Canadian soprano star Adrianne Pieczonka returned to London’s Covent Garden last month to play the title role in the Royal Opera’s production of Puccini’s TOSCA. This is Adrienne’s fourth appearance for the company, having debuted as Donna Anna in
Mozart’s DON GIOVANNI in 2002. She also played Floria Tosca in the 2009 film version directed by Frank Zamacona based on the San Francisco Opera production.
Adrienne was in the first of three casts for this season’s Royal Opera staging, conducted by Dan Ettinger and Placido Domingo. Describing her own vocal range as “somewhere between a lyric and a dramatic soprano,” Adrienne is able to include a wide variety of roles in her repertoire and has become internationally celebrated for her interpretations of Wagner, Strauss, Verdi and Puccini.
The German magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ wrote,” Frenetic ovations greeted Adrienne Pieczonka for her supreme performance… clear, powerful with contoured high notes and precise dramatic gestures… the star of the evening.”
I left this sketch of her at the stage door and she not only signed and returned it, but included a nice note: ‘Dear Mark – I am so impressed with your drawing! Fantastic!’… so I guess she liked it.
This is the second sketch I drew of Bulgarian opera soprano Sonya Yoncheva. The first one she signed at the Royal Opera House last summer when she performed Violetta in LA TRAVIATA. It was dedicated to me and signed with her shortened ‘Sonya’ sig. This one I mailed to her agent in Switzerland prior to that and it came back last week with a full autograph in silver sharpie no less.
Sonya is returning to Covent Garden this month to replace Anna Netrebko in the title role of Bellini’s masterpiece NORMA. It’s the second time she has replaced the Russian opera star, after stepping into the role of Marguerite in FAUST in 2014. Sonya will also extend her London season playing Antonia in LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN in November.
One often most sought-after lyric sopranos today, Nicole Cabell returned to Covent Garden this month for two performances as the lead Violetta in the Royal Opera House’s latest season of LA TRAVIATA, a role she previously played in the San Francisco production in 2014. With African American Korean and Caucasian ancestry, Nicole grew up in the Californian beach community of Ventura before gracing the world’s Opera stages. After winning the 2005 ‘BBC Singer of the World’ Competition in Cardiff, she made her London debut at THE PROMS the following year and for the Royal Opera in LA JUIVE at the Barbican.
Nichols signed this drawing I did of her as Violetta at the ROH after her final performance on 19 March.
According to VOGUE magazine, Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva is “Opera’s brightest star” after two remarkable performances at the Metropolitan in New York last winter. Both appearances were not originally scheduled, but fate intervened, propelling her onto one of the world’s most famous stages as a late replacement for both the role of Mimi in LA BOHEME, only five weeks after giving birth to her son and a month later, playing Violetta in Verdi’s LA TRAVIATA.
“Her dizzingly swift and serendipitous ascent to Opera’s Most Buzzed About Soprano” is how VOGUE described her performances.
This was nothing new for Sonya. I first became aware of her prowess last April when she once again replaced the original singer-in this case none other than Anna Netrebko-in the role of Marguerite in Gounod’s FAUST at the Royal Opera House to rave reviews.
She returned to Covent Garden last month for a few performances as Violetta in LA TRAVIATA and signed this portrait study for me.
Hailed as the star of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, young Russian opera singer Venera Gimadieva is one of the most sought after sopranos in Europe.
This sketch is based on Venera in the role of Violetta in Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata at Glyndebourne Opera House in East Sussex, England in July 2014. It followed her UK debut at the 2013 BBC Proms.
Guardian critic Andrew Clements wrote, “She is a soprano of huge presence, compelling to watch with a voice of thrilling security and a special quality to her quieter singing that makes you hang on every note.”
Venera joined conductor Guerassim Voronkov and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra for a celebration of recent works by composers from Tatarstan alongside masterpieces by Tatar descent Sergey Rachmaninoff at the Royal Festival Hall last week, where she took time to sign the drawing.