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 and Sigismondo in Handel’s Arminio 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), Masaaki Suzuki (Bach cantatas, Monteverdi’s Vespers), and Stefano Montanari (Zerlina Don Giovanni).
Described by Opera magazine as “… irresistibly charming”, Sophie already has an established relationship with the Opera Royal de Liège Wallonie (Wanda La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein, title-role in Pauline 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 roles 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 Mortensen, La Nuova Musica under David Bates, Belgium-based ensemble Vox Luminis, Le Concert de la Loge under Julien Chauvin, Le Poème Harmonique under Vincent Dumestre and Arcangelo under Jonathan Cohen. She performed Bach’s St John Passion for Ensemble 1704, Haydn’s Creation with the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, and Lully’s Grands Motets with the Namur Chamber Choir conducted by Leonardo García Alarcón. She recently sung Fauré’s Requiem under Klaas Stok (Amsterdam Concertgebouw) and Bach Cantatas with Dunedin Consort at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Sophie Junker’s 2018/19 season was notable for her role debut Cunegunda in Vinci’s Gismondo (Gliwice and Vienna), Elisetta in Il Matrimonio segreto (Opéra royal de Liège Wallonie), Venere in Legrenzi’s La divisione del mondo under Christophe Rousset (Strasbourg, Mulhouse, Colmar, Nancy, Versailles and Cologne), and Eurilla in Handel’s Il Pastor Fido (Gliwice and Händel-Festspiele Halle). She also made her house debut at Staatsoper Berlin singing Drusilla in L’Incoronazione di Poppea under Diego Fasolis.
This season, Sophie’s lithe and sparkling soprano will be heard singing the title-role in in Schürmann’s Die Getreue Alceste under Christina Pluhar (Rokokotheater Schwetzingen), Angelica in Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso with Armonia Atenea at La Seine Musicale, a revival of Vinci’s Gismondo in Dortmund, as well as Asteria in Handel’s Tamerlano in Moscow with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra conducted by Christopher Moulds. She will tour diverse concert programmes with Masaaki Suzuki’s Bach Collegium Japan, Nederlandse Bachvereniging under Shunske Sato, Václav Luks’ Collegium 1704 and Robert King’s The King’s Consort. She will also start collaborating with Concerto Köln singing in Heinichen’s Nicht das Band, das Dich bestricket.
Her discography includes Sacrifices (Figlia in Carissimi’s Jephte with La Nuova Musica for Harmonia Mundi – 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 under Raphaël Pichon (Harmonia Mundi). In early 2020, Sophie’s first solo CD, La Francesina, will be released under the label Aparté. The programme will then be toured with Emmanuel Comte and his Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu.