Sumi Jo: My Korean Alter Ego

When I spent a year teaching English in Korea, all of my students had English names.  A Korean student is given an English name by the teacher on the student’s first day of English class, and he often keeps it the rest of his life.  (Obviously, this is not a tradition, just a practicality.)

My students began asking me if I had a Korean name.  I realized that I had better name myself before allowing one of the students to name me, so I chose the name Sumi Jo, or rather Jo Sumi, since in Korea the family name goes first.  My students thought that was a little uncool, since she’s an opera singer, but they still accepted it, after all, Sumi Jo is Korean, and Koreans feel an intense amount of national pride.

Here is Sumi Jo singing Der Holle Rache from Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute.)  She shows off her coloratura range and ability in this aria.

I’ve never heard this version of Ave Maria, but it’s quite lovely.  It’s also fun to see the hangul (Korean letters) on the screen.

Last, but not least, I leave you with something a lighter, “Una Voce Poco Fa” from Il Barbiere Di Siviglia.  In this scene, Rosina is proclaiming her love for the young count, and her fierce determination not to let anyone stand in her way from marrying him.


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4 Responses to Sumi Jo: My Korean Alter Ego

  1. Chris Cain says:

    If you’re going to pick a Korean name, I can’t think of a better one!! Sumi is proof there is a God.

  2. wilfried says:

    I never heard this Vavilov version of Ave Maria either.
    I love it. It is a very melacholic piece of music for me, beautifully sung by Sumi Jo.
    I find Russian music melancholic of nature (my sister in law is half Russian, half German).
    Italian music (Cacinni was Italian I think) is most of the time more joyful, reflecting the warmer weather in Italy I assume.

    • I think you’re right about the Italian view of life stemming from the wonderful weather they enjoy. It’s strange to go back and see this post again, especially since the other two videos no longer work.

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