From Development server

Sound Bites spotlights up-and-coming singers and conductors in the world of opera.

Sound Bites: Hyesang Park

A rising star from SOUTH KOREA makes her Met debut this season.
by F. Paul Driscoll. 

Sound Bites Hyesang Park hdl 916
Photograph by Dario Acosta
Hair & Makeup by Affan Graber Malik
Earrings: Haus of Topper
Gown courtesy of Lie Sang Bong

© Dario Acosta
Sound Bites Hyesang Park sm 916
Soprano Hyesang Park, ready for her Met debut.
Blouse and trousers by Lie Sang Bong; shoes by Valentino

© Dario Acosta

HYESANG PARK will make her Met debut in February 2017, as the First Wood Nymph in the company’s new staging of Rusalka. Now a member of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, the Korean soprano has already attracted considerable attention in New York with her first-rate work in Juilliard productions of Il Turco in Italia and La Sonnambula. As Rossini’s capricious Fiorilla, Park was the essence of Cinecittà glamour, zinging through her coloratura with charismatic confidence; as Bellini’s gentle Amina, Park shaped the long, melancholy line of “Ah! non credea mirarti” with surpassing delicacy and grace. 

“It was fun for me to do both of these women, because both are me. When you sing a character, you must sing inside the music, not just what is on the page. The text, the rhythm, the tempo are there, but the singer must provide something from the soul. I deliver my experience to the audience through the music. It was harder in some ways for me to do Fiorilla, because it is hard to act like Fiorilla in real life—especially for an Asian woman. We are trained to be polite everywhere, with our sense of authority very clear. The Rossini music was a tool to find that part of my personality that is not so polite and not trying to be always perfect—and I am surprised that I have so many things going on inside me!” 

Born and raised in South Korea, Park has scored wins in several major international competitions, including the 2015 edition of Operalia, where she took the zarzuela prize. “Korea is the center of my music. In Korea we have a very deep sorrow in our hearts, because we were once conquered by lots of countries—China, Japan, and so on. Even now we are separated, North and South. That kind of political and social situation is very complicated. But in our culture, there is great joy from music. Always. It’s very basic. Music is the basic statement for life—it doesn’t need to be classical. It can be music just for fun.

“When Koreans work, they always sing together. When they do agriculture, they sing. When they work in factories, they always sing together, as a group. So we try to get rid of our sorrow through the music and the joy of music. For me, that is the reason why Korean people like singing—and the reason that there are so many Korean artists who sing so well.” spacer 

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