Soprano

Sumi Jo

Sumi Jo is the highest selling classical singer in the world, with over 50 recordings to her credit.

In recent years Sumi has performed at the Olympic Games, Winter Olympics, for the Pope, and appeared performing as herself in the Paolo Sorrentino film ‘Youth’. Sumi’s performance of the film’s signature song Simple Song #3 won her nominations for the 2016 Golden Globe awards and an Oscar in the “Music – Original Song” category.

© Youngho Kang

Introduction

Sumi has established herself as one of her generation’s most sought-after sopranos, praised for her outstanding musicianship and the remarkable agility, precision and warmth of her voice.

Sumi celebrated the 30th anniversary of her international opera debut in the 2016-17 season, with performances in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia; a guest appearance at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s Lunar New Year Concert at David Geffen Hall; Maria Callas Tribute concerts with the Hong Kong Philharmonic; a charity recital in Manila; gala concert at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center Athens; concerts in Toulouse, Taipei and Pingtung with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse; Fauré Requiem with the Montreal Symphony; and recitals in Clermont-Ferrand and Montreal. Sumi also joined the distinguished jury for the Cardiff Singer of the World 2017 competition.

Engagements in 2017-18 season and beyond include gala concerts in Budapest, Paris, at the Colosseum in Rome and Teatro Colón in Bogota; recitals with guitarist Xuefei Yang across Asia; a concert at the Kremlin Palace, Moscow; a tour of Australia including a guest appearance with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra; and recitals at the Opera Theatre Clermont-Ferrand and at London’s Wigmore Hall.


  • 27 Feb 17 Grand Celebration Concert, Athens
    Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
    More info  

    “Grand Celebration Marks Handing the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center to the State.

    A large celebration, open to all, marked the completion of the delivery of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) to its permanent owner, the Greek State and, by extension, to the Greek society, the citizens and daily visitors of the SNFCC.

    During this special moment in the project’s progress, thousands of people actively participated in the day’s events and happenings, confirming, through their presence, that the SNFCC belongs to all. The official delivery ceremony was attended by the country’s political and state leadership, foreign ambassadors, friends of the SNF, SNFCC Members and a large crowd of people, who arrived in order to be a part of this special day.

    The event opened with the screening of a short video on the history of the SNFCC, and was followed by speeches by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Co-President and Director of the SNF, Mr. Andreas Dracopoulos and the Prime Minister, Mr. Alexis Tsipras. Following the speeches, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Euclid Tsakalotos, along with the SNF’s Chief Financial Officer, Mrs. Christina Lambropoulou, signed the agreement transferring SNFCC SA’s only share to the Greek State by means of a gift, on the stage of the packed Stavros Niarchos Hall.

    The event was marked with the appearance of internationally renowned soprano Sumi Jo, who performed the famous aria Casta Diva from Bellini’s opera, Norma as well as onstage performances, video screenings, events in all corners of the SNFCC, smaller and larger artistic groups, all which composed a free festival — open to all.

    The event also featured the Ballet, the Children’s Choir and the Adult Choir of the Greek National Opera, the ERT National Symphony Orchestra, Natassa Bofiliou, Alkinoos Ioannidis and the Baroque Ensemble, the Lyceum Club of Greek Women, George Kontrafouris on piano, street dancers, skaters and roller bladers, alongside video screenings of readings by famous actors, curated by the National Library of Greece. The artistic program was under the direction of Thomas Moschopoulos.

    The evening was concluded with a unique party featuring fireworks, music and dancing, at the SNFCC’s Agora.”

    Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi, Greek Reporter, 27 February 2017

  • 31 Jan 17 New York Philharmonic's Chinese New Year Concert
    David Geffen Hall, New York
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    “The marquee star of the evening, Korean soprano Sumi Jo certainly supplied celebrity glamour, bringing her beaming, supple soprano to a range of showy repertoire. She gave a bravura performance of the dizzying variations on “Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman” from Adolphe Adam’s Le Toréador, cutting through the daunting runs with clear, firm coloratura, while principal flutist Robert Langevin matched her with a virtuoso turn of his own.”

    “Jo’s most convincing work came in her trio of Chinese songs. The folk song “A little path” was earnestly realized, maintaining a simple, unassuming innocence even over an accompaniment that could have come from a Richard Rodgers love-song. Huang Zi’s “Three Rose Wishes,” meanwhile, proved strikingly Schumannesque, featuring a direct, pining, striving melody over cushioned strings. Li Qingzhu’s “I Live Beside the Yangtze River” offered vivid ripples from a harp, with delicate pulses in the orchestra. Jo handled all of these with sensitive artistry”
    Eric C. Simpson, New York Classical Review, 1 February 2017

  • 16 Jan 17 Charity Concert
    Meralco Theater Manila
    More info  

    “2016 is still Sumi Jo’s year with well-received concerts from Texas to Japan (the Seaside Jazz Festival), Paris and Italy (with Andrea Bocelli), at the Chatelet Theater in Paris where she got another standing ovation and on to Australia where the applause and rave reviews got louder and wilder.

