“Fomina was a totally convincing Isabelle, pure of voice and totally believable in terms of sheer beauty. She is scheduled for further appearances at Covent Garden in the 2013/14 season, and I hope to reacquaint myself with her then. She can project tenderness (the act II duet, ‘Avec bonte voyez mon peine’), yet she can also harness her abilities to generate truly exciting coloratura.”
Seen and Heard International
Rising star soprano Sofia Fomina made a sensational debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in December 2012 as Isabelle in Laurent Pelly’s new production of Robert Le Diable:
“Fomina made one of the strongest impressions in the cast. She negotiated Isabelle’s challenges fearlessly, in a sweet, well-controlled soprano with a pleasing, delicately fluttering vibrato” (Hugo Shirley, Opera Magazine)
Shortly afterwards, she made debuts with the Bayerische Staatsoper and Zurich Opernhaus and was nominated by German magazine Opernwelt as Nachwuchskünstlerin des Jahres (Newcomer of the year), following her debut as Gilda in a new production of Rigoletto at Saarbrücken Staatstheater.
Born in Russia, Fomina studied at the Orlovsky Music College and the Gnesin Academy of Music, Moscow. Her career began at the Novosibirsk Opera Theatre, where she sang roles including Despina Così fan tutte and Susanna Le nozze di Figaro. She later joined the ensemble of the State Theatre of Saarbrucken where she sang roles including Queen of the Night Die Zauberflöte, Giulietta I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Zerbinetta Ariadne auf Naxos, Rosina Il barbiere di Siviglia and Gretel Hansel und Gretel.
On the concert platform she has performed with conductors such as Yuri Bashmet, Will Humburg, Georg Petrou, Konstantin Trinks, Konrad Junghänel, Rory Macdonald and Teodor Currentzis. In 2010 she was awarded a grant by the Wagner Association in Bayreuth and received an invitation from Vladimir Jurowski to perform Janáček’s The Eternal Gospel with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall.
A dedicated recitalist, she is a prize-winner of the ninth International edition of the Mozart Competition in Salzburg and has performed in Japan, Latvia and Germany. Her repertoire includes lieder by Schubert, Mahler, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Berg, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky.
Last season’s highlights included Onoria in a new production of Gluck’s Ezio, Nanetta in a new production of Verdi’s Falstaff, Queen of the Night Die Zauberflöte and Sophie Werther, all at Oper Frankfurt, where she is an ensemble member. She made her debut at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, as Marzelline in a concert version of Fidelio and was heard performing Mussorgsky’s The Nursery and Mahler’s Symphony No.4 on tour in Ferrara, Bologna and Frankfurt with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Gerald Finley and Vladimir Jurowski. At the end of the season she returned to the Royal Opera House as Naiad in Ariadne auf Naxos.
In 2014/15 she makes her debut with Opéra de Paris as Blondchen in a new production of Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail and returns to Royal Opera House with a role debut as Jemmy in the new Damiano Micheletto production of Guillaume Tell with Sir Antonio Pappano. In Frankfurt she can be heard as Blondschen, Zerbinetta and Musetta. Further ahead, engagements include leading roles at Bayerische Staastoper, Royal Opera House and Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse.
September 2014 / 461 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.
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Naiad Ariadne auf Naxos / Royal Opera House
Cond. Sir Antonio Pappano / dir. Christof Loy
“Sofia Fomina, Karen Cargill and Kiandra Howarth blend exceptionally well as the nymphs.”
John Allison, Daily Telegraph, July 2014
“In their cradle song-like ‘Töne, töne süsse Stimme’…Sofia Fomina (Naiad), Karen Cargill (Driad) and Kiandra Howarth (Echo) provide sensitive contrast to Bacchus heroic music.”
Agnes Kory, Musical Criticism, July 2014
“The three nymphs – Sofia Fomina, Karen Cargill and Kiandra Howarth – are excellent”
Richard Fairman, Financial Times, June 2014
“one of the two true stars of the evening’s longer half for me, [was] Russian light soprano Sofia Fomina whose personality in the Greek-chorus nymphs’ trio is matched by the luxury casting of Karen Cargill… With Kiandra Howarth just fine as Echo to their Naiad and Dryad, the Rhinemaidenish passages are the musical highlights of the opera Ariadne auf Naxos.”
David Nice, The Arts Desk, June 2014
Onoria Ezio / Oper Frankfurt
Con. Christian Curnyn / dir. Vincent Boussard
“Strong voices were offered by the two rivals for the hand of Ezio, Fulvia and Onoria, sung by the fabulous Paula Murrihy and the more subtle, but no less trenchant Sofia Fomina.”
