Ukrainian Liudmyla Monastyrska’s rich, dramatic soprano has caught the attention of press and audiences alike since 1996, when she made her stage debut as Tatiana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in Kiev. A modern artist with a classic sensibility regarding the art of singing, Ms. Monastyrska is acclaimed for her lush, powerful, compelling performances and superb technical command. Her relationships with European, American and Asian opera houses have continued to expand following her highly acclaimed 2010 debut with Deutsche Oper Berlin in the title role of Puccini’s Tosca.
2017-18 season highlights include Ms. Monastyrska’s company debut with the Los Angeles Opera (Abigaille in Verdi’s Nabucco), and her role debut singing the title role in Bellini’s Norma with Houston Grand Opera. She returns to Germany for two productions with the Deutsche Oper Berlin – she sings the title role of Verdi’s Tosca and the role of Abigaille in Nabucco. Her season closes in Barcelona with Gran Teatre del Liceu, where she sings the title role in a new production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. Future engagements include singing the title role in Placido Domingo’s Aida: The Stadium World Tour, the opening of which has been postponed to 2018 (dates to be announced).Read more
Recent season performances include engagements with the Opera Nacional de Paris singing the title roles of Tosca and Aida (new production); with the Metropolitan Opera singing the title role in Aida with Marco Armiliato, Abigaille in Nabucco with James Levine and Placido Domingo, Santuzza in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana with conductor Fabio Luisi, and Tosca with Joseph Colaneri; with Deutsch Oper Berlin she made her role debut as Elisabeth von Valois in Verdi’s Don Carlo, and sang the title role of Tosca, and Abigaille in Nabucco; and with Bayerische Staatsoper she made her company debut singing Abigaille in Nabucco). She also sang the role of Abigaille with Placido Domingo at London’s Royal Opera House, and made her debut with the Vienna State Opera singing the title role in Aida under conductor Simone Young. Additional performances included the title role of Puccini’s Tosca under Patrick Summers for Houston Grand Opera, and in summer 2015 she toured through Japan and sang the role of Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s Macbeth with the Royal Opera House led by conductor Sir Antonio Pappano.
Among Ms. Monastyrska’s many performance credits are Verdi’s Macbeth with Maestro Pappano and Nabucco with Nicolà Luisiotti at London’s Royal Opera House (both new productions), and Nabucco, Cavalleria Rusticana and Aida at La Scala. Aida has also served as her introduction to the
Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Vienna State Opera, as well as the Hollywood Bowl, where she sang Aida in concert under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. With the Deutsche Oper Berlin, she has appeared in productions of Puccini’s Tosca, and Verdi’s MacBeth and Nabucco, as well as a concert version of Attila. Ms. Monastyrska has sung Verdi’s Messa da Requiem at Rome’s Accademia di Santa Cecilia as well as with The Cleveland Orchestra, and has also sung Verdi’s La Forza del Destino with Zubin Mehta at Valencia’s Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. She appeared in
Macbeth with the Staatsoper Berlin, sharing the stage with Placido Domingo, and made her Italian debut with Festival Puccini in Torre del Lago, Italy. In 2015, she made her debut at the Salzburg Easter Festival conducted by Christian Thielemann, singing the role of Santuzza in a new production of Cavalleria Rusticana with Jonas Kaufmann, as well as the Verdi “Requiem”.
Ms. Monastyrska can be seen/heard on DVDs of Macbeth and Nabucco – both from the Royal Opera (Opus Arte), and in Sony Classics DVD of Cavalleria Rusticana from the 2015 Salzburg Easter Festival with the Staatskapelle Dresden.
Born in Kiev, Liudmyla Monastyrska was a principal soloist with the Ukraine National Opera for several years before expanding her international career. Ms. Monastyrska and her family make their home in Kiev.
“Normally one thinks of Nabucco as a vehicle for a fearless soprano who can do anything… Maria Callas was supreme at this sort of thing back in 1949, but Ukranian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska now appears to own the role and is remarkable in it.”
“… the evening was also the occasion for the triumphant Los Angeles Opera debut of Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska. Assaying one of the most challenging roles in Italian opera, Monastyrska’s vocal performance was breathtaking… The most remarkable quality of Monastyska’s voice is its beautifully controlled, and vocally expressive bel canto. The role of Abigaille abounds in soft, sensuous, sweetly melodic passages, as in the aria Anch’io dischiuso un giorno and in these passages Monastyrska demonstrated hers is a voice deserving international attention. The Los Angeles Opera audience recognized this with sustained ovations.”
“Already, last July, her Aida on this same stage had made a strong impression: the width of her instrument, the richness of her timbre had conquered the public. Her Tosca is of the same caliber, one can even say that it convinces more so much the vocal means and the stylistic qualities of the singer seem adapted to this personage. Moreover the Ukrainian soprano has a palette of nuances that allows her to alternate impalpable mezzo-forte with treble of an impressive amplitude. Theatrically her game remains sober and effective at the same time, especially during her confrontation with Scarpia.”
