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[Herald Interview] Soprano bridges two ends of music spectrum

To say that Suh Yeree has a versatile voice is an understatement.

In one stage, the soprano was the living messenger of Handel, dressed like women found in 17th-century European paintings and singing church music with a crystal clear voice and all the right spirituality. Then in another, she was a whip-wielding cop in a leather outfit, the embodiment of the satirical wit in the music of 21st-century composer Gorge Ligeti.

Not only does she cross back and forth between two very different territories ― Baroque and contemporary music ― she nails both of them technically and artistically with refreshing new interpretations.

But here, unlike in Europe, where she now lives and performs, the music she fell in love with and has been pursuing since her debut in 2003 generates little excitement.

“I hope I can show to the Korean audience how fun and interesting early music is. And contemporary music, too,” she said in an interview with The Korea Herald. 

LG Arts Center
LG Arts Center

Next month, she will hold her first solo recital in Korea, titled “Alte & Neue (Old and New).”

As the title suggests, the concert will feature a unique program spanning from 16th-century Monteverdi to living composer Chin Un-suk.

She intends to mix the two opposite ends of the classical music spectrum in the concert, singing, for instance, Handel’s “Lascia ch’io pianga” after Chin’s aria.

“Fans of early music may not be particularly interested in contemporary and vice versa. My concert will be one opportunity to mix them,” she said, with a smile.

She hoped that they discover the beauty of the music, which they might have thought “dead” (early music) or “too difficult to enjoy” (contemporary).

“I personally like them both, because they allow singers a great freedom in interpretation and expression,” she said.

She plans to change her outfit several times during the concert according to the era and theme of the song.

“When I sing Baroque (music), I wear a Baroque-era dress and make gestures with my hands, just like singers of that time did.”

For Ligeti’s “The Mysteries of Macabre,” she will dress up as a cop again.

“(The costumes) are not about looking different. My focus is only on the music ― how to deliver it with sincere expression,” she stressed.

On stage, she will be accompanied by organ for Baroque and by modern piano for contemporary.

Suh Yeree’s solo recital will start at 7 p.m. on Oct. 3 at LG Arts Center, located near exit No. 7 of Yeoksam Station on Seoul Subway Line 2.

For details, call (02) 2005-0114 or visit www.lgart.com.

By Lee Sun-young (milaya@heraldcorp.com)
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