FR Online, November 2013
“Sofia Fomina equips Valentiniano’s sister Onoria with her luminous soprano and presents herself as a credible rival to Fulvia…"
Thomas Molke, Online Musik Magazin, November 2013
Gilda in Verdi Rigoletto / Opernhaus Zürich
Dir. Tatjana Gürbaca
“Psychologically, Gürbaca delved deepest into Gilda, sung by last-minute replacement Russian soprano Sofia Fomina for influenza-stricken Aleksandra Kurzak. Fomina – a genuine, unaffected, sensitive singer – made her character even more compelling as an unremarkable, sheltered girl crushing on a boy so far out of her league that her myopia was laughable. During Pirgu’s peerless “La donna è mobile,” she was so hypnotised by his charm that its sinister message fell on deaf ears... “Caro nome” showed off Fomina’s flexible, gilded, accurate coloratura full of clean trills and meditative focus.”
Auditorium, June 2013
Gilda in Verdi Rigoletto / Saarbrucken
Cond. Toshiyuki Kamioka / dir. Dagmar Schlingmann
“Sofia Fomina was a superlative Gilda, whose dark soprano united ease and blooming radiance...”
Das Opernglas, June 2013
“Gorgeous of course was Sofia Fomina as Gilda. Her soprano voice is clear, full of dramatic intensity and direction in Gilda’s despair. Especially when father and daughter sing the duet ("Figlia - mio padre" and later "Tutte le fixed"), which are delicious moments.”
Oliver Schwambach, Saarbruecker Zeitung, April 2013
Isabelle in Meyebeer Robert le diable / Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
cond. Daniel Oren / dir. Laurent Pelly
“Fomina made one of the strongest impressions in the cast. Fomina for her part, negotiated Isabelle’s challenges fearlessly, in a sweet, well-controlled soprano with a pleasing, delicately fluttering vibrato. Her Act 4 plea to Robert was meltingly done, and the coloratura presented her with few problems.”
Hugo Shirley, Opera, February 2013
“His love interest is the Sicilian Princess Isabelle, sung on this occasion by young Russian soprano Sofia Famina (replacing Jennifer Rowley and making her Royal Opera debut). Fomina was a totally convincing Isabelle, pure of voice and totally believable in terms of sheer beauty. She is scheduled for further appearances at Covent Garden in the 2013/14 season, and I hope to reacquaint myself with her then. She can project tenderness (the act II duet, “Avec bonte voyez mon peine”), yet she can also harness her abilities to generate truly exciting coloratura”.
Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International, December 2012
“Sofia Fomina, a singer entirely new to me, offered a ravishing performance as Isabelle, the Sicilian princess. Tone and line were impeccable throughout”.
boulezian.blogspot.de, December 2012
“Given the problems that the Royal Opera had casting Isabelle, its choice of last minute substitute in Sofia Fomina was inspired to say the least. A wonderful voice in both its tone and flexibility and who provided the only spine tingling moment of the evening with her "Robert, toi que j'aime".
Russel Burdekin, Donizetti Society, December 2012
“Sofia Fomina was an outstanding Queen of the Night: every note was focused, and her acrobatics in the higher tessitura were perfectly pitched, gleaming and full of skill. Her singing did not degenerate into a circus performance; she showed both soul and charisma. And her character interpretation was convincing, pitching the Queen somewhere between matriarch and goddess, her voice beginning to break with realistic emotion towards the end”.
Franz Herkommer, November 2012
“Sofia Fomina was especially well received in the role of Blonde, appearing in the Prologue as the prototype of a cunning Eastern European working in a German home, where it is gradually becoming unclear who is exploiting whom. Her cheerful, beguiling and technically brilliant voice won the audience over. Saarbrücken knows a good thing when it sees it”.
Franz Herkommer, Opernnetz.de, September 2012
“There was one star in this performance: Sofia Fomina as Blonde was a force to be reckoned with. Her voice was lively and clear but also expressive, and she played the part of a strong, impetuous woman perfectly. She is a rare ray of hope”.
Oliver Schwambach, Saarbruecker-zeitung.de, September 2012
“But first of all, let’s talk about the extraordinary voices. A number of great singers gave the performance a particular sheen. For example, Sofia Fomina as Théone demonstrated remarkable expressiveness when Théone is gripped by fear of abandonment, or raging with envy. And Fomina sang with such intensity when Théone was overcome with despair”.
Oliver Schwambach, Saarbruecker-zeitung, December 2010