Artist database

This is the Artist Database of BMC, which includes information about composers, musicians, orchestras, choirs and groups that are either Hungarian or Hungarian by origin or live in Hungary, as well as information about releases recorded with them.

Tokody Ilona

voice - soprano

Place of Birth
Date of Birth

27 April 1953, Szeged

Worldwide known opera singer. She was mostly memorable in dramatic soprano roles of Verdi and Puccini. Her performance is characteristic for great acting, excellent piano culture and legato technique.

She started her music studies in 1967 as pupil of Béla Csóka and Valéria Berdál in the Tömörkény Secondary School (Szeged). In 1971 she was accepted to the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music Budapest, where she graduated as student of Jenő Sipos and András Mikó. She has attended many contests, winning the Kodály Singing Contest in 1972 and the singing competitions of Genf, Oostende and Bratislava. In 1976 she won the Erkel Singing Contest.

As private singer she contracted with the Hungarian State Opera House in 1976 and one year later she introduced herself in the role of Mother in Zsolt Durkó’s Moses. She became steady guest artist of the Wiener Staatsoper in 1976. She debuted here in 1979 as Mimi of Puccini’s La bohčme. At the beginning of her career she rather sang lyrical roles, later she gradually changed to dramatic roles.

She has regularly guest performed in prestigious opera houses like the Covent Garden (London), the Metropolitan (New York), the Deutsche Oper and the Staatsoper (Berlin), the Teatro Real (Madrid), the Liceo (Barcelona), and the Theatro Colón (Buenos Aires). She has frequently played in oratorios, but also gave song and air evenings. She performed in the Carnegie Hall (New York), the Musikverein (Vienna), the Palau Catalana (Barcelona) and the Suntory Hall (Tokio).

Her partners were such famous artists as Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras, Juan Pons, Jelena Obrazcova, Fiorenza Cossotto and Piero Cappuccilli. She worked with such directors as Franco Zeffirelli, Otto Schenk and Götz Friedrich, and conductors as Claudio Abbado, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Giuseppe Patané.

Her major roles are: Liú (Puccini: Turandot), Lauretta (Puccini: Gianni Schicchi), Mimi (Puccini: La bohčme), Angelica (Puccini: Suor Angelica), Madama Butterfly (Puccini), Manon (Puccini: Manon Lescaut), Aida (Verdi), Desdemona (Verdi: Otello), Leonora (Verdi: La forza del destino), Leonora (Verdi: Il trovatore), Giselda (Verdi: I Lombardi), Elisabeth (Verdi: Don Carlos) and Amelia Grimaldi (Verdi: Simon Boccanegra).

She released more than fifty records and many solo albums, but she also contributed to the making of opera films (Verdi: Falstaff, Offenbach: The tales of Hoffmann, Puccini: La bohčme). Ilona Tokody has been Eternal Member of the Hungarian State Opera House since 1996.

For her artistic performance she was awarded many times. She received the Gusztáv Oláh Memorial Plaque (1979), the Liszt Prize (1980), the title Merited Artist (1983), the Kossuth Prize (1985), the Erzsébet Prize (1987), the title Excellent Artist (1990), the György Melis Memorial Plaque (1997) and the Mihály Székely Memorial Plaque (2008). In 2010 she was awarded with Béla Bartók-Ditta Pásztory Award.