Artist of the Week: Sonya Yoncheva

Superstar Soprano Makes Overdue Debut as ‘Manon Lescaut’

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

On Sept. 9 Staatsoper Hamburg is set to open concert performances of Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut,” the work that the put composer on the map. The company has lined up an all-star cast that includes Sonya Yoncheva, who will make her overdue role debut.

The Bulgarian soprano was originally set to make her role debut in the iconic part during the 2019-20 season at the Metropolitan Opera but the showcase was canceled due to the pandemic. She was also scheduled for a production at the Bayerische Staatsoper; that was also canceled. Over the past year, Yoncheva has previewed arias of the role in concerts and it seems that after two productions, the third time will be the charm.

For Yoncheva, “Manon Lescaut” will mark her third Puccini role following acclaimed runs as “Tosca” and Mimì in “La Bohème.” Critics have raved about the soprano’s timbre stating her “powerful instrument filled the hall wondrously” and she has a “massive, rich in texture, and highly expressive” voice.

For the soprano, “Manon Lescaut” will mark the first of several new roles this season as Yoncheva will also take on her first “Anna Bolena,” “La Gioconda” and “Fedora.” She is also set to debut “Madama Butterfly” in a future season and will also return to her iconic portrayals of “Tosca,” “Iolanta,” “Siberia,” “La Bohème,” “Norma,” “and “Don Carlos.”


Yoncheva is is no stranger to recordings as she has released four studio albums for Sony Classical including her new CD “Rebirth,” which garnered her the Opus Klassik award. She also has several DVDs including performances of “Otello,” “Norma,” “Les Contes d’Hoffmann,” “La Bohème,” and “Iolanta.”

Here she is singing “Sola Perduta Abbandonata” and “In Quelle Trine Morbide” from “Manon Lescaut.”



Artist of the WeekSpecial Features