The Verdi album
For her third album for Sony Classical, the Operalia-winning soprano, Yoncheva turns her attention to the work of a composer for whom many feel she has always had a special affinity: Giuseppe Verdi. With her big, luscious, powerful voice ideal for Verdi’s most demanding roles she is the rare voice type known as a ‘dramatic lyric’ soprano.
When the soprano starred opposite Jonas Kaufmann in an eagerly awaited new production of Verdi’s Don Carlos in the opening of the Paris National Opera 2017/18 season, critics went into raptures. ‘Conveys the fragility and strength of Elisabeth, with a sound that is open, warm and generous,’ said The Financial Times. ‘Intelligent, reserved and wounded in her great final outpouring,’ raved The New York Times. After her triumph in La traviata, the newspaper "Die Welt" even declared that ‘she is the finest Violetta since Maria Callas’.
The music of Verdi forms the lodestone of most dramatic-lyric sopranos, and Yoncheva includes arias from some of the composer’s rarely-performed operas in addition to some of the most beloved ones. From the early operas, she sings arias from Nabucco (1842), Attila (1846), Luisa Miller (1849) and Stiffelio (1850). Of Verdi’s more frequently performed operas, Yoncheva includes the celebrated aria ‘Tacea la notte’ from the opera Il trovatore. From Simon Boccanegra (1857/1881) she sings ‘Come in quest’ora bruna’. She also included the great ‘Ave Maria’ prayer from Otello (1887), and after her spectacular triumph in Don Carlos in Paris, she also adds Elisabetta’s epic aria ‘Tu che le vanità’.
What has she gained from her immersion in the works of Verdi? ‘Even deeper respect for him. He’s an absolute master of the theatre, of drama, of musical construction. And it was my aim to express my admiration from the very bottom of my soul.’
Sonya Yoncheva recorded her new album with Verdi specialist Massimo Zanetti and the Münchner Rundfunkorchester.