Sondra Radvanovsky

Sondra Dee Radvanovsky[1] (born 11 April 1969) is an American-Canadian soprano. Specializing in 19th-century Italian opera. Radvanovsky is widely regarded as one of the best sopranos in her generation - the premiere Verdi soprano alive today, as well as the leading interpreter of Bel Canto, Verismo, and many others. She has a remarkably extensive repertoire and has portrayed some of the most demanding opera heroines stamped by her own, including the title role in Medea, Norma, Tosca, Rusalka, and Leonora in Il Trovatore, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, and also the Donizetti's "Tudor Queens" - the title role in Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, and Elizabeth I in Roberto Devereux.

Sondra Radvanovsky, American-Canadian soprano

Early life and studiesEdit

Radvanovsky was born in Berwyn, Illinois, to a Czech father and Danish mother.[2] At age 11, she moved to Richmond, Indiana. She studied at Richmond High School and then Mission Viejo High School. She sang her first full-length opera, La bohème as Mimì in Richmond at the age of 21.[3] She studied voice at the University of Southern California for 2 years and drama at the University of California, Los Angeles for 2 years, after which she studied privately.[4] She also received training at the Tanglewood Music Center and the University of Cincinnati – College-Conservatory of Music.[5]

In 1995 Radvanovsky won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions[6] and first prize in the Loren L. Zachary Society Competition.[7] In 1997 she won the George London Foundation Competition.[8] Her teachers have included Martial Singher, Ruth Falcon,[1] and Anthony Manoli, who is also her accompanist.[9]


After the National Council Auditions, Radvanovsky enrolled in the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.[9] In 1996, she appeared in Rigoletto as Countess Ceprano.[10] After performances in smaller roles there, she came to attention as Antonia in Les contes d'Hoffmann. She became a regular soloist at the Met, performing in Stiffelio, Carmen, Il trovatore, La bohème, and La traviata. In May 1999, she appeared at Houston Grand Opera as Elena in Mefistofele.[11] In 2000, she performed in Luisa Miller at the Spoleto Festival USA.[12] In October 2002, she appeared at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the title role in Susannah.[13]

In 2006, she made her Royal Opera debut in Alfano's Cyrano de Bergerac, opposite Plácido Domingo in the title role.[14]

Sondra Radvanovsky in 2008

In 2010, she opened the Canadian Opera Company's season in the title role of Verdi's Aida.[15] She has had success in recent years as Leonora, notably in David McVicar's production of Il trovatore at the Metropolitan Opera.[16] In 2011, she hosted the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD, which was broadcast in movie theaters around the world.[17] 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.[18][19]

During the 2014/15 season, Radvanovsky sang the title role in Norma, which she called a "perfect role vocally and temperamentally" in an interview with The New York Times,[9] at the San Francisco Opera. She made her Norma debut at the Teatro Campoamor with Ópera 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.[20]

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.[21]

At the Paris Opera in 2016 Radvanovsky sang the title role of Aida and won praise for her "superlative technique".[22] Other roles at the Paris Opera have included Marguerite in Faust, Hélène in Les vêpres siciliennes and Élisabeth in Don Carlos.[23] She opened the Metropolitan Opera's 2017/18 season, as Norma in a new production.[24]

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 gave an encore, a practice which is now rare.[25] On 4 July 2018, she repeated the aria D'amor sull'ali rosee during a performance of Il trovatore at the Opéra Bastille in Paris, the first woman - and only the third singer - to ever do so since the house's opening in 1989.

Radvanovsky opened the 2022/23 season at the Metropolitan Opera with a new production of Cherubini's Medea, the first performance of this opera in the company's history. The performances received rave reviews from all major critics.

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,[26] and with Sir Gilbert Levine and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.[27]

Plácido Domingo has been a noted champion of her career.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Radvanovsky was introduced to Duncan Lear by tenor Michael Schade.[28] They married in December 2001[1] and Lear assumed the role as her business manager. She lived in New York while her husband was in Toronto during the first year of marriage, after which they lived together in the suburbs of Greater Toronto, first in Oakville, and then in Caledon, Ontario.[29][30] She acquired Canadian citizenship in February 2016.[31] In 2022 Radvanovsky announced her divorce from Lear.[32]

Awards and recognitionEdit

Radvanovsky won Outstanding Female Performances in Roberto Devereux with the Canadian Opera Company in 2014 Dora Award, while the production itself was awarded the best production.[33] She also won the Female Singer category in the 2nd Annual Excellence in Opera Awards for the same production.[34] She was a recipient of 2015 Opera News Award.[35] On 12 October 2016 she was honored in the annual Opera Canada Awards.[36] She won "Sustained Excellence in Performance" in the 4th Annual Excellence in Opera Awards for the Tudor trilogy at the Met.[37] She won "Outstanding Female Performance" in the 2017 Dora Award for Norma with Canadian Opera Company.[38] She was named the 2018 Vocalist of the Year by magazine Musical America.[39] In June 2018 she was named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music.[40]





