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[Herald Interview] With musical 'Il Tenore,' Seo Kyung-su 'couldn't be happier'

By Park Ga-young

Published : April 9, 2024 - 16:46

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Musical actor Seo Kyung-su portrays Yun I-seon in musical Musical actor Seo Kyung-su portrays Yun I-seon in musical "Il Tenore." (OD Company)

The strong and positive audience reaction to the new musical, "Il Tenore," has led to a rerun just a month after the two month-long premiere concluded on Feb. 25.

Additionally, the musical led Seo Kyung-su, who plays the lead role of Yun I-seon, a medical student with a passion for classical singing, against the backdrop of 1920s Korea during the Japanese colonial occupation, to volunteer to do an interview.

Seo alternates the role with two other top actors, Hong Kwang-ho and Park Eun-tae.

Last week, Seo, in his first interview in several years, said he wanted to show his love for “Il Tenore.

Initially, he had hesitated to audition for the role, considering its demand for classical vocal techniques. However, upon his first encounter with the music and the story of "Il Tenoro," Seo said his heart was deeply moved.

"After a couple of weeks practicing the songs, the first reading practice began, and I almost fainted because the story resonated with so much that my heart was pounding," he added.

"Il Tenore," meaning "the tenor" in Italian, centers around Yun, based on real-life tenor Lee In-seon (1906-1960), and Seo Jin-yeon, an independence movement activist and opera director, and Lee Su-han, an activist and stage designer. Together, they strive to stage an opera that champions Korea's independence, navigating the challenges of censorship imposed by the Japanese authorities during the colonial era.

Musical actor Seo Kyung-su portrays Yun I-seon in musical Musical actor Seo Kyung-su portrays Yun I-seon in musical "Il Tenore." (OD Company)

"With 'Il Tenore,' the breadth of my happiness has expanded. Now I understand the expression, 'I have no regrets.' I couldn’t be happier,” Seo said, adding he loves all the actors and staff members he works with.

Musical actor Seo Kyung-su (OD Company) Musical actor Seo Kyung-su (OD Company)

However, it doesn't mean he's content with himself as an actor now.

"I strive to improve every day. There are moments when I feel like I've made progress, but I'm still not fully satisfied. Whenever I start to feel satisfied, I notice a decline," Seo said.

Seo, born in 1989, made his debut in the musical theater as an ensemble for “Jesus Christ Super Star.”

He slowly rose through the musical scene taking major roles like Ryuk in “Death Note” or Lola in “Kinky Boots” and Danny Zuko in “Grease."

The book for “Il Tenore" was penned by Hue Park and Will Aronson. The score was composed by Aronson with lyrics by Park.

The second run takes place at Blue Square in Hannam-dong, central Seoul, until May 19.