In 1984, she made her Vienna State Opera debut as Sophie in Richard Strauss
's Der Rosenkavalier, a role which was to become one of her most famous. Another characteristic role, that of Pamina in Mozart
's Die Zauberflõte, she first undertook in her 1985 La Scala debut. In 1987, she sang Sophie at Monte Carlo, which brought her to the attention of conductor Carlos Kleiber
. Lucia Popp
, too, greatly admired her Sophie, and when Popp relinquished the role, moving on to the Marschallin, she declared that she was passing it on to Bonney. Her Met debut was in 1988, as Naiad in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos. During the 1990s, increasingly able to pick and choose what roles and repertoire she would sing, she began to reduce her operatic roles to a few of her special favorites, such as Pamina, Susanna (in Mozart
's Le nozze di Figaro), and Ilia (in his Idomeneo), and adding a few new roles, such as Zdenka in Strauss's Arabella and Hanna Glawari (in Lehár
's Die lustige Witwe [The Merry Widow]). Like Popp, she chose to drop the role of Sophie, leaving it for younger singers. This would allow her to spend more time singing lieder performances, and also to teach.
She was briefly married to baritone Hakan Hagegard
. Among her recordings, her Mozart
arias (London) and Schubert
lieder (Teldec) capture her voice and singing quite well.