    She is a soloist of the New York Philharmonic on Jan. 31 after which she has a return engagement with the Hong Kong Philharmonic on Feb. 3, then she will be in Manila for the second time at the Meralco Theater on Feb. 7 with pianist Najib Ismail.

    Of her latest engagements, the ecstatic audience adulations at Paris Chatelet Theater and Australia show her vocal artistic prowess has remained unblemished through the years.”
    Pablo A. Tariman, Manila Standard, 16 January 2017

  • 21 Nov 16 Maria Callas Tribute Recital
    City Recital Hall, Sydney
    More info  

    “An evening with Korean prima donna Sumi Jo is the whole package.

    Not only do you get a swag of well-loved arias and the occasional show tune — with some Korean folk songs to season — but you also get four stunning dress changes and some engaging comic business to boot.”

     

    “Predictably her handling of Bellini’s Casta diva from Norma, the aria most associated with Callas, was a standout. The control, clarity of line and warm tone were glorious.

    Sumi Jo sings Ave Maria in a 2008 concert tribute to her father.

    Similarly Schubert’s Ave Maria, which she sang so movingly in Paris just after she heard that her father had died, was beautifully delivered with Matthewman matching her phrasing with uncanny empathy.”

     

    “Jo was generous with her encores — three in them to please all tastes, including a heart-melting performance of Un bel di vedremo from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.”
    Steve Moffatt, Australian Daily Telegraph, 22 November 2016

  • 24 Oct 15 Concerts with Hawaii Symphony Orchestra
    Neal Blaisdell Center, Honolulu
    More info  

    Korean soprano Sumi Jo wowed her audience at the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra concert on Saturday, transforming a quietly polite audience into an enthusiastic crowd of fans, their cries of “Brava!” and “Encore!” echoing through the hall in an extended standing ovation.

    Sumi Jo is a memorable, flamboyant performer. Each of her four entries elicited gasps of appreciation for her glittering gowns, stunning confections of gold and silver, soft pastels, sparkling reds and white, accented with dramatic ribbons and sashes.

    She began the evening quietly in manner, but by the end proved to be quite the entertainer – dancing with the conductor, acting out songs, arranging people on stage and inviting the audience to join in.

    In a masterfully constructed program, Sumi Jo presented some of the greatest hits – and some of the most challenging arias – composed for her vocal type, a very light lyric coloratura. The arias chosen suited her voice perfectly, culminating in the show-stopping “Doll Song” from “Tales of Hoffmann.” It was pure joy to hear a beautifully trained voice deliver such difficult works with ease and grace.

    Sumi Jo’s voice is clear, warm, and exceptionally flexible, leaping throughout her range, ornamenting notes with high trills and tight vibratos. For some climaxes, she sang higher, alternate notes in passages that are already stratospheric.

    In the eternal trade-off between diction and clarity of tone, Sumi Jo leaned toward clarity of tone and was at her absolute best in passages of wordless vocalizing that gave her voice free rein to revel in pure sound.

    Two selections were duets with mezzo-soprano Maya Hoover, of the music department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Both duets were lovely, and Delibes’ “Flower Duet” from “Lakmé” was one of the evening’s highlights.

    Sumi Jo’s and Hoover’s voices matched perfectly, of similar weight and different but compatible timbres, one brighter, the other darker. Every note, every phrase were synchronized, and their voices allowed each line to remain distinct while melding into perfectly balanced harmony. Truly outstanding.

    Under the direction of Mexican American conductor Jorge Mester, the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra sounded wonderful, attaining new peaks in quality. Thoughtfully shaped phrases reflected Mester’s lifetime experience with conducting and delivered a consistently transparent texture so that even inner lines remained clear.

    Mester maintained an exceptionally well-balanced sound, not only in delicate passages and passionate climaxes, but also between orchestra and singer, ensuring Sumi Jo’s every note could be heard and offering support without ever obscuring.

    Each of Mester’s interpretations was a treat: Tchaikovsky’s “Polonaise” felt like dancing, Saint-Saens’ “Bacchanale” was exuberant without becoming raucous, and Strauss’ waltzes sounded Viennese.

    It was also a delight to hear the orchestra showcase its soloists: concertmaster Ignace Jang (violin), Scott Janusch and Ryan Klein (both oboe), Lindsay Edwards (English horn), James Moffitt (clarinet), Paul Barrett (bassoon), Mark Votapek (cello), and especially Susan McGinn (flute) in a lovely duet with Sumi Jo, a set of virtuosic variations on “Ah! Vous dirai-je Maman” (better known as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”).

