A 12-year-old South Korean singer will step on the stage of the Salzburg Festival in Austria, one of the most prestigious classical music festivals in the world. A member of the Vienna Boys' Choir, Park Shin, will take the role of a boy named Oberto in opera “Alcina” by George Frideric Handel on August 8 at the Mozarts Wohnhaus in Salzburg.
Park also sang the lyrics of Oberto on the same stage during the Salzburg Whitsunday Festival held from June 7 to 10. The performance was marked with well-known opera singers, including mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli for the role of Alcina and Philippe Jaroussky for the role of Ruggiero. The same members will play the upcoming performance in August.
“Alcina” was premiered in 1735 by Baroque music maestro Handel at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, central London. An intense love-hate relationship unfolds between sorceress Alcina and Ruggiero under the influence of her magical power against the backdrop of conflicts between King Charlemagne and Islamic power. A young boy named Oberto who is looking for his father joins the two characters’ adventure. Usually, a soprano would take the role of Oberto, but the host of the Salzburg Festival requested the Vienna Boys' Choir to recommend a singer suitable for the role.
The performance of “Alcina” during the Salzburg Whitsunday Festival in June, which showcased a passionate voice of Park, received loud applause. “A perfect ensemble was created between Melisso played by Alastair Miles and Oberto played by Park Shin,” Austrian newspaper Der Standard praised. “Park Shin showcased a dominant performance of his role with techniques like maestro’s,” said another Austrian newspaper Kurier.
“I was born in Seoul, Korea and has dreamed of becoming a member of the Vienna Boys' Choir watching their performance,” Park told the Dong-A Ilbo during an e-mail interview via the Vienna Boys' Choir. “I first joined the choir on probation and was offered to become an official member.”
To a question on how he got an opportunity to sing in “Alcina,” he said, “Two members of our choir and I played minor roles in opera “The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte)” by Mozart last year. The Salzburg Festival offered me an opportunity to audition for Oberto through my school and I got the part.” An Austrian member of the Vienna Boys' Choir named Moritz also made the final list and practiced with Park together.
“I want to become an opera singer but also am very interesting in paintings. I hope to do both,” Park said about what he would like to become. “Alcina” featuring Park will be played on five occasions until August 18.