Aria Brewed with Diligence and Modesty
Winner of the 67th Viotti Music Competition, Jo Chan-hee
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Luciano Pavarotti, one of the three tenors of a popular operatic singing group, and Jo Su-mi, a Grammy Award-winning South Korean soprano, are the world famous opera singers in history. These two renowned opera singers, including others such as Mirella Freni and Hong Seong-hun are the winners who received first prize in the 67-year-old Viotti Music Competition. Jo Chan-hee (Vocal Music, ‘16), along with these legendary figures of music, won first prize in the Viotti music contest held from October 21th to 29th, in Vercelli, Italy. News H met Jo Chan-hee to hear about his life and his music.
Q1. Congratulations, could you please introduce yourself to the readers? Also, tell us how you felt about your win.
Right now, I feel thankful for everyone who congratulated me on winning the award. The reason for my participation of the contest was to check my ability before going abroad to study vocal music in depth. I still cannot forget the moment when my name was shown as a winner, and I feel a bit embarrassed because I was quite nervous during the contest. I could have given a better performance.
Q2. How did you prepare for the contest?
I did not actually prepare for the contest like preparing for a test. Rather, I always practice singing about two hours every day. My mother, who is a leader of an opera group, gives music lessons to me. Then I look for the meaning of the lyrics of the songs in Italian, German, French, and Russian. Because arias consist of lines from poems, I write the verses over and over to remember them.
Memorization, feeling the beat of the music, and delivery are very important. Therefore, I read these words out loud, think a lot about the pronunciation of vowels and consonants. I also use Youtube as a reference, searching for the songs that I have to practice. Although these activities seem like a great deal, I find them very enjoyable.
Q3. Could you introduce us the song you performed in the contest?
In order to participate in an international music competition, you have to practice the work that is selected by the host. The song I sang is Don Giovanni by Mozart. The part I performed is an aria by the character Leporello, a servant of the womanizer Don Giovanni, who introduces his master’s various love interests. The lyrics are lewd and also humorous.
Q4. Was there anything interesting aspects of the contest, and were there any difficulties while participating in the event?
The interesting aspect while joining the competition was that we were asked to record videos of the city of Vercelli, and in the finale contest, the scenery that we recorded was put up as a background while we gave performances, like a film festival. The difficult thing was controlling my condition before the contest, such as adjusting to the weather.
Q5. Living as an artist, and especially as an opera singer, is very honorable. However, there must be some difficulties in the life of artists. What do you think are the hardships of living as an opera singer?
Seeing my professor Ko Seong-hyeon, and my parents, the life of an opera singer is very honorable. However it is also burdensome in terms of responsibility as well. An opera singer‘s body is a musical instrument in itself. So I consistently need to take care of my body and control myself. That way, I will be able to deliver happiness and sadness altogether to the audience.
Q6. How did you start studying vocal music? What is the driving force that pushes you on?
I’m a bit different from others because I have two sets of parents instead of one. I spent my youth with my real parents, but their situations did not permit them to educate me further. Because of those reasons, I was adopted by my step parents from my middle school 3rd year. My step parents did not have any children, so they regarded me as a gift from God. They truly cared about me and they were the ones who taught me vocal music. My step grandfather was an honorary professor at a university and changed my introvert personality to be more active, fostering leadership through education. I believe that thanks to them and my grandparents, I could accomplish all the things that I achieved now. I love and thank them with all my heart, and always try hard to repay their love.
Q7. What is your dream and what are your future plans?
I am going to enroll in the HYU graduate school of the same major next semester. In addition, next year, I am planning to participate in famous music competitions in Korea, such as contests hosted by Joongang and Dong-a newspapers, or by Gwangju and Daegu provinces. I am also going to study abroad someday. I have a lot to learn, and I still believe that I need to try very hard to accomplish my future dreams. If I can endeavor as much as I have done until now, I would say that... I really want to become an opera singer.
Jang Soo-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
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