A Shining Star in Operas and Musicals
A challenging singer, Kim Soon-yeong
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A Verdi opera ‘Rigoletto’ came to an end on the 30th of June with loud applause from the audience. A renowned vocalist, Kim Soon-yeong (Department of Vocal Music, ’06), famous for both musicals and operas, caught the attention through the character named ‘Gilda’. She acted out the pure and innocent girl through her voice, leading the opera to a great hit.
A soprano, stepping into a musical
Opera vocal performers would frequently think that they would not be able to perform again in operas once they expand thier activities to musicals. However, Kim completely broke the stereotype through the character ‘Christine’ in the musical ‘Phantom’, which was premiered in 2015. She was casted by EMK music company through the music video ‘First Love’, composed by Kim Hyo-geun (Click to listen). “A lot of acquaintances tried to persuade me not to do it since they thought I wouldn’t be able to perform again in operas. But I didn’t want to miss an opportunity of new experiences," said Kim.
Of course, Kim was not a perfect actress from the beginning. She faced extreme hardships as she had to step into an entirely different area. The tempo of the musical was much faster than that of operas along with the increased number of acting scenes. “I wasn’t able to keep up with the other actors at first. The choir even ridiculed me during the practices. However, as I got better through persistent practice, the pure, passionate character of Christine became soundly mine and I gained more confidence.” Kim reminisced. She also mentioned that she was able to understand the character more deeply because of the fact that Christine came from the countryside, just like Kim who moved from Daejeon to Seoul to achieve her dream.
As a result, Kim attained absolute success and became the only actress who took the role of Christine again in the second presentation of ‘Phantom’ this year. She remarked that she was able to act in a much more relaxed manner throughout the second presentation as she was extremely tensed up in the first one. Kim praised the features of musicals through her own experience. “I was never bored of acting even though I played the role of Christine numerous times. It felt new everytime with different actors of ‘Phantom’. They allowed me to feel different emotions each time I act on stage.” Kim performed as Christine 98 times in total, but she is confident that she enjoyed each and every performance.
Kim’s significance of operas and musicals
“I would never be able to choose between operas and musicals. They both have their own charming points.” said Kim. Formally, even when both performances practice for the same amount of time, operas usually have only 2 or 3 plays while musicals have much more plays; 50 for each presentation in the case of ‘Phantom’. Therefore, Kim pointed out that she can fully absorb the character of musicals throughout the acts but only feels like rehearsals with operas.
Kim also pointed out the different focuses of each plays. Operas focus more deeply into music, while musicals put their priorities on acting. Therefore, Kim puts every ounce of her energy into her songs in operas. She explained that she can reach a state of catharsis through the concentration of her voice in the music. On the other hand, as musicals focus more in actions, Kim felt that they tend to be more energetic, diverse and colorful. Kim praised both areas for their own unique traits.
Kim anticipated that she would continue performing in both areas of operas and musicals. Her aspiration is later to be referred an all-rounder. “I’m not the best in any area. However, I think that’s the very reason I was able to try both of them, and make satisfying results.” Kim wished that she could inspire more of her junior colleagues to broaden their views and to challenge themselves in various areas. “Performances nowadays show a collaboration of various areas. Fitting to the trend, I wish opera vocal performers can also show active performances in areas other than just from their own.” Kim concluded.
On Jung-yun email@example.com
Photos by Moon Ha-na
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