So Young Park is no stranger to Los Angeles operagoers.
Since 2014, Park has appeared in multiple LA Opera productions and concerts. The coloratura soprano first set foot on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage as Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro and has since wowed audiences in leading roles including the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Blondchen in The Abduction from the Seraglio and Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann.
“As Olympia, the mechanical doll that Hoffmann is tricked into believing is his love, So Young Park…sang spectacularly.” – Los Angeles Times
On July 24, the Domingo-Colburn-Stein alumna will compete in Operalia, Plácido Domingo’s annual opera competition, and sharing her high notes with the world.
When Park first came to Los Angeles to join the young artist program in 2014, she already had a significant opera background. Park, a native of Pusan, South Korea, had been singing, auditioning, and competing since she was eight. She studied vocal performance at Seoul National University and had recently completed an artistic diploma and master’s degree from the prestigious New England Conservatory. By the time she hit our stage, she had sung Gilda in Rigoletto, Adele in Die Fledermaus, and Amore in Orfeo ed Euridice, among other roles.
At LA Opera, Park came into her own as a singer.
“I’m sure everyone can hear how different my voice is now compared to the beginning of my first year,” says Park.
That’s because Park took advantage of everything the program had to offer, including unlimited coachings, master classes, and language courses. Park spent many days in the theater doing what she loves the most – performing. She also experienced the incredible opportunities that a world-class training program has to offer.
“I loved LA Opera’s program,” says Park. “I performed a lot in school, but school is a safer space. You’re still learning. Performing at LA Opera is different. It’s a great, professional company, and you work with world-class singers. I was very lucky to be part of a few huge productions as a young artist. The Ghosts of Versailles was truly a gift. It was an amazing experience and even though I had a small role I still got a certificate from the Grammy Association when we won two Grammy Awards last year.”
When she walks on the stage at Operalia, Park will see a familiar face – that of her idol and mentor, Plácido Domingo.
She cites the opportunity to work with Domingo as one of the young artist program’s greatest strengths.
“You audition for him in the final rounds,” explains Park. “Also, when he is town, we get the chance to work with him.” Domingo and the LA Opera program have been instrumental in Park’s career, leading to her professional debut in her home country.
“In November 2014, Maestro Domingo invited me to sing with him in his huge concert in South Korea,” Park excitedly recalls. “It was one of the biggest moments of my life and such a terrific moment for my family.”
Park has kept busy since “graduating” from the young artist program.
She returned for three roles at LA Opera during the 2016/17 season. She debuted at Opera Naples as the Queen of the Night. Park also reprised the role of Gilda in Opera Las Vegas’s production of Rigoletto. Recently, she was a soloist in the Metropolitan Opera’s summer concert series.
Next week, she’ll sing one of the Queen of the Night’s arias at the Operalia competition. “When I hit the high notes, it makes me excited and I can feel the audience’s excitement. It’s really special,” says Park. She jokes, “And it’s short.”
Park will join a legacy of Domingo-Colburn-Stein alums who have vied for the top prizes at Operalia. She previously competed once before 2014.
“Last time, I thought I was ready. But, I was so nervous and it was my first time singing in such a huge place. This time, I’m more mentally prepared. Getting this opportunity again is wonderful.”
Good luck, So Young. Your LA Opera family is rooting for you!
To learn more about the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, click here.
To watch So Young Park compete in Operalia, live stream the competition day of on medici.tv.LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.