Soprano Park Hye-sang was scheduled to make her debut at the New York Metropolitan Opera as Gretel in “Hansel and Gretel” this year. When it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she shrugged it off. But when Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” where she was supposed to play as Zerlina, was cancelled as well, she was heartbroken.
Recording for her debut album with Deutsche Grammophon (DG) hit a snag as Germany issued a ban on mass gathering, which also prevented orchestras from playing together. Fortunately, she could finish the recording in Austria. It was the first album released by DG during the pandemic. In May, Park promoted the beauty of Korean songs by singing “Psalm 23” written by Korean composer La Un-yung at her online concert. This is what the year 2020 has been like for soprano Park Hye-sang.
During a press conference held on Tuesday ahead of the release of her debut album “I am Hera” and her recital at the Lotte Concert Hall next Friday, Park said she wanted become someone who can help people around her while doing her job like Soubrette in opera. Soubrette is a type of female role in opera who is resourceful and full of wits.
“I played as Rosina in ‘The Barber of Seville’ at Glyndebourne Festival Opera last year. After watching the opera, Deutsche Grammophon President Clemens Trautmann said it was the top three Rosina performances he has ever seen,” the South Korean soprano said. “Rosina is a woman who pursues what she really wants rather than wealth and fame.”
At the start of the press conference, Park sang “Psalm 23” and “A Voice a Little While Ago” from “The Barber of Seville.” The quality of her voice seemed heavier and stronger in the middle than the typical soubrette sound, which tends to be lighter. She sang the lowest note of “The Barber of Seville” as is. The audience was overwhelmed by the fortissimo at the climax of “Psalm 23.” She has a voice that can sing any genre of music.
“Although my current voice is a lyric soprano, I am told that I will be able to take on more dramatic roles later in the future. If I enjoy the roles that I like now, I will be able to sing with a new voice without feeling boredom when new repertoires open up,” she said. Her stage name “Hera” is the goddess of family and women, who is very helpful and the strongest goddess in Greek mythology.
At her concert on next Friday, Park will sing “Like the Wind That Met with Lotus” by Kim Ju-won as well as sing Purcell, Gluck, and Rossini opera arias from her album. She also included “Psalm 23,” which won praise at her online concert in May, in her album. “It is Korean language songs that can best deliver my free spirit. I want to actively promote the songs to the world,” said Park.