Interview with Park Soo-Kil

Date: Sep. 18 2017

Venue: Studio of Yewool Music Stage (예울음악무대 스튜디오)

Park Soo-Kil: Key Life Events Timeline 

1941

Park Soo-Kil was born in Hamheung(함흥, 咸興), Hamgyeongnam-do(함경남도, 咸鏡南道South Hamgyong Province), which is currently included in North Korea.  He moved to the South Korea with his maternal grandmother when there was the largest evacuation movement of the Korean War, the January 4th Retreat of 1951 making him separated from his parents in the North.

1964

He graduated from the school of music at Hanyang University.

1968

He made a debut as Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore at the National Theater of Korea.

1978

He graduated from Mannes School of Music in New York City.  He also held his debut concert at Carnegie Hall.

1984-2006

He worked as a Professor of Hanyang University.

1993

He established Yewool Music Stage and was concentrated on chamber opera.

1995-2002

He was a general director of the National Opera of Korea and made Opera Academy for Opera singers be equipped with a grounding in acting, ballet, and Korean dance.

1999

He initiated Korea Chamber Opera Festival.

2017

He was awarded a prize by National Academy of Arts.

(This link includes the specific information about this prize.)

 

<Some interview questions and answers>

Q: You established the Emille Opera Production in 1976 with your friends, but it lasted not long. Can you explain the reason?

A: After I came in Korea for the performance (Il Trovatore, 1978), I did not feel like to go to the US again. All my family members were here and… I did not think I was not competitive to other singers in the US. As many of primary initiators were back home in Korea, it ended in smoke.

Q: Who was the audience when you performed ChunHyangChon? Was the native audience or operagoers in the US attracted by this opera?

A: The most of the audience was Koreans in the USA. I could find some local people here and there in the auditorium, but the main audience was composed of Koreans.

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Q: Was Opera Soon Kyo Ja (순교자, The Martyred) English Opera?

A: No, It is Korean Opera. This opera is based on The Martyred written by Richard E. Kim (김은국), which was a bestseller novel in the USA, but the content was translated into Korean when the novel was made into opera.

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<Epilogue>

The time for the interview was 30 minutes at first, but it extended to one hour as he was interested in this interview. There are my important points in a checklist for the interview, but I think the most important factor is a scrutiny of an interviewee.

However, the main reason why my first interview was not difficult is he is a good person who wants to help anything for Opera in Korea. He proposed one more interview for himself and wanted to introduce the other singer, Tenor An Hyung-Il (안형일, 1927-) as my second interviewee.

I planned to my interview that its former part is the interviewee’s experiences in a chronological order and the latter part is his thought on opera in Korea by subjects to make him look back on his past first. But I could not finish my questions in the former part. Since what I really wondered is included in the latter part, I am looking forward to the next interview. Though I conducted this interview as a young researcher who recently does not belong to an organization, I hope this interview will also be a cornerstone for the study of opera someday.

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