What inspired you to become a singer?
Classical music was a big part of my childhood as my mum was a pianist and I picked up playing the piano at age 4 and the violin at age 6. When I was thirteen I saw Carmen, my first opera, and I was thrilled by the Spanish passion on stage. I asked to learn to sing in order to become Carmen, so you can guess my disappointment when I went to my first vocal lesson, and was praised for a voice that was light, beautiful… and definitely soprano. The mezzo-soprano role of Carmen that led me to the opera world was unfortunately one I would never be able to sing.
What’s your dream role and why?
My dream role is Ophelia from the opera Hamlet. I have seen Hamlet as a play and a movie as well, but I like the more dramatic portrayal of Ophelia in the opera. The character of Ophelia is one that is emotionally fragile but with a tremendous will and energy. It is a powerful experience to portray it, and each time I study her the more emotions and depth I discover.
Who is your favourite singer and why?
My favourite singer is soprano Sumi Jo. My mum played her recordings throughout my childhood and she even brought me to one of her concerts. She is not only one of the most beautiful sopranos in Korea, but also someone whose career and humanism I respect greatly.
What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition?
My hope is to be able to fully show everything that I have prepared, to enjoy the stage, and emerge from this experience as a better opera singer. This is also a very important and valuable experience for me as I finish my time as a ROH Jette Young Artist Programme Artist. I am looking forward to learning from other highly skilled colleagues and internationally acclaimed seniors!
Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself!
My memorization technique for music scores is doing needlework while studying the score. I especially enjoy making traditional Korean dress outfits in doll sizes.
What kind of demands do you believe the future’s opera singers must fulfill to make a career?
Future opera singers will need to be very good at understanding what an opera is. To be good at singing, the amount of attention you must pay to details beyond the sheets provided is extensive. Each role involves a thorough understanding of not only the language but the setting, the culture and time period. As the majority of operas are set in Western culture, it is especially important to understand the cultural influences that can at times be very different from Asian culture.