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Singing is the Reason for Living

Posted December. 20, 2006 03:02,   


Debut Album: Bach – Mozart’s Aria –

I met soprano Yu Hyun-ah (aged 37) at the Millennium Seoul Hilton on December 19 for the first time in 13 years. Although she had wanted to become a doctor, Yu turned out to be a soprano with her debut album produced by the world-renowned EMI Classics, and her son Daniel (14) has grown into a teenager.

“I had a broken and shattered heart with no future ahead. It was music that saved my life. Because I sang, I could survive, found hope, and discovered reasons to continue to live.”

Her sister recommended her to sing at a time when Yu was almost losing consciousness from shedding too many tears. Yu entered the Peabody Conservatory of Music in 1993 since she used to sing in a choir as a child. Her tragedy awoke her forgotten talent. In the autumn of 1999, Yu first gained recognition in 1999 as a soloist in St. Matthew Passion with the Marlboro New England Bach Festival. Yu was discovered by the eminent pianists, Uchida Mitshko and Richard Goode, who have supported and encouraged her since. In 2003, she was nominated by them and awarded a Fellowship by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust. This year, among her 2006 engagements was the title role in Mozart`s opera “Zaide” in New York, London, and Vienna.

So far, Sarah Chang, cellist Han-na Chang, Kyung-wha Chung, and pianist Lim Dong-hyeok have been selected as “Korean artists of EMI classics,” and the fifth one is Yu Hyun-ah as the first Korean soloist to be selected. Her first album includes Mozart’s Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben (Rest peacefully, my dear love) (from Zaide), Bach’s Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten (Gloomy shadows, be gone!) (Wedding Cantata), and Bach’s Liebster Jesu (Beloved Jesus, my desire) (Cantata 151).

Year-End Performance with Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra from December 27 to 30-

“They thought it weird for me to select quiet and low-profile songs for my debut album. Since they have cured my inner wounds, they will also comfort many others, especially Bach’s music which is both very down-to-earth and holy. It has deep-rooted pains and desire and yet inexplicable joy, salvation, forgiveness and peace.”

She had decided to become a doctor, feeling the voice of God to “become My hand” while in high school, but she said, “Although I ended up becoming a soloist, I act like a doctor as I heal others’ wounds with music.”

Yu will be in the year-end concert with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and Jung Myung-hoon, the well-known conductor, at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts and Seongnam Arts Center on December 27, 28, and 30. It is her official debut stage in Korea.

“The biggest woe for me in going through some major events like making an album or being in an opera is that I can’t share my feelings with my husband. I still miss him so much. That is why I want to be continuously called, ‘Yu Hyun-ah,’ with my husband’s surname instead of my original name, ‘Park Hyun-ah.’”

Yu showed such a lively voice and laughter throughout the interview, sometimes with teary eyes. She said she still cries. Maybe she will have to be cured by music until the end. Yu said, “Suffering was a blessing for me to see the real God.”