Barbara Bonney is an American soprano, and was born in the spring of 1956 in Montclair, New Jersey. As a child she studied piano and cello, and at the age of 13 she became part of the Portland Youth Orchestra as a cellist. She studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and switched from cello to voice.
In 1979, Bonney joined the Darmstadt Opera. In the subsequent five years she made appearances throughout Germany and Europe, notably at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London and La Scala in Milan.