A “rare soprano whose strength fills the hall in which she appears”, Israeli lyric soprano Raya Gonen offers a spectacular combination of vocal beauty, dynamic interpretation, and physical charm to each role she undertakes. Hailed by the Alexandria Gazette as a “diva par excellence” and by the Washington Post for her “spectacular upper register”, Ms. Gonen has enjoyed great success on both the opera and the concert stages of Israel and now in the United States.

Ms. Gonen’s U.S. performances have included three leading roles with Opera Camerata of Washington, including productions of Donizetti’s Marino Faliero, for which the Washington Post praised her “dazzling performance”. Other performances have included Elcia in Rossini’s rarely performed opera Mose in Egitto and the title role in Arrieta’s Marina, the first zarzuela. She made her New Yok City debut as Mimi in La Boheme in the Trinity Church “Opera at Noon” series, directed by Janet Bookspan; and was featured in a concert of opera highlights with Opera International Company, founded by Licia Albanese in Princeton NJ, which was broadcast over the Public Television Network in New Jersey.

Despite her eclectic performances in the U.S., Ms. Gonen is no stranger to traditional repertoire. She has appeared with the Israeli National Opera as Norina in Don Pasquale, Mimi in La Boheme, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Micaela in Carmen, and Violetta in La Traviata. Her Violetta earned special praise when she stepped in on two hours’ notice after the scheduled soprano became ill. The Jerusalem Post wrote, “The evening belonged to Raya Gonen.”

She also gave a memorable performance as Lucy in Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Telephone, broadcast on Israeli television, and was chosen to represent the Israeli Broadcasting Authority in the prestigious “Cardiff Singer of the World Competition” in Wales.
Her performance in the competition concert was broadcast in 10 European countries by the BBC. Following this competition, she was invited to perform Chopin songs in a concert honoring Polish President Lech Walensa, upon his visit to Israel.

Ms. Gonen’s recital repertoire is extensive and includes a special expertise in the contemporary music of her native Israel. In frequent demand as a recitalist, her programs have included an all Grieg recital, sung in Norwegian, in Oslo, Norway in the presence of the Norwegian Prime Minister.


Raya with Placido Domingo At the Israeli National Opera Awards ceremony.

Raya in the "Merry Widow" by
In a master class with Sherill Milnes

In May, 1998, Ms. Gonen’s recording of contemporary vocal music by Israeli composers, entitled “Vocal Jewels from Israel” was released on Centaur Records. This historic album is the first recording devoted to this valuable repertoire.

Ms. Gonen is a graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. She attended the Israeli Vocal Institute and studied in Munich, Milan, and at the Santa Barbara Vocal Institute. Her numerous honors include the Edis de Phillip Award, presented to her by Placido Domingo, and The Israel Cultural Foundation Grant. Her teachers and coaches have included Nethania Dovrath, Prof. Raffaele Arie, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Licia Albanese, Jaonna Levy,Natali Limonick and Gary Magby.

©2008 Contact