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Audition of Destiny

Posted December. 31, 2007 05:29,   


In summer 2006, Tenor Chung Ho-yoon (30), a soloist at the German National Opera got a chance to audition for the Vienna State Opera (Austria) by chance. The Vienna State Opera is a dream stage with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra accompaniment, where more than 50 operas are presented per year.

Loan Holendar had been the director of the Vienna State Opera for 20 years. He was notorious for wielding his power to select a cast of vocalists. He arrived at the audition an hour late, as if he was not interested in an audition for a vocalist from a far-away Asian country. He was slouching in his seat and reading the candidate performer’s profile, then cried out, “Go!,” without looking at Chung.

“I was unwilling to admit defeat there. All of a sudden, his rudeness calmed me,” said Chung.

Chung sang four pieces of an aria in sequence, and Holendar raised himself up out of his seat and held up his head to see Chung. Then he went out the door and asked the Asian vocalist, “Were you given a role at another theater yet?” Afterwards, all of the theater officials present applauded and celebrated him on his success in the audition. They said, “That’s Holendar’s style of picking a person.”

Since 2006, Chung has built his career by being the lead performer for “Rigoletto”; “La Traviata”; “L`elisir d`amore”; “Othello”; and “Der Rosenkavalier.” He is a star even among Korean musicians actively working on stages in Europe. He says, “Vienna is a great city for musicians.” He also boasted, “The leading vocalist in the Vienna State Opera is always well treated anywhere.”

Chung, who belatedly started studying vocal music in high school, distinguished himself by being awarded with the best prize at the Dong-A Concours Contest during his senior year at the Seoul National Univeristy’s College of Music. He noted, “The award has given me confidence. That totally changed my whole life.” Next year, he went to the Germany Berlin College of Music to study. He became a leading vocliast at the Vienna State Opera only in ten months.

He smiled, saying, “In Germany, no one cares about a diploma if he or she becomes an opera vocalist. However, in Korea, all everyone cares about is educational background.”

He will be on stage at 7:30 pm on January 3 next year for the “New Year’s Concert” celebrating the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Sejong Center. He will be with his senior vocalists who won at the international concours, including Soprano Cho Su-mi. He said, “Next year, I will try to find my way into Opera of Chicago, the Spain Great Liceu Theatre, and the France Bastille Theatre.” He also added, “I also wish to develop myself, rather than I am satisfied at the present.” For more information about his performance on January 3, call 02-3461-0976.