Esther Tonea

Esther Tonea

(Buford, Georgia)

2020–21 Season: The Adlers: Live at the Drive-In

Praised for her “dramatic excellence, flexibility, and beauty of her singing” by Classical Voice America, Romanian-American soprano Esther Tonea has appeared in concert and recital across the United States, Canada, and Europe. As Diana in the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s If I Were You, Tonea stunned audiences and critics alike with “magnificent singing — an ardent, tonally plush performance.” She has also dazzled as Fiordiligi with her “gleaming tones and impeccable dynamic control” (San Francisco Chronicle).

No stranger to sacred music, Tonea has appeared as soprano soloist in Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis, Haydn’s The Creation, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate, Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio, and Mozart’s Requiem in D minor. She has worked with many prestigious artists including Richard Bonynge, Patricia Racette, Jane Eaglen, Aprile Millo, Jake Heggie, Martin Katz, and Warren Jones. In 2019, Tonea was a resident artist, teaching masterclasses, and performing in recital at Tennessee Wesleyan University.

Tonea’s dramatic flair is best highlighted with her competitive pedigree: she was a finalist for the Ryan Opera Center, Semifinalist for the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition, and winner of the New York Lyric Opera National Vocal Competition, Hennings-Fischer Young Artist Competition, Dorothy Van Waynen Competition, and East Bay Opera League Competition. Tonea is a District Winner and two-time recipient of the Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a three-time scholarship recipient of the Holt Memorial Competition, and a Presser Scholar. She is a winner of the Concerto Competitions at the University of Georgia and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Tonea is a current Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera. She holds a Master of Music in Voice from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees in Vocal Performance and Cello Performance from the University of Georgia. In February 2021 she workshopped Jake Heggie’s newest opera, Intelligence, as Callie Van Lew. To follow Ms. Tonea’s future performances, visit