Internationally celebrated Grammy-award winning coloratura soprano, Sumi Jo, has returned to Australia for a series of unmissable concerts in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, drawing a huge spotlight in the Australian media.
One of the world’s greatest exponents of bel canto (beautiful singing), Sumi Jo, has managed to squeeze an Australian tour lasting barely a week between her international commitments to perform in a thrilling program entitled Mad for Love.
Together with José Carbó, the much-loved Argentinian-born baritone, and accompanied by acclaimed pianist Guy Noble, Sumi Jo will ignite the stage with renditions of the most passionate repertoire from opera and operetta to canzoni, tangos, and meltingly beautiful folk songs from her native Korea.
Jo’s abilities in the stratosphere are renowned. She pulled off another big test in the soprano repertoire with equal alacrity.
In Caro nome from Verdi’s Rigoletto she dwelled even more daringly in the top range.
Jose Carbo is no mere accessory to Jo. He was an effective counterfoil in arias by Rossini and Korngold, and in a handful of duets the two singers bounced off each other amusingly.
As a singer he may not be in the same class as Jo, but Carbo has a particular force of presence and his diction was clear and intelligible throughout.
The two singers came together beautifully on stage in several of the show’s high points. Their repartee in Lippen Schweigen from Lehar’s The Merry Widow was one. Jo gives Carbo the come-on while checking out the conductor: it’s a real tease.
A downside is that she was backed by an orchestra only at her Adelaide appearance. In other cities she will be accompanied by piano, which is a pity because to sample her full capabilities one really wants to hear her supported by orchestra.
Described by the legendary maestro Herbert von Karajan as having “a voice from above”, Sumi Jo is one of the most in demand singers on the international stage.
Her astonishing vocal technique and purity of tone captivate audiences and she is also renowned for her magnificent dress changes throughout a performance.
The 55-year-old Grammy award winner has added a significant meaning to the Australian tour, regarding Australia as a special place in her heart.
“Australia, for me, is my motherland,” Sumi says. “I grew up listening to Joan Sutherland. I have all her albums” she has said, in an interview with Alan Jones of 2GB.
Sumi Jo: Mad for Love. Melbourne Recital Centre, tonight; City Recital Hall, Sydney, Thursday; Brisbane Concert Hall, Saturday.