Internationally renowned soprano Monica Yunus has performed on the world’s leading stages. She is acclaimed for her sterling artistry as well as for her leading role as a social entrepreneur and advocate for arts and culture. Known for her “commanding and alluring soprano” (Opera News) and “glorious” interpretive gifts (Daily Camera), Monica has appeared as a principal artist with The Metropolitan Opera for over a decade – the first leading artist from her native Bangladesh to do so. Her Metropolitan Opera productions include L’Elisir d’Amore, Die Zauberflöte, Manon, Don Giovanni, and The Marriage of Figaro, in which she made her debut. Her performances have been enjoyed by millions in the Live From The Met recordings and videos in productions including La Rondine, Le Comte Ory, and The Enchanted Island.
In a career that spans over 20 years, she has performed across the globe in concert and operatic appearances in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, collaborating with stars including Jon Batiste, Andrea Bocelli, Joseph Calleja, José Carerras, Joyce DiDonato, Jamie Barton, Plácido Domingo, and Bryn Terfel.
Monica co-founded Sing for Hope with fellow soprano Camille Zamora in 2006. Sing for Hope is a non-profit organization that mobilizes artists in service to benefit communities in need and presents creative projects - such as the Sing for Hope Pianos - that make the arts available to all. Sing for Hope’s programming ranges from arts workshops that improve academic outcomes for at-risk students, to specialized music programs that enhance cognition for dementia patients, to arts interventions that facilitate integration for refugee youth, to the Sing for Hope Pianos that unite communities in our world’s public spaces. Guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and in partnership with hundreds of community-based organizations and thousands of artist partners, SFH uses the creative arts for healing, learning, and social cohesion.
A passionate advocate for the arts and their role in fostering interconnectivity and empathy, Monica has co-produced a number of creative endeavors. Her arts advocacy ranges from curating global summits on arts and healing, to advocating for COVID relief legislation specific to the arts sector as part of Americans for the Arts’ legislative subcommittee, to creating and producing books and recordings that underscore the power of the arts to transform lives.
Monica was the executive producer of An AIDS Quilt Songbook: Sing for Hope, a star- studded collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, clarinetist Anthony McGill, mezzos Joyce DiDonato and Isabel Leonard, Co-Founder Camille Zamora, and actress Sharon Stone, performing the spoken word. She is an executive producer on the album Legion of Peace, a children’s music album featuring musical portraits inspired by Nobel Laureates, as well as the co-author of its companion book published by Hachette. She is also the co-author of Pop Up Pianos, capturing through written word accompanied by Lekha Singh’s photographs, the 2011 street piano project in New York City. An artist lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University, Monica is a frequent guest speaker at universities across the country. She has been named a 2021 Housewright Eminent Scholar at Florida State University and will complete her artist residency there in the fall. In 2020, she and fellow SFH Co-Founder Camille Zamora were the inaugural artists for the Reflexions Artist Series at University of Arkansas. In 2016, she was named a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow as part of the inaugural cohort recognizing her commitment to community engagement through the arts as well as being named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Monica has been honored to give special performances at The United Nations and the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, and received a 2009 DOHA 21st Century Leader Award as Outstanding Humanitarian.
Monica, who was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh to Russian mother, Vera Forostenko Yunus and Bangladeshi economist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, earned both her Bachelor of Music and Masters of Music degrees from The Juilliard School.