"Olena Tokar embodied the role of Liú most convincingly, deeply touching in her graceful performance, making her the star of the evening and earning her ovations from the audience." (klassik.com). "Olena Tokar’s spellbinding performance as Juliette gave a wonderfully powerful demonstration of exactly what Gounod meant by it.” (Critic's Circle) – "Tokar was a knockout" (The Spectator) – "How she showed both boisterous power and maiden-like timbre with her perfectly beautiful, nuanced soprano, demonstrating naturalness and expressiveness rather than vocal l'art pour l'art – that was irresistible." (Leipziger Volkszeitung)
Following her award-winning appearances at the ARD Music Competition and the Cardiff BBC Singer of the World Competition, Ukrainian soprano Olena Tokar has quickly gained international recognition in both opera and concert for the exceptional beauty of her lyric voice and the deeply touching impersonation of her roles. Her recent and upcoming appearances as Violetta Valéry in La Traviata, Liú in Turandot, Marguerite in Faust, Mimi in La Bohème, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Pamina in Die Zauberflöteand, repeatedly, in the title role of Dvořák's Rusalka were overwhelming successes with critics and audiences alike.
A member of the Leipzig Opera ensemble since 2010, Olena Tokar has appeared at major international venues including among others Semperoper Dresden, Cologne Opera, Grange Park Opera and the Trondheim and Vilnius opera companies. In 2013 she had her debut at the Bayreuth Festival as Zemina in Richard Wagner's Die Feen. In 2018 she sang Susanna in the groundbreaking Virtual Reality project Figaro 360°. She also sang Mimi in the first-ever performance of La Bohème in India.
With her unusually wide symphonic repertoire, Olena Tokar is a frequent guest soloist with major orchestras including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Leipzig's Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Basque National Orchestra, Residentie Orkest in The Hague, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Bern Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Manchester Camerata, Basel Chamber Orchestra and Budapest Festival Orchestra. She has collaborated with leading conductors such as Vassily Sinaisky, Rafael Payare, Nicholas Collon, Jun Märkl, Jean-Claude Casadesus, and Gábor Takács-Nagy.
Accompanied by pianist Igor Gryshyn, she has appeared at Munich's Gasteig Philharmonic Hall, London's Wigmore Hall, LSO St. Luke's Church, Tonhalle Zurich, Stadt Casino Basel, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Musik Festival, Schleswig Holstein Musikfestival, Beethoven Festival Warsaw, Spring Festival Tokyo and the Festival Bellerive, among others. Her chamber music companions include Sol Gabetta, Tatjana Masurenko, the Gewandhaus String Quartet, the Doric String Quartet, Alec Frank-Gemmill, Alexej Gerassimez, and István Kohán. At the MDR Musiksommer festival in Dresden's iconic Frauenkirche and at the Händel Festival Halle, she sang baroque programmes alongside Vivica Genaux and Capella Gabetta.
Olena Tokar has a growing discography, including the upcoming release of the world premiere recording of the opera Samson by Joachim Raff with the Bern Symphony Orchestra under Philippe Bach, singing the role of Dalilah, a recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with Orchestre National de Lille under Jean-Claude Casadesus (with Evidence, 2016), and a DVD of her song recital programme Eastern Romance (2013). In 2014 she recorded Richard Strauss' opera Feuersnot with the Bavarian Radio, singing the role of Margret. Olena Tokar was BBC New Generation Artist from 2013 to 2015, giving frequent appearances on BBC Radio 3. She also appeared on the popular German TV show „Stars of Tomorrow“ hosted by Rolando Villazón, with whom she also sang in a duet.
Still a student, Olena Tokar won First Prize at the ARD Music Competition in 2012; her performance as Rusalka secured her international breakthrough. In 2008 she won the Grand Prix of the International Boris Gmyria Competition in Kyiv. She was a finalist at the International Vocal Competition Ferruccio Tagliavini 2010 in Deutschlandsberg, Austria, and at the International Francisco Viñas Competition in Barcelona. In 2013 was nominated as one of the five best singers at the Cardiff BBC Singer of the World Competition in the opera and song categories. Olena Tokar was a fellow of the Young Singers Project of the Salzburg Festival and of the Verbier Academy, where she had her acclaimed debuts as Susanna and Mimi respectively.
Born in Ukraine, Olena Tokar studied at the Luhansk Conservatory, later at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Kyiv and with Regina Werner-Dietrich at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy School of Music in Leipzig, graduating with a master's degree in opera with distinction. She also attended masterclasses with Olaf Bär, Christa Ludwig, Matthias Goerne, and Irwin Gage.