• Grammy winner Sumi Jo, voice from above, in Manila

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    Sumi Jo

    Sumi Jo

    World-renowned Korean soprano Sumi Jo once said, “I think music is a God-given mission for me.” Called the “coloratura soprano with a voice from above” and a Grammy Award winner, she sings in a one-night concert at the Samsung Hall, SM Aura Premier, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig on Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. Her collaborating artist is the Philippines’ Najib Ismail.

    Proceeds from the concert will go to the rehabilitation of Samar though the Tanging Yaman Foundation.

    Born in Seoul in 1962, Sumi Jo finished a two-year course at Seoul National University College of Music and was at the top of her Vocal Music class. She enrolled at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Italy in 1983 where she finished the five-year course in just two years. Three years into her musical experience there, she debuted as Gilda, the female lead for Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto in October 1986. She went on to sing in 1988 in Un ballo in maschera with world-class opera singers, including tenor Placido Domingo.

    Conductor Herbert von Karajan was looking for a suitable cast during the auditions for this show. He told her, “You’ve got a voice from above. This is the voice I can hear once in almost a hundred years.” The special bond they made at that moment lasted years all the way to his death. He led her to become one of the world’s top sopranos.

    Her musical depth broadened as she became the first Korean soprano to perform at the most prestigious opera houses: La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the Royal Opera House in London, the Vienna State Opera and Théâtre National de l’Opéra de Paris.

    She has collaborated with orchestras led by conductors such as Georg Solti, Zubin Mehta, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Lorin Maazel, Daniel Baremboim, Richard Bonygne, Kent Nagano, James Conlon, among others.

    Recognized for her unparalleled operatic virtuosity, Sumi Jo was named the Best Soprano of the Year at the Sixth La Siola d’Oro in Italy in 1993 and received the International Puccini Award in 2008, making her the first non-Italian recipient.

    Aside from winning numerous Grammy Awards, she has extended her musical boundaries beyond classical music. She has sung pop songs, in musicals and in soundtracks, including the movie “The Ninth Gate,” featuring Johnny Depp, “Eat, Pray, Love” with Julia Robert, the series “Mildred Pierce,” Korean tele-novelas “Ju-mong”, “Lost Empire”, “Hu-Jun”. This has made her more friendlier to pop music fans who she has converted into classical music lovers.

    The Korean Cultural Center, together with Edsa Shangrila Hotel and Steinway Boutique Manila and in partnership with the Cultural Arts Events Organizer, BusinessWorld, HighLife, HerWord, The Manila Times, DZFE.FM His Master’s Touch, Scribe Writing Essential and Bulgogi’s Brother, will give Filipino music lovers this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Aside from the concert, Ms. Jo will give a masterclass at the St. Scholastica’s Corazon Aquino Hall on February 2, 2014 at 5:00 in the afternoon. The masterclass is open to the public free of charge.

    For tickets, call 782-7164 or 750-0768, cell phone nos. 0918-347-3027 or 0920-954-0053. Tickets are also available at SM Ticket Outlets, tel. no. 470-2222 or visit www.smtickets.com.

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