Culture Talk
Sonya Yoncheva


Bulgarian star soprano Sonya Yoncheva in an exclusive interview with Cercle Diplomatique on her preference for the dramatic roles, rock star Freddy Mercury and how her family life brought a deeper understanding of her roles.

  Interview: Evelyn Rois & Bruno Stubenrauch

You are the headliner of the Midsummer night‘s gala Grafenegg. What are you going to perform?
Some arias by Puccini, one aria from Carmen, which I like very much. And duets with Ludovic Tézier, of course, who is not only a fantastic musician but also a good friend of mine. And I will sing a song by Queen, „Who Wants to Live Forever“. I’m a big fan of Queen since my childhood. Apart from being a great rockstar, Freddie Mercury was also a genius composer - and he was daring a lot. For me this is what is the most important.

You seem to have an affection for the very dramatic roles ...

What I search most in my work is to show very deep characters with a lot of psychological perspective. I like to act as an actress. Those pieces like Medea or Norma are totally dedicated to these kind of „animals“. Also musically, of course, they are absolut jewels and deserve to appear frequenty on today’s schedules.

The celebrity cult in the opera world brings up constant comparisons, with Maria Callas for example. Is this annoying or does it rather amuse you?

I should say it is annoying for the whole opera business, because it limits people in their imagination. Why do we need to compare in our art? Is it because we are afraid of the unknown singer that is showing us something new? But when you have your own way, people will come to the show not to see the new Callas but to see Yoncheva - so this is good news!

Your career has really taken off lately: Berlin, Salzburg, the Met. At the same time you will become a mother for the second time - how do you balance your tight schedule with your family life?
You need to have your team! I always put some priority in building up a family, because I think, this is the first reason why we are here on earth. For me it would be totally egoistic, if I said, I only life for my voice – that is just not me. Becoming a mother was one of the points that completely changed the rivers of my life, because all over sudden I could understand the feelings of many characters I’m playing on stage.

When will you be performing on the stage of the Wiener Staatsoper again?

I love so much the audience in Vienna, they are so supportive. So I’m very happy to come back next spring in Tosca. And I have a good connection with the new director, we are planning a lot of productions and performances for the upcoming seasons.

Personal Details:
Sonya Yoncheva studied voice in her hometown Plovdiv, Bulgaria and at the conservatory of Geneva.
After several spectacular and highly acclaimed debuts on the most influetial opera stages of the world, Sonya yoncheva counts among the most interesting and most sought-after singers of her generation and shines in parts like Tosca, Norma, Medea and Poppea.


Sonya Yoncheva, Ludovic Tézier, Emmanuel Tjeknavorian, Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich, Yutaka Sado.
13.06. u. 14.06.2019, Grafenegg Wolkenturm

copyright: rois&stubenrauch | für Cercle Diplomatique 2/2019

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