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Korean-born SUMI JO (The Queen of the Night) began her musical studies in Seoul, obtaining diplomas in both singing and piano. In 1983 she travelled to Italy to study in Rome at Santa Cecilia with Carlo Bergonzi and Giannella Borrelli.
A disciple of Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland, Sumi Jo has emerged as one of the most beautiful voices in contemporary opera. As a coloratura soprano she is a true diva of the highest order. Admired for the astonishing emotional expression, authenticity, and warmth of her coloratura voice and for her impeccable artisanship pursing her originality, she has been claimed as °a voice from above" by Maestro Herbert von Karajan.
Sumi Jo's first break as a soprano came in 1986 as Gilda in Rigoletto in Trieste, Italy. From there her international career took off. In 1987, she made her Salzburg Festival debut as Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera under the baton of Maestro Karajan. Remarkably, only a year had elapsed since her graduation from Santa Cecilia Academy, Rome, Italy.
Since then she has performed leading roles in Lucia di Lamermoor in Strasbourg, Barcelona, Paris, and New York; La Sonnambula in Santiago, Chile; Der Rosenkavalier in Los Angeles; Rigoletto in Bilbao and Oviedo, Bologna, Trieste, Detroit, and New York; Il Turco in Italia in Spain; L'Enfant et les Sortilèges in Boston and Pittsburgh; and Le Comte Ory in Rome and Aix-en-Provence Festival.
Within the musical profession itself, normally hard-to-please critics vie for superlatives with which to praise her fruity coloratura voice, its dazzling agility and range of four octaves, and her magnetic personality, which sets the stage alight. Sumi Jo appeared in The House of Montague and The House of Capulet in Minnesota with Maestro Richard Bonynge. Since then, he has been a mentor for Sumi Jo helping to mold her coloratura vioce.
Her busy schedule with various opera productions seems endless. Recently she has performed Die Zauberflöte with René Jacobs and La Sonnambula at La Monnaie in Brussels and at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Lucia at Opera Berlin, Dinorah in New York, concerts at the Théâtre du Châtelet and Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. She has also gone on recital tours in Europe (including London, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, and Rome), the United States (including New York, Los Angeles, Washington, and Boston), and Australia (including Melbourne and Perth).
Sumi Jo has recorded more than 30 CDs, both full operas and various solo albums, including: Bel Canto, Sumi Jo sings Mozart, Virtuoso Arias, Live at Carnegie Hall, Les bijoux, and La Promessa. Her CD Only Love sold over 1 million copies, confirming her as one of the world's most beloved sopranos.