especially important for me. In the cold and poor Bulgaria of my childhood, recordings, be they from Queen or Pink Floyd or Maria Callas, were my most important window to the world, to all the dreams. I feel so honored to now join Sony Classical, the strongest and most faithful family for musicians. It’s the beginning of an exciting adventure, which I know will be full of beautiful and true music.”

Bogdan Roscic, President of Sony Classical, said: “Sonya Yoncheva embodies all the beauty, emotion and glamour that opera is capable of. No wonder she is making her name on the world’s most important stages with such unbelievable speed. But she is also an opera singer with an unusually strong focus on making her mark in the recording studio. We all look forward to working with Sonya to write the first chapter of her discography.”

Sonya Yoncheva is represented worldwide by Ariosi Management.



  • With the best will in the world, why is this article here?

  • She was amazing as Violetta yesterday in Valencia with Z. Mehta

  • m2n2k says:

    Two years ago Sonia Yoncheva was performing several Handel arias, with Emmanuelle Haim conducting and playing harpsichord, in my corner of the world. The young soprano sounded absolutely marvelous and looked great too.

  • derMusikant says:

    Sonya is a friend and colleague of mine, we did the Jardin des Voix together. She’s a lovely girl, yes, has a natural, easy, and genuine ‘diva’ air (in the best possible sense), but most importantly, is a bloody fantastic singer. Contrary to the insinuation of this post and its title – that Sony have pounced on the casting of a young role at a top opera house in order to make a quick buck, reading a little further down reveals that this soprano has a rock-solid early career behind her. Operalia is an extremely tough competition (again, I speak from experience), and you don’t win it unless you have an exceptional talent.

    If one feels that this story is newsworthy (and I think that on balance it is), perhaps a title such as ‘Young Bulgarian star soprano signed exclusively to Sony’ would be a more balanced summary of the content, and may jar less with those faithful readers of this blog who hang in there for the occasional valuable gems of information, but who are perplexed on a daily basis by its often sensationalist, sardonic, and, dare I say it, tabloid house style. Nobody’s selling any papers here – there aren’t even any adverts – so what’s wrong with presenting interesting information in an honest and straightforward fashion?

  • cabbagejuice says:

    She sounds just lovely in the “donde lieta usci” from Bohème:

    If she can convey a sense of intimacy in such a public venue, then by Jove, she’s got it!