Opera star Sonya Yoncheva is launching a record label to try to connect her art to the new generation.

Sonya Yoncheva, 41, is a soprano from Bulgaria, and has sung in many of the largest operatic venues and productions of the last ten years. In 2021 alone, she sang in the Metropolitan Opera as well as 23 other stages in 14 countries.

She loves opera deeply, and worries about its future, and the future of classical music as a performance art.

“My son, if I ask him, he always says, ‘I want to be like Ronaldo.’ And later, if I ask my girl, she will say, ‘I want to be Lady Gaga and Beyoncé,’” the Bulgarian singer explained ahead of Saturday’s new production premiere of Giordano’s “Fedora” at the Metropolitan Opera. “They really don’t associate with the classical music artists. Times are changing.”

Her daughter, who is three, doesn’t associate her mom with Madame Butterfly or Carmen. She thinks she’s more like Elsa from Frozen. “Because I’m dressed like a princess and I sing,” says Yoncheva.

In February, Yoncheva will be releasing “The Courtesan” on her own label, SY11. She shaped the production, from the choice of orchestra and conductor down to the cover art, to appeal as much as possible to the future singers of today.

“I never really had the chance to guide my project from first step to the last step,” she said. “They were always a very good team with me, but I never felt free,” she continued, referring to Sony, which produced and released all of her previous albums.

“She is one of our most important artists,” Met general manager Peter Gelb said of opera star Yoncheva. “She’s a wonderful actress and a great singer. She is the kind of the artist that the Met needs more than ever these days as we try to make opera more appealing to a broader audience. It’s extremely challenging because the core opera audience is much smaller than it once was.”

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