Anna Tomowa-Sintow is undeniably one of the leading vocal stars on the operatic stage today. After her musical training in Sofia, the Bulgarian-born soprano made her debut at the Leipzig Opera. In Leipzig and later at the Berlin Staatsoper, she mastered an enormous repertoire ranging from the great lyrical-dramatic roles of Verdi, Puccini and the “Verismo” to the German roles of Mozart, Wagner and Strauss. Ever since her international breakthrough in Verdi’s “Requiem” in Paris, Anna Tomowa-Sintow has celebrated triumphs at all the leading opera houses and festivals of the world and with the most prestigious conductors and soloists of our time.
She worked with Herbert von Karajan for seventeen years, a collaboration that gave rise to a uniquely creative and mutually enriching oeuvre on the stage, in the concert hall and in the recording studio. Her recordings with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras have set standards for generations of singers. She received two Grammy awards for her recordings of Ariadne and Don Giovanni (Donna Anna).
Parallel to her stage career, she has also been pursuing an active concert agenda which is documented on CD and film, in addition to her many opera recordings. “Kammersängerin” of the Vienna and Berlin State Operas, Tomowa-Sintow is renowned for her incomparable artistry and stylistic versatility. Whether performing Italian or German roles, she forms each part with care and attention, giving each its own unmistakable profile. Testifying to her interpretative mastery are her role debuts of the 1990s: Strauss’ “Die Ägyptische Helena”, Jaroslavna in “Prince Igor”, Norma, Sieglinde in “Die Walküre”, Santuzza in “Cavalleria rusticana”, Heliane in “Das Wunder der Heliane”, Salome and the Kaiserin (Frau ohne Schatten). Anna Tomowa-Sintow sang another debut role for the celebrated reopening of the Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona in 1999: her first Turandot. In the spring of 2000 she triumphed once again as Marschallin at London’s Royal Opera House Covent Garden. The artist closed the millennium with the Kaiserin (Die Frau ohne Schatten) at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Maddalena (Andrea Chenier) in Spain. In 2001 she gave several concerts of the Verdi Requiem throughout Europe and special gala concerts for the Verdi year in Milan and Athens for the 10th anniversary of the Megaron. She celebrated the 35th anniversary of her stage and performing debut in a concert performance of “Aida” at the Opera in Sofia on September 23, 2001. During the same year a stamp was released in the USA with her as Desdemona honouring the Verdi anniversary.
In 2002 she went on a recital tour through Europe, amongst which Barcelona and London’s Wigmore Hall. She also gave operatic concerts and a series of performances of Verdis „Un ballo in maschera” and „Don Carlo”, with which she was much cheered as Elisabetta in Tokyo at the end of the year. In 2004 she gave her debut as the Foreign Princess in “Rusalka”. In the following years she returned to Japan on numerous occasions, giving operatic arias concerts, recitals and Strauss’ “Four last songs”. All of these concerts were recorded for radio and television. She has been giving masterclasses and concerts (recitals, operatic arias concerts and the Wesendonk Lieder) at the Kirishima International Music festival as well as at the Athens Concert Hall, the Megaron. Anna Tomowa-Sintow celebrated the 80th anniversary of the opera house in Stara Zagora (her home town and the oldest opera house in Bulgaria) with a big gala concert and also sang the Countess in a first ever concert version of “Le nozze di Figaro” in Sofia in honour of the 250th Mozart anniversary year. In 2007 she sang Sieglinde with triumphant success in a concert version of Walküre’s 1st act and together with the NHK Symphony Orchestra she performed Strauss’ “Four last songs” in Tokyo (live TV transmission) and closed the year with her very first Christmas concert together with a boy’s choir and orchestra. In 2008 she appeared for the first time at the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival with a frenetically cheered recital and subsequent masterclass.
In 2009 and 2010 she gave some highly successful Christmas concerts together with the prestigious Tölzer boy’s choir and orchestra at the Athens Concert Hall, the Megaron, as well as in Japan and was also giving masterclasses in Japan and Greece and at the renowned Musikhochschule in Rostock. She is a regular member of the jury of many prestigious singing competitions amongst which also the Mirijam Helin singing competition in Helsinki.
In 2011 she was once again a prominent jury member of the “Queen Elisabeth singing competition” in Brussels and gave masterclasses at the Salzburg summer academy of the Mozarteum, the Schleswig-Holstein music festival and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. At the end of the year Anna Tomowa-Sintow gave a festive concert at the re-opened opera house of her native town Stara Zagora as well as a further masterclass at the national music academy in Sofia on the occasion of its 90th anniversary and concluded the year with a great gala concert together with her students at the National Opera house.
“The honeyed-silk sheen of Tomowa’s soprano, with it’s gorgeously musky lower register and seductive beat, is for me one of the joys of our operatic age… Purely vocally there were countless moments to treasure: the sugar-sweet sustained G-sharp on the ‘Silberne Rose’ ; the long-held ‘in dem Wie’ , and infinitely expressive pause before ‘da liegt der ganze Unterschied’; above all the trio…which built to a climax…with a fierce crescendo through the A-flat and a fortissimo B-natural that must have set every chandelier in the house rattling. … Those great dark eyes spoke volumes when she reproved her hairdresser, and at the first-act curtain when she gazed motion-less into the auditorium, holding the house breathless. … One last memory: the change in tone color between ‘Er soll jetzt gehn’, and ‘Er soll mich lassen’ in the first finale – what tenderness and regret! A great, great performance.”
