Alex Penda, also known as Alexandrina Pendatchanska, was born in Sofia in a family of renowned Bulgarian musicians. At the age of 19 she won important singing competitions and made her international breakthrough with her debut as Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor) in Bilbao. Alex Penda quickly established herself in the international opera scene and is a regular guest at the world’s famoust opera houses, such as Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Berlin State Opera, German Opera Berlin, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Theatre La Monnaie Brussels, Boshoi Theatre Moscow, Teatro San Carlo Naples, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées Paris, Lincoln Center New York, Opera Houston, Santa Fé Opera, as well as Washington Opera.
Her vast vocal range brought her to a repertoire that enlist more than 60 roles, including Agrippina at State Opera Berlin, Elisabetta (Maria Stuarda) at Opera Toronto, Bolshoi Theatre Moscow and Philharmonie Cologne, Arminda in La finita giardinera at Theater an der Wien and Berlin State Opera, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte in Paris, Lisbon and Brussels, Helene in Les vêpres siciliennes at Teatro San Carlo Naples, Nedda in Pagliacci at Vienna State Opera, Gorislawa in Ruslan and Ludmila at Bolshoi Theatre Moscow, Circe in Gluck’s Telemaco at Theater an der Wien, Salome at Theatre St. Gallen, Eboli in Don Carlo at Opera Oviedo, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at Hamburg State Opera, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (Festival Aix-en-Provence, China tour with Freiburg Baroque Orchestra). At Theatre La Monnaie Brussels and Philharmonie Cologne, she was seen as Elettra in Idomeneo. She also sang Vitellia in the production of La Clemenza di Tito at Theatre La Monnaie Brussels and Chryothemis in Elektra at Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari. At Theatre St. Gallen she was seen as Carmen, furthermore she sang Leonore in Fidelio at Opera Santa Fé, Sundry in Parcifal in Tokyo, the title role in L’incoronazione di Poppea at Theater an der Wien and Gassman’s Opera seria at La Monnaie Brussels.
She collaborated with Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, L’Orchestra Sinfonica della Rai, Philadelphia Orchestra, L’Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Russian National Orchestra, ORF Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, L’Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Rom, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Concerto Köln, Ensemble Matheus, Complesso Barocco and Academy for Old Music.
Alex Penda worked under the baton of 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 and Dmitri Tcherniakov.
Apart from her busy operatic calendar, Alex Penda’s repertoire ranges from early music to 20th-century pieces, from bel canto and Verdi to Beethoven, Bizet, and Wagner, including Verdi’s Messa da requiem, Rossini’s Stabat mater and Petite messe solenelle, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Honnegger’s Le roi David.
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 as BBC Music Magazine Award, Gramophone’s Editor Choice and two Grammy nominations (Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording). 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 Antonida (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 (Roberto Devereux), Lucrezia Contarini (I due foscari), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Alcina (Orlando paladino) and Petite messe solennelle with Gewandhaus Leipzig under Riccardo Chailly are available on DVD.
Photo: artist’s archive