Sonya Yoncheva was born on Christmas Day in 1981 in Plovdiv in the family of Temenuga and Petko Yonchevi. She began singing in the Detska Kitka Choir at the age of 6, after which she graduated with piano and singing in her hometown under the mentorship of her first vocal pedagogue Dr. Nelly Koycheva. Later, she went to Switzerland and there she obtained a Master's degree in classical singing at the Conservatory in Geneva, where he studied with the famous opera prima Danielle Borst, and William Christie discovered her incredible talent and sense of Baroque music. As a student, Sonya became a member of the Geneva Opera Choir.
In 2010 Sonya Yoncheva won the grand prize as well as the special prize CultureArte at the most prestigious opera competition Operalia, organized by Plácido Domingo. In 2015, she was awarded the prize in the Emerging Artist of the Year category at the German ECHO Klassik Awards, and in 2017 she was named Medici.tv’s Artist of the Year. In 2019, she was honored with the Readers' Award at The International Opera Awards. In 2021, Sonya Yoncheva also won the "Singer of the Year" award with her album "Rebirth" at one of the most prestigious awards for classical music Opus Klassic, whose ceremony is held annually in Berlin. The same year she was awarded the highest title "Honorary Citizen of Plovdiv" at a special ceremony in her hometown.
Her talent conquered all the world's greatest opera stages (Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala in Milan, Vienna State Opera, Covent Garden in London, Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Grand Opera and Opera Bastille in Paris, Arena di Verona, etc.), embodying heroines such as Poppaea, Violetta, Mimi, Desdemona, Manon Lescaut and many others. Gradually, her vocal range unfolded to the vividly dramatic roles of Medea, Norma, Fedora, Tosca, Cho-Cho-San, establishing her as one of the most exciting artists and performers of her generation. Sonya Yoncheva's extensive repertoire includes the pearls of the Baroque era, as well as works by Mozart, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Giordano, Bellini, Puccini. Lauded for her extraordinarily beautiful voice and incredibly dramatic stage presence, Sonya is equally persuasive on both the opera and concert stages. Her recitals in Paris, Dresden, Baden-Baden, Munich, Barcelona, Tokyo, Vienna, Buenos Aires, Athens, Mexico City, and others take place with great success.
At the height of her career, Sonya is increasingly concerned about the future of classical art and about passing on human and artistic values to future generations. That is why, insisting a lot on the relationship with the native audience, she began her own production activities, presenting to fans in Bulgaria both stars of the magnitude of Plácido Domingo, as well as promising young talents. Sonya Yoncheva becomes a producer in 2020, creating her label SY11. So far, the company has performed gala concerts at the Ancient Theater in Plovdiv and Sofia, among which stands out the mega spectacle with the participation of the great Plácido Domingo in front of the spiritual center of Bulgaria – Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Another very successful project is the tour of Sonya Yoncheva "Rebirth" (started in 2021) with recitals in Geneva, Barcelona, Brussels, Sofia.
The singer recorded exclusively for Sony Classical. In 2018, her solo album "The Verdi Album" was released, preceded by the album "Handel" in 2017, the debut album "Paris, My Love", "Stabat Mater" by Pergolesi and several DVD/Blu-ray recordings. Her discography also includes a CD recording of the opera "The Marriage of Figaro" (as the Countess) for Deutsche Gramophone and Handel's Oratorio "Messiah", recorded together with the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In 2021, her Baroque album "Rebirth" was released, and in February 2023 - the album "The Courtesan“, produced by the SY11 label and featuring some of the most famous soprano arias. Sonya Yoncheva's first book, entitled "Fifteen Mirrors", presents 15 opera heroines accompanying her in the first 15 years of her glamorous world career. The book was published by SY11 in 2023 and has already been translated into several languages due to the undying interest of its fans around the world.
Together with SY11, Sonya organizes the first season of "Inmost Voices", a concert series that aims to invite international opera artists to Bulgaria and abroad. One of the latest projects of the popular soprano was also a special Christmas concert at Versailles held in December 2023.
Alongside her successful career, Sonya Yoncheva also created a loving family with Venezuelan conductor Domingo Hindoyan. They are the parents of the wonderful Mateo and Sofia.
The Bulgarian prima insists on working with young talents and is the godmother and mentor of a special educational project for children and young people from vulnerable background at the Conservatory in Geneva – together they played with Sonya Yoncheva in front of diplomats from all over the world at the Palace of Nations in Geneva on the occasion of World Children's Day in November 2023. In November 2021, Sonya Yoncheva became a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, defending the rights of children in Bulgaria and around the world, and for years she has been a global ambassador of Rolex.
In December 2023, at the Bishop's Basilica of Philippopolis in Plovdiv was held the official ceremony of awarding Sonya Yoncheva the honorary title of Doctor Honoris Cause by the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts "Prof. Asen Diamandiev", Plovdiv – for her outstanding contribution to the development of culture and opera art, as well as for her activities for the benefit of society and protection of the rights of children and young people.
Sonya Yoncheva established her production company SY11 in 2020. The mission of the singer and her team is to implement various projects and events in the field of art and to present them in a new way, attracting diverse audiences based on their versatile age and interests. The first concerts by SY11 are "Return" at the Ancient Theater Plovdiv in the summer of 2020, and a year later - the large-scale opera gala, which gathered nearly 6,000 people in front of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia - with the participation of Sonya Yoncheva, Plácido Domingo and under the baton of maestro Nayden Todorov and the accompaniment of the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra. The next concerts, produced by SY11, were related to Sonya Yoncheva's album "Rebirth", released in 2021 and the presentation of a Baroque repertoire in different countries, and recently in Bulgaria with the Baroque Art Festival
Orchestra led by concertmaster Zefira Valova – a collaboration that started with the “Handel” recital in April 2023. The other very important project of SY11 is the season "Inmost Voices", which is bringing together in its first edition various young leading international opera artists. The second season, which will be featuring concerts of some of the most established names in the world opera scene, has already been announced. We expect their performances in Bulgaria in the 2024/2025 season. The "Inmost Voices" project will also have its first Swiss season at the prestigious Victoria Hall in Geneva in the 2024/2025 season. In February 2023, Sonya Yoncheva's album "The Courtesan" was released, again produced by the SY11 label, featuring some of the most famous soprano arias. Sonya Yoncheva's first book, entitled "Fifteen Mirrors", presents 15 opera heroines accompanying her in the first 15 years of her glamorous world career. The book was published by SY11 in 2023 and has already been translated into several languages due to the undying interest of its fans around the world.
Photo: Edouard Brane