    Sumi Jo ended the evening with two encores, including one commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Korean War and hoping for reunification in the future.

    If you have not yet heard Sumi Jo, don’t miss the opportunity – it’s a great concert.

    Ruth Bingham, Star Advertiser, 25 October 2015

  • 22 Feb 14 Gala Concert with Singapore Symphony Orchestra
    Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore
    More info  

    Gala: Sumi Jo just about sums it up. …

    The audience ate it up and rewarded her with cheers and rounds of applause.

    Her finest singing came in the first of her four encores, “O mio babbino caro” from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Her career was built upon bel canto roles, but she sang this verismo aria with warmth and charm.

    Sumi Jo the entertainer was front and center … Her props included a fan, a wineglass and of course her fabulous dresses. She even waltzed at one point … much to the delight of the audience.”
    Rick Perdian, Seen and Heard International, 22 February 2014

  • 01 Jul 13 Bellini Norma
    CD, DECCA
    More info  

    “[Jo] is probably the most convincing Adalgisa of my recent experience. The first recitative “Sgombra è la sacra selva” immediately establishes the character’s desperate confliction and fear and Jo’s sense of breathless dread takes the listener into her mental world. The following aria “Deh! Proteggimi, o Dio” is sung with gentle sweetness but doesn’t downplay the agony…Jo eloquently shows her character helpless to resist the charms of her seducer but remains racked with guilt…Jo’s blank horror on “Che ascolto!” is moving indeed”…Jo’s contrasting gentle response “Mira, o Norma” leads into the duet acknowledged as one of the pearls of bel canto and both artists are at their best here.”
    Opera Brittania, 24 May 2013

    “Cuts made early in the work’s performing history are opened up, and voice types approximating to those of the first cast are deployed. So Norma (Cecilia Bartoli) has a darker tone than Adalgisa (Sumi Jo), while a lyric, rather than a dramatic tenor – John Osborn – sings Pollione. Its principal revelations lie in the orchestral sound, stark and abrasive rather than comfortingly smooth, Giovanni Antonini’s urgent conducting, and, above all, in Jo’s immensely touching depiction of ruined innocence.”
    The Guardian, Tim Ashley, 13 June 2013

  • 01 May 12 Nixon in China (Madame Mao)
    Chatelet Theatre
    More info  

    “rigorously executed and superbly acted…Sumi Jo’s Madame Mao patrols her space and fires off the top notes.”
    Financial Times, April 2012

  • 01 Apr 11 Recital
    Roy Thompson Hall, USA
    More info  

    “an evening of high-flying pyrotechnic display, whether baroque or buffo. One showpiece followed another. And another.

    A lesser singer would have bored us silly with all this brilliance and accuracy, but Jo is expert enough at shading notes and shaping phrases to keep the skeptical ear engaged. Charles Gounod’s Sérénade was particularly rich compendium of smartly rolled trills and lines given just the right (and natural) bend of vibrato.

    She could sing with pathos, too, in O quante volte from Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. Two Korean items brought out a dramatic heft not normally equated with coloraturas. The two final numbers, the Doll Song from The Tales of Hoffmann (Offenbach) and Sempre libera from La Traviata (Verdi), offered a striking illustration of Jo’s capacity to darken her voice on demand…”
    Washington National Post, April 2011

Repertoire

CONCERT REPERTOIRE includes:

BERG
Lulu Suite

DVORAK
Song to the Moon

BRAHMS
Requiem

FAURE
Requiem

GLIERE
Concerto for Coloratura Soprano in F minor

MAHLER
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 4
Des Knaben Wunderhorn

MOZART
Concert Arias, varia
Mass in C minor

ORFF
Carmina Burana

STRAUSS
Lieder der Frauen
Morgen

VILLA LOBOS
Bachianas Brasileria No. 5

 

OPERATIC REPERTOIRE includes:

BELLINI
I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Giulietta)
I Puritani (Elvira)
La Sonnambula (Amina)

DONIZETTI
Don Pasquale (Norina)
Lucia di Lammermoor (Lucia)

MOZART
Lucio Silla (Giunia)

POULENC
Les Dialogues des Carmelites (Constance)

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV
Le Coq d’Or (Shemakha)

ROSSINI
Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rosina)
Il Turco in Italia (Fiorilla)
Le Comte Ory (Adele)

STRAUSS
Ariadne auf Naxos (Zerbinetta)
Der Rosenkavalier (Sophie)

THOMAS
Hamlet (Ophelie)

VERDI
Rigoletto (Gilda)
Un ballo in maschera (Oscar)