Médée: untamed passion destroying lives.

It has been a long time since I wrote my previous review of the opera – even if I have not stopped opera travel, it became less frequent and due to several personal reasons, especially departure of my mother last spring, who was opera fan as well and keen supporter of my opera adventures, there are quite a lot privately published reviews just for my historiography.

Nevertheless, this was my first opera trip in 2020, and since autumn 2018 when “Médée” was premiered and I cancelled my trip due to the flu, it was finally my chance to see Sonya Yoncheva in the title role.

Sonya Yoncheva and members of ensemble. Photo Bernd Uhlig

Sonya Yoncheva as Médée is a vocal and dramatic powerhouse as the role and production includes quite a lot of spoken text and she is able to add dramatics and tension through it. Her voice has matured after second child and now her chest register is surprisingly deep and resonant, at the same time her top notes are powerful, even if not so silvery bright, thus giving impression of unlimited vocal powers, filling auditorium of a beautiful Staatsoper effortlessly. Her appearance on stage in the middle of act 1 immediately focuses audience attention to her and keeps it until the last note of the score, when the curtain is closed and she dying desperately holds on it, mesmerising the spectators.

Sonya Yoncheva as Medee.Photo Bernd Uhlig

Her partners on the stage fade away under charisma of Yoncheva. Francesco Demuro as Jason sounded insecure in Act 1 and gradually warmed up later on, while his top notes come out with somehow constricted sound as overexerted. He tried to match Yoncheva dramatically, not all of the scenes came across convincingly.

Ian Paterson as Creon was a pleasant surprise, and carried out his role with grace and competence. Both Marina Prudenskaya and Slavka Zamecnikova were well cast in their relatively small but important roles.

The hero of the night undoubtedly was Oksana Lyniv, leading Staatskapelle Berlin with great energy and sensitivity, creating vivid picture based on Cherubini’s score. It was a pleasure to watch her in the pit, and the audience gave her standing ovation – almost as loud as to incomparable Médée of the night.

Tomorrow – some fun with Strauss and Der Rosenkavalier. Happy to back at WordPress – and speak to you all soon!

Oksana Lyniv and the cast.


Staatsoper Berlin, February 15th, 2020.

MUSIC BY Luigi Cherubini

TEXT BY François-Benoît Hoffman


MÉDÉE Sonya Yoncheva

JASON Francesco Demuro

CRÉON Iain Paterson

DIRCÉ Slávka Zámečníková

NÉRIS Marina Prudenskaya



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