Ms. Bonagura is a member of staff at the prestigious Mannes School of Music in New York City. She is also a student and teaching protégé of famed Italian-American soprano Diana Soviero, for whom she serves as teaching associate. Soprano Eva Maria Westbroek writes that Ms. Bonagura “has mastered the phenomenal technique of Diana Soviero to the core and can demonstrate anything to perfection… she has taken me on an exhilarating journey; I feel like I am finally connecting to my true voice and am more excited about singing than I have been in a decade.”
In 2022 Ms. Bonagura was invited to join the distinguished panel of judges for the Giulio Gari Foundation’s annual competition. She has since expanded her professional affiliations by joining the faculty of the Trentino Music Festival and the Florida Grand Opera Studio as their resident voice teacher. In her most recent collaboration Ms. Bonagura served as the vocal coach for contestants on ‘ARIA’, the Netherland’s wildly popular television series where classical singers compete live for a spot in the Dutch National Opera’s Young Artist Program.
Lauded for her “soaring dramatic soprano” and described as “a star in the making" (Classical Voice North Carolina), American soprano Chelsea Bonagura enchants audiences with her “gorgeous sound” and “parallel mixture of tenderness and fire” (The Roanoke Times). Quickly gaining an international reputation as a premiere voice teacher and vocal technician, Ms. Bonagura is on staff at the Mannes School of Music, and also maintains an active private studio catering to singers of a wide array of disciplines, including opera, classical, musical theatre, and contemporary styles. Specializing primarily in the Garcia and Bel Canto operatic techniques, two singing styles that have produced some of the finest singers in the history of opera, Ms. Bonagura prioritizes a holistic technical approach designed to maximize vocal efficiency, which allows students to enjoy decades of healthy vocal artistry and freedom of expression.
Students of Ms. Bonagura have gone on to sing in renowned training programs including San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program and the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program. Highly respected by fellow professional artists, she works with musicians performing at leading international opera houses and concert halls including the Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera House, Dutch National Opera, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Concertgebouw, and the Metropolitan Opera. Non-classical students have embarked upon international Broadway tours and enjoyed careers as acclaimed pop recording artists.
As a soprano soloist, Ms. Bonagura has performed throughout North America and abroad, with role highlights including “Cunegonde” (Candide), “Susanna” (Le nozze di Figaro), “Mimi” (La Bohème), “Micaëla” (Carmen), “First Lady” (Die Zauberflöte), “Adina” (“L’elisir d’amore), “Donna Anna” (Don Giovanni), “Gretel” (Hänsel und Gretel), “Monica” (The Medium), “La Princesse” (L’Enfant et les Sortilèges), and “Geraldine” (A Hand of Bridge). Ms. Bonagura enjoys frequent collaborations with contemporary composers, having created the roles of “Princesa” and “Bambina” in Car Crash Opera by Michaela Eremiasova and Jairo Duarte-Lopez, as well as the role of “Mei” in A Dream of Flight by Sarana Chou.
Ms. Bonagura appears frequently with the acclaimed New York City Opera; recent highlights include the role of “Water” in the North American premiere of Los Elementos and performances of Rachmaninoff’s Alekko, Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, and Respighi’s La Campana Somersa. Concert highlights include Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Magnificat in D, and Bruckner’s Psalm 150, for which she was described as having a “gorgeous sound and presence” (Classical Voice North Carolina).
Ms. Bonagura is increasingly sought after as a guest lecturer and clinician for high school and collegiate masterclasses. She is also known for her particular skill at helping professional singers rebuild their voices after vocal trauma, habitual misuse, or Fach changes. Her compassion, encouraging spirit, intellectual curiosity, and razor-sharp ears are praised by performing professionals
A native of Rochester, New York, Ms. Bonagura holds advanced degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, as well as, language certifications from the Goethe Institute, the Centro Studi Italiani, the University of Rochester, and L’Université Paris Sorbonne, Paris IV. She resides in New York City and divides her teaching between New York and Amsterdam.