Korea’s music market already has a wealth of “popera” singers, but Ensemble Rottini are aiming to take the genre to the next level.
In the past several years, men with charms and sweet voices have been drawing not only classical music lovers but also pop fans seeking something different.
Rottini, which released its first mini album “Vita Mia” on Sept. 10 is the latest product from Credia, an influential classical music artists’ agency, who joined the growing throng of hopefuls looking to become the next Il Divo.
Rottini appeared at soprano diva Sumi Jo’s “Park Concert: Fantasia” over the weekend and the group is scheduled to hold a concert on Nov. 28 at the Seoul Arts Center.
|From left: Park Ji-min, Aldo Heo and Joseph Lim of Rottini (Credia)|
The three singers of Rottini have all the qualities of their predecessors, dating back to the Three Tenors composed of the late Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo: Good looks, good voices and great stage manner. Individually, each has won numerous international competitions and performed at world-class opera halls with famous orchestras.
Mischievous leader and tenor Park Ji-min is frank and perky. At the showcase on Sept. 10 in southern Seoul, Park dared to say that he “couldn’t focus on the role of Romeo in the opera ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ because his counterpart Juliet was ugly.” He also said that nowadays opera singers often diet because the public does not want to see fat singers.
Baritone Aldo Heo, who garnered international acclaim for his performance with Placido Domingo, is witty and has plenty of confidence. While singing an aria from “Le nozze di Figaro,” he jumped into the audience and wooed individual reporters. Baritone Joseph Lim seems shy but was open enough to share about his family and inspiration.
For their first album, the singers chose Romantic Italian songs. The title song, “Vita Mia,” is known as the father of all popera scores. Pop singer Cliff Richard and Italian tenor Vincenzo la Scola sang the song together to unite pop and classical music fans.
The second track, “Ancora,” depicts a broken heart crying over lost love. “It isn’t all romantic as it sounds,” Lim said. “It is about kicking the doors of your ex, throwing rocks at her window.” Familiar tunes such as “Love Theme” from Italian film “Cinema Paradiso” take on a romantic atmosphere. Park’s high and transparent voice harmonizes with Heo’s powerful and Lim’s pesante vocals and create a unique atmosphere.
Coloratura soprano Sumi Jo, who has recorded several popera songs herself, earlier this month admitted that popera could be a double-edged sword for opera singers.
“It requires you to breathe and use your vocal chords in a totally different way and could easily ruin your opera career. You really need to be careful,” she said, stressing that getting closer to the public requires extra effort.
Lim, who performed with Jo over the weekend with popera songs, agreed. But he also vowed that the members would seek a balance between the two different worlds.
“It is of course our primary interest to sing at opera halls and have our careers firmly rooted in the classical music industry but meeting people with more comfortable music is a great experience and we are all grateful and excited for the chances,” he said. “We will try to meet you as often as we can and at the same time pursue our careers at the international level,” he added.
By Bae Ji-sook (email@example.com