Sophie Junker 容嘉
After studies in her native Belgium and in London, soprano Sophie Junker burst onto the international scene in 2010 by winning the London Handel Competition, consolidating her rapid rise with victory in the 2012 Cesti Competition at the Innsbruck Early Music Festival.
She now regularly performs with top-flight conductors including Harry Bicket (Dorinda Orlando), Laurence Cummings (Israelite Woman in Handel’s Esther in Göttingen, Aspasia in Alexander Balus and Michal in Saul at the London Handel Festival), Christian Curnyn (Italian Woman in Charpentier’s Médée for ENO, Phoebe in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux), Richard Egarr (Drusilla/Virtu L’Incoronazione di Poppea and Melanto/Fortuna ll Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria), Paul McCreesh (St Matthew Passion, B minor Mass, Purcell’s King Arthur), Christophe Rousset (Erste Dame Die Zauberflöte), and Masaaki Suzuki (Bach cantatas).
Described by Opera magazine as “... irresistibly charming”, Sophie already has an established relation- ship with the Opera Royal de Liège Wallonie (Wanda La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein, title-role in Pau- line Viardot’s Cendrillon) and Angers-Nantes Opéra (Amour Orphée et Eurydice, Constance Dialogues des Carmélites). She made her American operatic début in 2016, singing Cleis in Martini’s Sapho and Hélène in Chabrier’s Une Éducation Manquée (Opera Lafayette, New York and Washington). Further operatic ro- les include Caio in Vivaldi’s Ottone in Villa at the Copenhagen Opera Festival, Proserpine and Euridice in Charpentier’s La Déscente d’Orphée aux enfers (Wigmore Hall, The Hague), and Belinda (Dido and Aeneas, Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik).
On the concert platform, Sophie is a frequent soloist with Concerto Copenhagen and Lars Ulrik Mor- tensen (most recently in Niels Gade’s Erlköningstochter), with La Nuova Musica under David Bates, and with the Belgium-based ensemble Vox Luminis. Last season’s performances included a European tour of Couperin and Delalande with Le Poème Harmonique and Vincent Dumestre, concerts with Jonathan Cohen’s ensemble Arcangelo, Bach’s St John Passion for Ensemble 1704, and Haydn’s Creation with the Rus- sian National Orchestra in Moscow. A keen recitalist, she recently sang a Reynaldo Hahn programme at the Juan March Foundation in Madrid, and has made several appearances at the Oxford Lieder Festival.
This season, Sophie’s lithe and sparkling soprano will be heard singing Mozart in Limoges and Caen (First Lady Die Zauberflöte), Monteverdi’s Vespers in Tokyo for Maasaki Suzuki, Bach’s St Matthew Passion in Leipzig for Paul McCreesh, Cupid in Purcell’s King Arthur in Belgium and the Netherlands for Vox Luminis, a concert tour in the Netherlands with Holland Baroque. She will make her role début as Zerlina in Don Giovanni at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Moscow, as well as Sigismondo in Arminio for the Göttingen International Handel Festival. She will sing more concerts with Julien Chauvin’s Le Concert de la Loge, she will present a Handel programme in Budapest conducted by Jonathan Cohen and she collaborate for the first time with Chœur de Chambre de Namur and Leonardo García Alarcón, with concerts in Namur and Versailles.
Her discography includes Sacrifices (Figlia in Carissimi’s Jephte with La Nuova Musica for Harmonia Mun- di - Sophie was described as “ ... the disc’s star turn” by Gramophone magazine), Handel’s Esther with Laurence Cummings (Accent), Grétry’s L’Épreuve Villageoise (Naxos), Bach’s Secular Cantatas with the Bach Collegium Japan under Masaaki Suzuki (BIS), and most recently, Stravaganza d’amore with Pygmalion un- der Raphaël Pichon (Harmonia Mundi).