Rodney Milnes – Opera
“The performance reached it’s musical apex, as all great ones must, in the famous third-act trio, where Anna Tomowa-Sintow, as the Marschallin, gently voiced her resolve to renounce her young lover… I doubt that neither of the singers in the past has created as warm, wise or immensely dignified a portrait as Tomowa-Sintow. … she made the princess’ obsession with aging and her philosophical acceptance of love’s passing understandable and undeniably poignant. She sang richly, sustaining the long phrases with a generous, steady soprano, bringing remarkable verbal point and bittersweet pathos to the first-act monoloque. Her farewell to Octavian at the inn was a textbook example of great operatic acting.”
John von Rhein – Chicago Tribune
“Standing head and shoulders above everyone was the wonderfully distinguished and patrician Anna Tomowa-Sintow as the Marschallin. A beautiful Junoesque woman, she moved and behaved like a well-born princess. Every emotional transition registered with the character, as she listened and reacted with consummate dignity and grandeur. She used the text pointedly, while pouring out a stream of gorgeous, satiny sound, culminating in a deeply felt, radiant opening to the trio of the last act. … Thank goodness for the show – saving Tomowa-Sintow. The show belonged to her.”
Jason T. McVicker
“Anna Tomowa-Sintow is the kind of Marschallin you dream of, a woman too old to be young and too young to be old. The developement of her character and moods…is a masterful achievement. She can sing pages in which the voice of Lotte Lehmann will always ring in my private ear, and achieve something that is unmistakably high art and distinctively her own, yet perfectly in harmony with her great predecessor.”
Rober C. Marsh – Chicago Sun Times
“And speaking of the utterly enchanting Anna Tomowa-Sintow, I have been thoroughly entranced by her Marschallin in Karajan’s 1984 Salzburger Festspiele. Such a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice…what a voice!”
The Met Opera Guild – James C. Fretz – on Anna Tomowa-Sintow and her recording of “Der Rosenkavalier” (Marschallin) under Herbert von Karajan
“Anna-Tomowa-Sintow made a most welcome return to the Royal Opera. The part of the Empress is ideally suited to the burnish gold of a voice at its peak.”
Graeme Kay – Opera Now
“There is some exceptionally fine singing, especially from Anna Tomowa-Sintow as the Empress, the shadowless woman of the title. I have no wish to be accused of sexism, but there is a vibrancy to her clean, lissome soprano that breathes the very essence of femininity, allied to a dignity of bearing and an indefinable spiritual purity that shines from her every gesture. And she matches Haitink in musical instinct, pouring forth phrase after sculpted phrase of sumptuous beauty throughout.”
Rodney Milnes – The Times
“…Anna Tomowa-Sintow is spell-binding in the title role…when she came to her moment of decision in Act 3, her soprano burst through the orchestra like burnished gold. She is a treasurable artist, heart-meltingly vulnerable and humane in the opera’s pivotal role.”
Hugh Canning – The Sunday Times
“Anna Tomowa-Sintow is a radiant, captivatingly humane, infinitely compassionate Empress.”
Robert Henderson – The Daily Telegraph
“The central role of the Empress suits Anna Tomowa-Sintow’s technique and professional stature ideally. Her interpretation grew in conviction and persuasiveness as the over four-hour-long opera progressed, until the deeply moving revelations of the scene with the almost stone Emperor. This epic, beautiful performance is the best thing Tomowa-Sintow has done here.
Tom Sutcliffe – The Guardian
“Her voice, in prime condition, fills out the line with a natural amplitude that betokens a wonderful directness of stage personality. I love her uncloying tenderness in the little scene with Barak, and the unmannered nobility of her demeneour in the Trial – the climatic spoken outburst, usually cut, is superbly handled.”
Max Lopert – The Financial Times
“Anna Tomowa-Sintow’s Empress, freezingly beautiful, meltingly expressive in front of her stone husband.”
Tom Sutcliff – Opera News
“The last truly successful Aida in the grand manner was Anna Tomowa-Sintow, who was paired with Pavarotti in his first MET performances as Radames, and a wonderful pair they made. She had the voice, the technique and enough of the style to make a total success of the role.”
The Met Opera Guild – on Anna Tomowa-Sintow’s performances of “Aida” at the New York Metropolitan Opera
“… it was Anna Tomowa-Sintow at whose feet one would have wanted to scatter roses. What a Marschallin!”
“Anna Tomowa-Sintow, a ‘grande dame’ of nobility and distinction”
“Tomowa-Sintow is breathtaking as Heliane! The aria “Ich ging zu ihm”, as sung by Anna Tomowa-Sintow …. I don’t know what it is about this aria, but I always get a lump in my throat whenever I hear it.”
The Met Opera Guild – James C. Fretz – on Anna Tomowa-Sintow and her recording of Korngold’s “Das Wunder der Heliane”