Soprano Hwang Sumi hopes to show the colors of her voice on new album

October 23, 2019
울려 퍼지는 올림픽찬가 (평창=연합뉴스)

울려 퍼지는 올림픽찬가 (평창=연합뉴스)

Soprano Hwang Sumi said Wednesday that her maiden album brims with all the colors of her voice and her musical interpretation of European lieder.

Her first album, titled “Songs,” was released on the same day with the German classical music record label Deutsche Grammophon. It includes 16 arts songs and lieder composed by Richard Strauss, Franz Liszt, Benjamin Britten and Richard Schubert. Austrian classical pianist Helmut Deutsch accompanied Hwang on the piano.

“I first thought it must be a challenge to release an album with lieder in Korea, where such European songs are not popular,” the singer said at a media session in Seoul. “But Mr. Deutsch told me that this album can be a good chance for me to show my musical talent to Korean fans.”

Hwang gained international fame after winning the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium in 2014, regarded as one of the most coveted accolades in classical music.

She performed the Olympic Anthem at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics held in South Korea’s mountainous town of PyeongChang.

The soprano said she sang in German, Italian and English and tried not to miss any small nuance of the poems and lyrics of the songs.

“It is difficult for a Korean singer to sing foreign-language songs,” the 33-year old singer said. “Mr. Deutsch gave me directions on details, nuances and colors of the German songs, while I had lessons on Italian and English as well.”

Singing to the accompaniment of the piano, instead of an orchestra, moreover, she paid more attention on filling the musical space with her vocal and emotional interpretation.

“Strauss composed a lot of symphonies and many of his songs fit well with an orchestral accompaniment,” she said. “When I sang Strauss’ lied to the piano, I have to add more colors and nuances of the lyrics with my voice and emotion.”

Deutsch, a 73-year old veteran pianist specializing in chamber music and lieder accompaniment, said Hwang is so talented and open-minded that she learns everything very seriously, and absorbs as much as she can.

“I was very impressed not only by her voice, but also by her technique, how fast she can accept new ideas and change things in a short time,” he said. “She is a very talented singer.”

The duo will also have a concert at LG Art Center in southern Seoul on Friday.