Sumi Jo is a South Korean soprano born in Seoul on November 22, 1962.
After graduating in singing and piano in his country, at the Sun Hwa School of Art in Seoul, he arrived in Italy in 1983 to study singing at the Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome, especially with the tenor Carlo Bergonzi. In 1985 he obtained his diploma, after three years of study in Vocal Music and Piano.
He debuted in 1986 at the Giuseppe Verdi Communal Theater of Trieste in the role of Gilda, of Rigoletto. The performance of this presentation attracts the attention of Herbert von Karajan, who called her “a voice from heaven”.
In 1988 he prepared for his first time at the Salzburg Festival with the small role of Barbarina, of The Marriage of Figaro. Later, he plays the roles of Oscar in A Dance of Masks, and the Queen of the Night of The Magic Flute. Then come all the great roles of coloratura repertoire, such as Lucia, Zerbinetta, Fiorilla, Amina, Elvira, etc., under the leadership of the famous directors Georg Solti, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel and Richard Bonynge.
He shared a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording, in 1992, for the performance of Die Frau ohne Schatten, by Richard Strauss. He also participated in the soundtrack of the film The Ninth Gate by Wojciech Kilar, whose main theme was based on a melody by Rachmaninoff (Vocalise).
In 1993 he debuted successfully at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as Zerbinetta in Adriadne auf Naxos, returned in 1996 to La Reina de la Noche, in 1997 as Gilda with Leo Nucci’s Rigoletto and for a lyric gala in 2012.
Far from pigeon-holed in the Queen of the Night, which has sung in almost all operas in the world and in numerous recordings, has successfully entered other genres such as the French Opera, from the lightest (Auber, Adam, Offenbach) to the deeper (Massenet, Gounod, Charpentier), to which his voice is perfectly adapted.
Endowed with an exceptional voice of coloratura, which dominates apparently without effort, Sumi Jo knows how to characterize her characters combining a brilliant timbre with a great precision in the interpretation.