Being an Arts Editor brings with it some amazing moments- finally falling in love with an opera was certainly one of them!
Although I had seen many operas before, and had certainly thought them spectacular, it wasn’t until I saw Opera Australia’s latest production of Turandot that I really feel in love with opera. It was everything you would want: it was a grand spectacle of sets and costumes, the performers moved with the gracefulness of Graeme Murphy’s choreography, the music soared with breathtaking emotion and the cast was simply stunning.
Not only do I now have a favourite opera, but I have a favourite operatic tenor! In the role of Calaf was Lee Yonghoon and he was absolutely incredible. His voice is like magic- so entirely captivating.
Just watch this performance of Nessun Dorma!
And so it was that soon after I saw Turandot the opportunity arose to actually interview Lee- which I of course leaped at! Not only does he have an incredible voice, but he is also an incredible person. Very modest and absolutely lovely to talk to. We chatted about the opera, laughed at Calaf’s single-mindedness and confirmed whether Yonghoon ssi himself would survive through Turandot’s riddles (turns out not). We also chatted about the more traditional Korean opera with Pansori. I think there could be a wonderful opportunity to intersect the two worlds of opera but Yonghoon ssi wasn’t so sure…
In Korea there is of course a more traditional style of opera, with pansori and gosu. What do you think of performing an opera that combines this traditional style with the Western style?
It’s possible, and could be beautiful, but the gosu- it’s better with the Pansori. I think so anyway. It’s like if you have a great suit with sneakers, it’s possible but not a perfect look!
You can read my whole interview with Lee Yonghoon here.
You can also read my review of Turandot here.
Principessa Turandot! ^.^
(Photos credit (c) Branco Gaica from Opera Australia)