“Clear singing, obscure production: Domingo and Monastyrska in Nabucco
The audience interval chatter confirmed that the outstanding singing of the evening came from Liudmyla Monastyrska’s Abigaille. What makes Monastyrska ideal for the role is her dynamic range: when she goes for the grandiose “Salgo già del trono aurato”, you’re left in no doubt whatsoever about who, barring an Act of God, is going to come out the winner of the golden throne. Just moments before, she displayed total control of pianissimo in the contemplative ‘Anch’io dischiuso un giorno.”
“As the awful Abigaille, Liudmyla Monastyrska’s formidable stature, imperious gestures and simply colossal voice obviously compel attention, but she also produces the evening’s most ravishing pianissimos.”
“The protagonists let their voices radiate impressively: The Ukrainian Liudmyl Monastyrska is a sovereign Aida… She creates beautiful, touching moments in her ‘Numi, pieta’.”
“The fabulous directing in Mascagni’s one-act play seemed to inspire all soloists, the services a round festival night-worthy performance. Liudmyla Monastyrska’s lush dark-luminous soprano lent her already passionate sounding Santuzza added attraction. With fiery passion and drama, she threw herself accordingly into an intense and enthralling vocal performance. Still, the Ukrainian was always able to scale back her voice to a minimum, with its well-trimmed, space-filling and touching Piani a success – great rejoicing for this thrilling role Portrait.”
“Monastyrska is also a superb musician and technician, singing stylish pianissimos and dominating ensembles like no other Verdi soprano I’ve heard (that was evident right from the start in her Covent Garden debut as Aida).”
“It is Liudmyla Monastyrska’s vocally scorching Abigaille, grandly of the old school in volume, tone and technical bravado, who raises the temperature of the evening. Steady as a rock and fearsomely implacable, with a searing top register and cavernous low notes, she steals the show – and the biggest ovation.”
“Sharing the musical honours is Liudmyla Monastyrska as Abigaille, the vengeful daughter of Nabucco (aka Nebuchadnezzar). The Ukrainian soprano sings with thrilling amplitude, giving a performance that seems old-fashioned only because so few Verdian singers have this power today.”
“The ‘daughter’ Abigaille is in fact the child of a harem slave, and turns out to be a monster — an aspect Liudmyla Monastyrska captures in her commanding tone. But she still provides the wherewithal for a powerful and ultimately touching duet with her putative father.”
“For Liudmyla Monastyrska, who brought her voluptuous soprano to the title role, it was a triumphant house debut. … Ms. Monastyrska, a native of Kiev, Ukraine, and an established star at that city’s opera house, comes to the Met a fully mature artist. She is gifted with a luscious round soprano that maintains its glow even in the softest notes. Her “O patria mia” was beautifully drawn and colored with darker inflections that added dramatic intensity. ”
“With a big shimmering sound, Liudmyla Monastyrska was the chief attraction of the Metropolitan Opera’s revival of Verdi’s “Aida.” The 37-year-old Ukrainian soprano made her Met debut in the opening performance of the run Friday night and displayed something of a rarity these days – a dramatic voice capable of filling the Met in a core Verdi role. Her high notes were thrilling as the Ethiopian princess who is enslaved. She showed her voice’s steel in “Ritorna vincitor (Return a conqueror)” and its warmth during”O patria mia (O, my country).”… Given the dearth of singers who can perform these parts at the 4,000-capacity Met, she is a singer to watch. ”
“Liudmyla Monastyrska had a triumphant debut in the title role, providing a deeply moving portrayal of the suffering heroine. Her voice has heft and potency that rang viscerally through the massive choruses in Acts one and two, but it has an exquisite delicacy that was perfectly suited to Verdi's sweeping lines. Nowhere was this more evident than in Aida's famous aria 'Ritorna Vincitor' during which her internal conflict between her love for the Egyptian general Radames and her native Ethiopia is put on display. During the sublime 'Numi Pieta' Monastyrska started the phrase with a very gentle color, almost mezza voce, and slowly built up a thrilling crescendo to the climactic A flat. Aida gets two chances to sing this phrase and both times, Monastyrska delivered heart wrenching renditions. During her 'O Patria Mia' in which Aida ponders whether she will ever see her home again, Monastyrska brought a similar gentleness to her phrasing. As she rose toward the high C near the end of the aria, she built a lengthy crescendo, but then delivered the C as a disembodied pianissimo that made the moment sublime.”
“The showstopper of the night was Liudmyla Monastyrska, a Ukrainian soprano who sounded sensational in Lady Macbeth's 'Letter Scene' from Verdi's 'Macbeth.' Monastyrska, who is to make her Metropolitan Opera debut later this month in Verdi’s 'Aïda,' would seem to have all the ingredients for a major career—a rich, potent voice that she deploys with confidence over a wide range. She captured the dangerous abandon of Lady Macbeth’s outpourings, while maintaining firm control over the tricky vocal line. ”
Mike Silverman, Associated Press
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