  1. ^ a b c Citron, Paula (22 September 2003). "Sondra Radvanovsky". Opera Canada – via
  2. ^ Driscoll, F. Paul (November 2013). "Sweet Sound of Success". Opera News. Vol. 78, no. 4.
  3. ^ a b Wasserman, Adam (February 2009). "Chanson Triste". Opera News. Vol. 73, no. 8.
  4. ^ mj Buell (29 April 2011). "We are all Music's Child - May 2011". The WholeNote.
  5. ^ "Sondra Radvanovsky - Artist bio". San Francisco Opera. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010.
  6. ^ "Metropolitan Opera National Council Winners" (PDF). Metropolitan Opera. p. 5. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Winners and Finalists 1995". Loren L. Zachary Society. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  8. ^ "About the Competition". George London Foundation. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Schweitzer, Vivien (19 April 2011). "At the Met, a Soprano Ascendant". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Hampton, Wilborn (21 September 2017). "Met Opera Season to Showcase Radvanovsky, Yoncheva, McVicar". HuffPost. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  11. ^ "MEFISTOFELE". Houston Theatre. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  12. ^ "Vast, inventive Spoleto is arts feast". The Christian Science Monitor. 2 June 2000.
  13. ^ von Rhein, John (3 October 2002). "Lyric gives McCarthyistic 'Susannah' a ringing revival". Chicago Tribune.
  14. ^ Fairman, Richard (10 May 2006). "Cyrano de Bergerac, Royal Opera House, London". Financial Times.
  15. ^ Canadian Opera Company's web site
  16. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (18 February 2009). "Verdi's Foundlings, Nobles and Gypsies, Transported to the Age of Goya". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Taylor, James C. (8 January 2011). "Dispatch from New York: A soprano's second debut". Los Angeles Times.
  18. ^ "Los Angeles Opera web site"
  19. ^ Smith, Steve (11 January 2011). "Tosca, With Tinkering, Cooler Tempers and a Fill-In Tenor". The New York Times.
  20. ^ Schweitzer, Vivien (2 October 2013). "Praying to the Moon, While Lashing Out at Fate". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  21. ^ "New Season, New Hopes at the Metropolitan Opera" by Fred Plotkin, WQXR, 18 February 2015
  22. ^ Rizoud, Christophe (13 June 2016). "De mal en Py". (in French). Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  23. ^ "Sondra Radvanovsky". Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  24. ^ "Norma". The Metropolitan Opera. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  25. ^ Salazar, Francisco. "Sondra Radvanovsky Encores Barcelona Audiences". Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Sondra Radvanovsky". Royal Opera House. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  27. ^ Newman, Roy (23 July 2004). "An Encounter with Verdi". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. p. Weekend Feedback.
  28. ^ Margles, Pamela (26 February 2010). "The Point of Lovely". The WholeNote.
  29. ^ Eatock, Colin (1 October 2010). "Sondra Radvanovsky, Aida and the Caledon Hills". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  30. ^ Littler, William (22 November 2015). "Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky keeps her house in order".
  31. ^ Rowat, Robert (25 February 2016). "Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky becomes a Canadian citizen". CBC Music.
  32. ^ Salazar, Francisco (24 July 2022). "Sondra Radvanovsky Announces Divorce". OperaWire.
  33. ^ Kaplan, Jon (24 June 2014). "The Dora Mavor Moore Awards, 2014". Now.
  34. ^ Plotkin, Fred (20 December 2014). "The Second Annual Excellence in Opera ('Freddie') Awards". WQXR.
  35. ^ Svokos, Alexandra (21 April 2015). "Here's What Opera's Biggest Stars Have To Say About The Future Of Their Art Form". HuffPost. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  36. ^ So, Joseph (24 October 2016). "Opera Canada Awards Honour Three Outstanding Canadians". Ludwig Van.
  37. ^ Plotkin, Fred (19 December 2016). "The Fourth Annual Excellence in Opera ('Freddie') Awards". WQXR.
  38. ^ Salazar, David (29 June 2017). "Sondra Radvanovsky Takes Home 2017 Dora Award". OperaWire.
  39. ^ Delacoma, Wynne (17 October 2017). "Vocalist of the Year: Sondra Radvanovsky". Musical America.
  40. ^ "Four Extraordinary Canadians Receive Honorary Fellowships From The Royal Conservatory Of Music". BroadwayWorld. 1 June 2018.

External linksEdit