A native of Sydney, she originally studied voice while on a scholarship at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music. She won the National Eisteddfod in Canberra, as well as a number of other singing competitions, such as the £1000 Shell Aria, 1960. By this stage she had become one of the country's leading contraltos, often appearing on radio and television and with the Sydney and Queensland orchestras.
Minton left Australia in 1961 to pursue her studies in London. The same year, she won the Kathleen Ferrier Prize for the best contralto at the International Vocalist Competition at 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands. Her first major part in England was as Maggie Dempster in the premiere of Nicholas Maw's One Man Show. She sang the role of Clotilde on the 1965 Decca recording of Bellini's Norma.
Shortly thereafter, she became a regular member of the company of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, appearing in such roles as Lola in Cavalleria rusticana. She created the role of Thea in Tippett's The Knot Garden (1970) and appeared at the Cologne Opera from 1969 (début as Sesto in La clemenza di Tito). She has since appeared with most of the major English orchestras and in opera houses throughout Europe and the United States. She has also appeared at Bayreuth (Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde) and the Salzburg Festival 1978 (Octavian). In 1973, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Octavian in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. She sang the role of Countess Geschwitz in Lulu in Paris in 1979. She has also made many concert appearances, notably with Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Her recordings include Der Rosenkavalier (Georg Solti), The Marriage of Figaro (Colin Davis), Bach's Mass in B minor (Karl Münchinger), Rossini's Stabat Mater, Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius, Mahler's The Song of the Earth, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Des Knaben Wunderhorn (all with Solti), Tristan und Isolde (Leonard Bernstein), and Béatrice et Bénédict (Daniel Barenboim).
- New York Times review of Eugene Onegin at Glyndebourne, 4 June 1994, accessed 21 January 2010
- Musicweb review of Berlioz recordings, accessed 21 January 2010
- Eriksson, Erik. "Yvonne Minton". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "Organists of St Stephen's Presbyterian and Uniting Church". St Stephen's Presbyterian and Uniting Church, Macquarie Street, Sydney. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Search Australian Honours - Simple Search – Minton, Yvonne". It's an Honour (Government of Australia). 31 December 1979. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Yvonne Minton and Marilyn Zschau in Elektra on video
- Photo of Yvonne Minton (1991), by David Franklin, at National Library of Australia.
- Two Interviews with Yvonne Minton by Bruce Duffie, 28 October 1981 & 19 November 1992