Verdi, Verdi & Something Else: The Roles Krassimira Stoyanova & Sharon Sweet Both Sang

By David Salazar

Sharon Sweet and Krassimira Stoyanova. Two sopranos born on August 16 with rather different careers.

The former was a well-known American dramatic soprano who took on a wide range of Italian and German repertoire, most prominently singing operas by Wagner and Verdi. The latter, a Bulgarian with a far lighter voice, has slowly dug into that very same dramatic repertoire, balancing it with the lighter fare. And yet there has been some overlap between the two.

Here is a look at the roles that the two have shared in their respective careers.

Il Trovatore

Sweet was a noted Leonora, taking on the role in Hamburg, the Festival Orange, and Montpellier, among other places. She also recorded the opera with Dolora Zajick as Azucena and Rico Saccani as the conductor.

Stoyanova has appeared in just one production of the opera since 2012, taking it on in Munich.


For Stoyanova, the Egyptian princess has been a recent addition to her repertoire as she has sung the role in Munich (2015), the Metropolitan Opera (2016-17) and will now take it on in Milan at La Scala in 2017-18.

Sweet’s major successes came with this role, her appearance in a Munich concert performance causing quite the stir. Additionally, Sweet’s USA debut at the San Francisco Opera was in the title role of Verdi’s third-to-last opera. She also took it on at the amphitheater in Caesarea and in London at the Covent Garden.


Sweet was never a renowned Desdemona, though she did perform it in Munich in 1993.

Stoyanova, on the other hand, has become one of the foremost interpreters of the late Verdi soprano role, singing it in Barcelona, the Metropolitan Opera, and even Carnegie Hall among other places. Her partnership with José Cura in the Liceu production by Willy Decker is undeniably one of the finest on the market, as is her CD recording with Aleksandrs Antonenko under the baton of Riccardo Muti.

Don Carlo

Yes, yet another Verdi opera. Stoyanova has taken to the role of Elisabetta in recent times, singing the opera in Milan earlier this year and in Vienna just a few weeks back. Meanwhile Sweet showcased her interpretation of the role in Paris and Hamburg early in her career.

Un Ballo in Maschera

Sweet’s interpretation was a hit at the Metropolitan Opera in 1995, as was her earlier appearance as Amelia in Chicago in 1992. For Stoyanova, the role has appeared few times in her repertoire, though she did take it on in Vienna and San Diego in recent years.

Don Giovanni

You thought it would only be Verdi right? But the two sopranos did share the role of Donna Anna, Sweet singing it at the Metropolitan Opera in her later years while Stoyanova appeared in the role earlier in hers.  


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