Spotlight on Sonya

At the close of her stunning Met Stars Live in Concert performance last year, Sonya Yoncheva looked directly into the camera to deliver a heartfelt message to viewers tuning in from around the globe. “I’m so glad that we can stay in contact with these concerts,” she said, fighting back tears, “but I can’t tell you how much I miss the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.” On January 23, the remarkable Bulgarian soprano will finally return to the Met, joining the select group of artists who have presented a solo recital on our stage, a shortlist that features the likes of Luciano Pavarotti, Anna Netrebko, and Jonas Kaufmann. Later this season, she also stars as Élisabeth de Valois in the first-ever Met performances of Verdi’s original French version of Don Carlos, opening February 28.

Yoncheva burst onto the Met scene in dramatic fashion in 2013, a season earlier than planned, as Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto, saving the day as a last-minute replacement. With subsequent star turns as some of opera’s most heartbreaking heroines—including Desdemona, Mimì, Violetta, Tosca, and Luisa Miller—she soon became a Met mainstay. But it’s been nearly three years since she’s appeared with the company, and audiences have missed her electric stage presence and mastery across a wide range of musical styles.

To mark her long-awaited return, Yoncheva has chosen to present a ravishing recital program drawn from the song repertoire, accompanied by longtime collaborator pianist Malcolm Martineau. Featuring music by Henri Duparc, Ernest Chausson, Pauline Viardot, and more, the first half of the concert will focus entirely on French selections, while, after intermission, Yoncheva turns her attention to Italy, with a collection of songs by Puccini and Verdi. Lovers of Yoncheva’s past Met performances will not want to miss this one-night-only event, which promises to showcase new facets of her inimitable artistry.

—Christopher Browner