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Soprano Jo Sumi vows to leave the most Korean legacy

Posted June. 18, 2022 07:32,   

Updated June. 18, 2022 07:32


“I always have been singing songs of foreign composers in foreign languages, but recently, I have come to realize that I need to leave behind the most Korean legacy.”

The 59-year-old world-class Soprano Jo Sumi emphasized the word “the most Korean” on Thursday at theatre des Champs-Elysées, Paris, France. The singer was on stage at the 14th Korea-France Friendship concert, Diva Pour La Paix (Diva for Peace), which was her first performance in Europe in two years since the Covid-19 pandemic canceled all of her concerts.

When she was asked what she meant by “the most Korean,” she answered, “excelling at everything. Koreans do everything their best and tend to excel it.” This means that K-wave and K-culture have taken center stage because they are outstanding in every aspect.

Jo said “I never thought I was the top Soprano since my debut which was 36 years ago. I always did my best to overcome my shortcomings and pressure upon me.” Her dress could not hide her defined arms and back which are a natural result of her working out every day for her remarkable performances. The soprano learned her lessons from her idol, Maria Callas, a short-lived diva who indulged herself with alcohol and cigarettes.

Jo, UNESCO's Artist for Peace since 2003, highlighted the performance. She performed “Je veux vivre” from Opera Romeo and Juliet, and Korean song “Like a spring comes cross the river,” which drew enormous applause from the audience. French Operatic baritone Florian Sempey and American pianist Jeffrey Cohen gave her a big hand in the midst of her performance.

Jo said that she will expand her horizons. She is currently working with KAIST to connect art with AI and Metaverse technologies. Meanwhile, her Netflix music documentary will come out around September.

Youn-Jong Kim zozo@donga.com