Sondra Radvanovsky (born April 11, 1969) is an American-Canadian soprano. Specializing in 19th-century Italian opera, Radvanovsky has been called one of the leading Verdi sopranos of her generation. Her signature roles include Elvira in Ernani, Leonora in Il trovatore, Elena in I vespri siciliani, Élisabeth in Don Carlos, and the title role in Norma.
Early life and studies
Radvanovsky was born in Berwyn, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. At age 11, she moved to Richmond, Indiana. She sang her first full-length opera in Richmond at the age of 21. Radvanovsky studied theater and voice at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles. She later undertook advanced studies at the Tanglewood Music Center and the University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music.
She won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 1995 and enrolled in the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. After performances in smaller roles there, Radvanovsky came to attention as Antonia in Les contes d'Hoffmann and was singled out as a soprano to watch. Her teachers have included Martial Singher, Ruth Falcon, and Diana Soviero.
Radvanovsky has performed in most of the major opera houses in the world, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Vienna State Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and numerous others.
In 2010, she opened the Canadian Opera Company's season in the title role of Verdi's Aida. She has had success in recent years as Leonora, notably in David McVicar's production of Il trovatore at the Metropolitan Opera. In 2011, she hosted the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD, which was broadcast in movie theaters around the world. In addition to her specialty in Verdi heroines, she has also sung the title roles in Suor Angelica, Tosca, Susannah, Rusalka, and Norma, among others.
During the 2014/15 season, Radvanovsky sang the title role of Norma, which she called her "perfect role vocally and temperamentally" in an interview with The New York Times, at the San Francisco Opera. She made her Norma debut at Teatro Campoamor de Oviedo in the 2011/12 season and received critical and popular acclaim in the role during the 2013/14 season at the Metropolitan Opera.
In the Metropolitan Opera's 2015/16 season, Radvanovsky performed all three queens in Donizetti's "Tudor" operas, Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, and Queen Elizabeth I in Roberto Devereux, which no one had done before in the company's history.
At the Paris Opera in 2016 Radvanovsky sang the title role of Aida and won praise for her "superlative technique". Other roles at the Paris Opera have included Marguerite in Faust, Hélène in Les vêpres siciliennes and Élisabeth in Don Carlos. She opened the Metropolitan Opera's 2017/18 season, as Norma in a new production.
At the Liceu Opera, Barcelona, on 24 March 2018, after receiving a prolonged ovation for her performance of the aria La mamma morta in the opera Andrea Chénier, she and the conductor granted the audience an encore, a practice which is now exceedingly rare. On 4 July 2018, she repeated the aria D'amor sull'ali rosee during a performance of Il Trovatore at the Bastille Opera House in Paris, the first woman - and only the third singer - to ever do so since the house's opening in 1989.
In concert, Radvanovsky has performed Beethoven's Ninth with James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Rossini's Stabat Mater with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and the Verdi Requiem with David Zinman and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Symphony.
- 1995: Winner, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions
- 1995: First prize, Loren L. Zachary Society Competition
- 1997: Winner, George London Foundation Competition
- Alfano's Cyrano de Bergerac with Plácido Domingo, Naxos 2009
- Leonora in Il trovatore, The Metropolitan Opera, 2011
- Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, The Metropolitan Opera, 2013
- Norma in Norma, The Gran Teatre del Liceu, 2015
- Schweitzer,Vivien (19 April 2011). "At the Met, a Soprano Ascendant". The New York Times.
- Serinus, Jason Victor: "Powerhouse Verdi From Hvorostovsky and Radvanovsky", San Francisco Classical Voice, April 26, 2011
- Delacoma, Wynne: "Injured by offstage mugger and onstage tenor, Sondra Radvanovsky perseveres to sing in Lyric Opera Ernani", Chicago Classical Review, October 21, 2009
- Wasserman, Adam: "Chanson Triste", Opera News Online, February 2009
- Taylor, James C., "Dispatch from New York: A soprano's second debut", Los Angeles Times, January 8, 2011
- Naxos website
- Citron, Paula: "Sondra Radvanovsky", Opera Canada, September 22, 2003
- Petrenko, Alexa. "Interview: Sondra Radvanovsky at The New Classical 96.3 FM", La Scene Musicale, March 17, 2010.
- "Sondra Radvanovsky". IMG Artists. Archived from the original on 30 November 2018.
- Canadian Opera Company's web site
- Tommasini, Anthony, "Verdi's Foundlings, Nobles and Gypsies, Transported to the Age of Goya", The New York Times, February 18, 2009
- "Los Angeles Opera web site"
- Smith, Steve, "Tosca, With Tinkering, Cooler Tempers and a Fill-In Tenor", The New York Times, January 11, 2011
- Schweitzer, Vivien (2 October 2013). "Praying to the Moon, While Lashing Out at Fate". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- "New Season, New Hopes at the Metropolitan Opera" by Fred Plotkin, WQXR, 18 February 2015
- Rizoud, Christophe. "De mal en Py". forumopera.com. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
- "Sondra Radvanovsky". operadeparis.fr. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
- "Norma". The Metropolitan Opera. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
- Salazar, Francisco. "Sondra Radvanovsky Encores Barcelona Audiences". operawire.com. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
- "Sondra Radvanovsky". Royal Opera House. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- "Metropolitan Opera Website
- "Zachary Society Website