KNO chief sorry for appointing wife, introduces new Korean premiere

By KH디지털2
  • Published : May 4, 2016 - 15:05
  • Updated : May 4, 2016 - 17:04

Following its Korean premiere of Antonin Dvorak’s dramatic fairy tale opera, “Rusalka,” the Korea National Opera is preparing for yet another premiere production – Antonio Vivaldi’s “Orlando Finto Pazzo.”

However, soon after the finale performance of “Rusalka” on Sunday, KNO artistic director Kim Hak-min drew flak when it was revealed that he had appointed his wife -- who has no musical background -- to act as the production’s dramaturg. She had also been put in charge of translating the opera.

The duties of an opera dramaturg typically entails taking part in the development of a production. It is widely regarded as an important role that requires the individual to have experience in scriptwriting and possess a strong understanding of music to properly decipher the artistic text.

An outside director had originally been hired to produce “Rusalka,” but Kim had decided to step in and take the reins as director when unexpected creative differences got in the way, inevitably leading to his wife’s appointment.

“We recently wrapped up our production of ‘Rusalka.’ I know it came as a surprise to many when the news came out that I had asked my wife to be involved in the production, and for this I have a very heavy heart,” Kim explained during a press conference at N Studio in Seoul on Wednesday.

Kim Hak-min (second from right), artistic director of Korea National Opera, speaks at a press conference held at the Seoul Arts Center’s N Studio on Wednesday. (Korea National Opera)

“I was in a situation where we found out too late that we would not have a director and I had to suddenly step in and take control of the production. As the director, I admit it was a mistake on my part, so I want to give my official apology.”

“We will soon be returning with our new production, ‘Orlando Finto Pazzo,’ another Korean premiere,” the director continued. “I wanted to show an Italian opera, but I am opposed to restaging a production that’s already been on the Korean stage, I wanted to bring something new.” 

A Baroque opera written in the early years of Vivaldi, “Orlando Finto Pazzo” tells the tale of the scorned Ersilla who orders the destruction of Orlando. However, the plot quickly thickens as deceit, betrayal and revenge start to take control.

“The libretto was written by the renowned Grazio Braccioli and has a beautiful musical score and story,” said the opera’s director Fabio Ceresa during the press conference. “With more than a 300-year history, this production has already proven to be a timeless classic.”

“I don’t want go into too many details about my part and my character, so all I will say is, I promise it will be a performance you will go crazy for and never forget,” added soprano Francasca Lombari Mazzulli, who will be playing the role of Ersilla.

The opera will also star bass baritone Christian Senn as Orlando, tenor June Byoung-ho as Brandimarte and countertenor David Lee as Argillano.

“Orlando Finto Pazzo” will be staged at the LG Arts Center in Gangnam-gu from May 18 to 21. Ticket prices range from 20,000 ($17.31) won to 120,000 won. For more information, visit www.nationalopera.org.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)