© Mat Hennek
Alex Penda, also known as Alexandrina Pendatchanska, was born in Sofia in a family of renowned Bulgarian musicians. She started her piano studies at 5 and graduated from the National School of Music with piano and singing. Her vocal teacher was her mother – the internationally acclaimed soprano Valerie Popova. Alex Penda made her debut at 17 as Violetta and at age of 19 she had won the "Antonin Dvorak" Singing Competition, the International Vocal Competition in Bilbao and the UNISA singing competition in Pretoria. She was 19 when she made her debut as Lucia di Lammermoor in Bilbao. Her vast vocal range brought her to a repertoire that enlist more then 60 roles – from early music (Poppea, Agrippina) to 20th century (Salome, Chrysothemis), from Belcanto and Verdi (Semiramide, Ermione, La Straniera, Elisabetta, Luisa Miller, Eboli) to Beethoven (Fidelio), Bizet (Carmen) and Wagner (Kundry).
In the highly acclaimed Mozart's recordings of Rene Jacobs for Harmonia Mundi her renditions of Vitellia, Donna Elvira, Elettra, Arminda have been regarded as ultimate interpretations. Those recordings received numerous awards, among which BBC Music Magazine Award, Gramophone's Editor Choice, two Grammy nominations (Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording) etc. Alex Penda’s discography also enlist Handel's Agrippina for Harmonia Mundi (Grammy nomination for Best Opera Recording 2013), Rossini's Semiramide for Naxos, Terradellas' Sesostri, Glinka’s Life for the Tzar for Sony, Rachmaninov’s The Bells for Decca, Donizetti’s Parisina D’Este for Dynamics, Sartorio’s Giulio Cesare for ORF as well as two aria recital albums. Her performances as Elisabetta, Lucrezia Contarini, Donna Elvira, Alcina and Petite Messe Solennelle with Gewandhaus Leipzig under Riccardo Chailly are available on DVD.
In the resent seasons Alex Penda appeared in Berlin Staatsoper (Agrippina), Bruxelles La Monnaie (Elettra, Vitellia), Vienna Staatsoper (Nedda), Toronto (Elisabetta), Aix-en-Provence (Donna Elvira), Theater an der Wien (Circe), Hamburg (Donna Anna), Santa Fe (Fidelio), Tokyo (Kundry) and at the opening production of the renewed Bolshoi Theater in Moscow of Glinka's opera Ruslan and Ludmila. In Moscow she also sung Salome and Britten's War Requiem with London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.
She has collaborated with conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Myun-Wyun Chung, Charles Dutoit, Jesus Lopos-Cobos, Bruno Bartoletti, Carlo Rizzi, Ivor Bolton, Daniel Oren, René Jacobs, Vladimir Jurowski, Mark Minkowsky and has been part of some outstanding productions of directors such as Sir Jonathan Miller, Hans Neuenfels, Christof Loy, Dmitri Tcherniakov. Some highlights of Alex Penda's future engagements include Salome in Santa Fe Opera, L'incoronazione di Poppea in Theater an der Wien, Opera Seria in Bruxelles La Monnaie and Mefistofele (Margherita) in Baden Baden.
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