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Soprano Sonya Yoncheva caused a sensation when she replaced Anna Netrebko in Faust in London and Vienna, then stepped in at the Met for Kristıˉne Opolais (herself released from her contract to replace Netrebko in Munich) and Marina Poplavskaya. It’s complicated, but she who dares wins: Yoncheva’s career continues to soar and her debut album is a delight. The title, Paris, mon amour, provides the theme, with arias from French opera, or those associated with the city. Yoncheva treats us to staples such as Violetta’s Act I aria from La traviata, through to rarities like Gabrielle’s waltz from Lecocq’s Les cent vierges, a toe-tapper par excellence.

The soprano’s voice is smoothly produced, well cushioned with a slightly veiled tone in the middle, prudent use of chest tones, and an excitingly free top, thrillingly displayed in the final scene from Thaïs. There is a slight preponderance of gloom and doom in her choice of programme – her Salomé (Hérodiade) blurs slightly with her Sapho and Chimène (Le Cid), but it’s an important and exciting instrument. Frédéric Chaslin supports sensitively, conducting the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, though he slightly rushes the languorous ‘L’Air des cigales’ from Messager’s Madame Chrysanthème and Celso Albelo’s tenor contribution in La traviata is horribly flat.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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