Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla 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.
The 2018-19 season sees Ms. Monastyrska star in new productions of La forza del destino conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano at Covent Garden and Tosca at the Gran Teatre del Liceu. She also makes her role debut as Leonora in Il trovatore at the Staatsoper Berlin and returns to the Deutsche Oper, Berlin as Tosca, as well as the Wiener Staatsoper as Abigaille in Nabucco. She will also sing opera gala concerts in Greece with Dimitri Platanias and Latvia to celebrate the Latvian National Opera’s centennial.
Ms. Monastyrska’s began her 2017-2018 season with her Los Angeles Opera debut as Abigaille in Verdi’s Nabucco conducted by James Conlon and opposite Placido Domingo. She also made her role debut as the title role of Bellini’s Norma at the Houston Grand Opera led by Patrick Summers. She returned to Germany for two productions with the Deutsche Oper Berlin where she sang the title role of Verdi’s Tosca and the role of Abigaille in Nabucco. Her season closed in Barcelona at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, where she made her role debut as the title role of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut.Read more
Recent season highlights with the Opera National de Paris include the title roles of Tosca and Aida; with the Metropolitan Opera the title roles of Tosca and Aida, Abigaille in Nabucco with Placido Domingo, and Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana; with Deutsche Oper Berlin the title role of Tosca, and 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.
“… the soprano (Monastyrska) ticked all the vocal boxes… The top C fermata on “amor” at the end of the concertante section in Act Two seemed to go on forever and sent the voice-crazy Catalans wild… Manon’s abject contempt when she mocks her aged benefactor with “Guardatevi” showed Monastyrska was a fine actress in her own right…Sola, perduta, abbandonata had real anguish with a killer B flat on “non voglio morir… It was the intelligent interpretation and vocal assurance of Liudmyla Monastyrska.”
“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 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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