Artist of the Week: Sally Matthews

British Soprano Makes Role Debut in Tchaikovsky’s Opera ‘Eugene Onegin’

By Francisco Salazar

This week La Monnaie du Mont opened a new production of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece “Eugene Onegin” with a star cast including a major soprano making her role debut as Tatyana.

Sally Matthews will sing her first Tatyana, which will mark her first Tchaikovsky role. In a statement, regarding her role debut the soprano said, “at the moment I’m learning and exploring the role of Tatyana in ‘Eugene Onegin.’ She is proud and strong-willed, as well as being romantic and passionate, all of which are things I can identify with. She is also a dreamer, with an immensely active imagination and a real devotion to the characters in her beloved stories. In developing my interpretation I’m trying to hold on to a sense of simplicity and naïvety, since the music – although undoubtedly very passionate – also has a purity that I believe reflects Tatyana’s innocence.”

Matthews also spoke about working with Laurent Pelly and said, he “understands so well how getting a simple result can require a complex process. Together, we have been exploring these qualities of Tatyana’s youth and vibrancy, her rich imagination, and her impulsive and passionate nature, in a way that feels to me like a truly theatrical way of working.”

Matthews is one of the foremost lyric sopranos of her generation whose repertoire includes a variety of operas including the music of Thomas Ades, Richard Strauss, Poulenc, Dvorak, Mozart, and Wagner.

For those not in Brussels for the premiere, audiences can also see her in Navarra and Rouen this season. Future role debuts will also include Strauss’ Ariadne, Beethoven’s Leonore, Janacek’s Emilia Marty, and Gounod’s Marguerite.


For those who want to discover more about Matthews’ artistry, the soprano has recordings “Le Nozze di Figaro” and “Gianni Schicchi” from Glyndebourne. She also has a recording of “Carmina Burana.”

Here is Sally Matthews in “Norma” from La Monnaie.

And here she is in the title role of “Jenufa.”