“The baroque music such as Handel and Vivaldi can certainly bring prayers, introspection, and comfort to the heart. I hope our music can touch the heart of many people during the difficult times.”
Soprano Jo Sumi, who celebrated her 35th career anniversary this year, is performing a concert along with “I Musici”, an Italian chamber orchestra marking the 70th year of foundation. The Seoul Arts Center is hosting a “Jo Sumi & I Musici” concert for two days on Dec. 25 and 26. The South Korean soprano will be singing baroque opera arias by Purcell, Handel, and Vivaldi on I Musici’s accompaniment, and I Musici will make a solo performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
Meaning the “musicians” in Italian, “I Musici” is an orchestra founded in 1951 by performers from the Academy of Santa Cecilia, which Jo Sumi graduated from. The Italian orchestra has rekindled the frenzy of the Four Seasons, performing it with enthusiasm in concerts around the world. The Seoul concert is I Musici’s first collaboration with Jo Sumi.
With visitors from abroad mandated to self-quarantine for 10 days in South Korea, the relatively older performers of I Musici have isolated themselves since they arrived in Seoul. “I’ve been enjoying Korean food here which I missed so much, so I was a bit worried about gaining weight,” Jo Sumi said. “Me and the members of I Musici have been communicating with each other every day. They say they are doing fine, but I felt sympathy as they must be missing their home and families so much.”
“This is a monumental concert. I told them we must perform in every location as scheduled to reciprocate the support of our fans, and they also felt the same way,” she said. “The concerts in local provinces have been delayed because of the self-quarantine, but everyone was so understanding as they were all much looking forward to the Korean tour this time.”
In 2006, Jo Sumi released her first baroque album to mark her 20th anniversary of career before showcasing her Bach aria album in 2014. To celebrate their Seoul concert, the world-renowned soprano from South Korea and the Italian orchestra have published the album “LUX 3570” by Decca Records, “35” and “70” each representing the anniversary years for Jo and I Musici. “I’ve watched the movie Parasite three times. I loved Rodelinda’s aria in the film so much, so I proposed to include it in our album, and the orchestra gave a yes in a heartbeat,” Jo explained.
“A Russian opera aria album is coming out next year, and I will be adjudicating for many concours including the Belgium Queen Elizabeth Concours,” Jo said when asked about her plan for the next year.