Swedish soprano Erika Sunnegårdh, who has had such an amazing story it could rightfully rival that of Cinderella, is leaving New York City for Vienna, Austria. Erika had worked as a waitress for many years, when she made her operatic debut in 2004 in the role of Turandot at the Malmö Opera, which was followed by her 2006 much-publicized Met debut as Leonore in Beethoven’s “Fidelio.”

You find our original interview with Erika here: Debut long overdue

Since then, Erika has performed roles such as Chrysotemis at the Grand Teâtre Genève, Leonore in “Fidelio” at Oper Frankfurt, Senta in “Der Fliegende Holländer” with the Atlanta Opera, and Paulina in the world premiere of Jonas Forssell’s “Death and the Maiden” in Malmö.
But time has now come for Erika to pack her bags. A brunch was arranged in her honor by her good friends Anders Knutsson and his wife Doris. Anders is an established Swedish artist who lives in Brooklyn. And for many years, Erika was the Lucia at the Knutsson's Lucia celebrations in their Brooklyn loft.
“This has been a special space for special moments,” Erika said about their home. “It’s a pleasure when you can marry singing and art, the light and the dark.”
About moving to Austria, she said, “Unfortunately, in the USA, the arts aren’t in the best of shape, and opera is no exception. There’s simply more work there and that’s where I need to be.”
She also talked about her new voice teacher, Glenys Linos, who lives in Vienna and who has helped further develop her voice: “My lifeline to better practice,” Erika called her. “I need to be closer to her."
Next up for the popular soprano are performances of Strauss’ “Salome” in Tokyo, Japan (in October) followed by Janacek’s “Jenufa” at the Malmö Opera in Sweden (in November).
Nordstjernan wishes Erika all the best for her new life in Vienna.
For more information about Erika Sunnegårdh and her whereabouts:
www.erikasunnegardh.com