It was rare fortune to be able to catch the brilliant Korean soprano Sumi Jo in a masterclass at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory on Wednesday 19 February 2013. Within two rather short hours, four students sang for her, and a large audience was present to lap up what the famous coloratura diva had to share.
Unlike a lot of masterclasses where the teacher mostly mumbles to himself or herself, Sumi Jo was larger-than-life, just like the roles she portrays on stage. She got herself involved for every minute and was all ears. She even sat in the audience to hear how one of the young singers projected herself. All of the students were technically proficient, so Jo spent time to show how they could further express themselves. She sang along at times (even those snatches of song sounded celestial), and also played on the piano, partly to demonstrate each singer's range.
The audience lapped up her jokes and witticisms, and there was never a dull moment as time passed ever so quickly. Her final exhortation was that everyone was talented, but one needed to work hard at it. The ultimate aim of it all was to "make the world a better place through music." What a goddess indeed!
|Mezzo-soprano Tan Shi Yu sang Svegliatevi nel core |
from Handel's Giulio Cesare, and Sumi Jo was very impressed.
|Shi Yu was able to reach the soprano register when prompted|
Sumi Jo cannot believe she is only 18 years old.
|Soprano Melodie Tan Shi Yi sang V'adoro pupille from |
Handel's Giulio Cesare, and was given the advice
to use her diaphragm more for better control.
|Melodie was excellent in two melodies by Francis Poulenc,|
so much so that Sumi Jo had little more to add.
|Mezzo-soprano Zhang Shang got some pointers|
on how to make Carmen's Seguidilla more sensuous.
|When Sumi Jo addresses the audience,|
they are totally attentive.
|Soprano Suyen Rae shows her mettle in|
Handel's Tornami a vagheggiar from Alcina.
|Suyen learns that she could become a coloratura|
soprano, because Sumi Jo said so!
|"Work hard to make the world a better through music."|