“A splendidly bright soprano” (The New York Times)
“Among the best actor-singers I know” (René Jacobs, conductor)
With a mesmerizing voice and an irresistible stage presence, Sunhae Im is one of the world’s leading artists of her repertoire today. Ms. Im has appeared with many of the greatest conductors, performers, and opera companies of our time.
Her projects in recent years include Mozart’s La finta giardiniera (La Scala Opera’s Shanghai tour with Diego Fasolis); Mozart’s Da Ponte Trilogy (The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Cosi fan tutte, all with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and René Jacobs); Brahms’s German Requiem (in Tel Aviv with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Manfred Honeck, and in Winterthur with Musikkollegium Winterthur and Thomas Zehetmair); Handel’s Silla at the Enescu Festival (with Europa Galante and Fabio Biondi); Handel’s Serse at Festival D’opéra Baroque & Romantique De Beaune (with Orchestre Accademia Bizantina and Ottavio Dantone); Haydn’s The Creation in the stage production by La Fura dels Baus for the inaugurations of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts in Taiwan, and the Incheon Culture & Arts Center in Korea; Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Britten’s Les Illuminations (with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä), and Bach’s cantatas and concertos (with Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin).
“Captivating,” “Enchanting” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)
One of today’s most versatile vocal artists with a repertoire ranging from early music to 20th century music, Sunhae Im has performed with the world’s leading musicians and opera companies. She has worked with conductors such as René Jacobs (Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, Christmas Oratorio, Mass in B minor, Trauer-Ode; Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo; Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Septem verba a Christo; Handel’s Agrippina, Orlando, Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, La Resurrezione, Aci Galatea e Polifemo; Haydn’s Orlando Paladino; Gassman’s L’Opera Seria; Mozart’s Idomeneo, La finta giardiniera, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, The Magic Flute, La Clemenza di Tito), Manfred Honeck (Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Symphony No. 4; Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites; Bach’s St. John Passion; Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Idomeneo, Requiem), Fabio Biondi (Handel’s Lucio Cornelio Silla, Messiah; Vivaldi’s Bajazet; Scarlatti’s Clori Dorino e Amore), Myung-Whun Chung (Mozart’s Ideomeneo, Requiem), Sigiswald Kuijken (Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, St. John Passion, solo cantata; Haydn’s concert arias), Philippe Herreweghe (Mozart’s concert arias, Requiem; Mendelssohn’s concert arias), William Christie (Rameau’s Les Indes galantes; Charpentier’s Les arts florissants, La descente d’Orphée aux enfers; Handel’s Messiah; Haydn’s The Seasons), Riccardo Chailly (Bach’s St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion), Kent Nagano (Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda), Herbert Blomstedt (Haydn’s Paukenmesse; C. M. Weber’s Jubelmesse; Naumann’s Vater unser), Frans Brüggen (Mozart’s Mass in C minor; Bach’s St. John Passion), Diego Fasolis (Mozart’s La finta giardiniera; CPE Bach’s Magnificat; Handel’s Gloria), Iván Fischer (Mozart’s Don Giovanni), Ton Koopman (Handel’s Messiah), Zubin Mehta (Mahler’s Symphony No. 2), and Marek Janowski (Mendelssohn’s Paulus).
Ms. Im has also performed with companies such as La Scala Opera, Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opéra National de Paris, Oper Frankfurt, La Monnaie in Brussels, Staatsoper Hamburg, Staatstheater Stuttgart, and Korea National Opera; with leading orchestras and ensembles such as Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Europa Galante, New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, DSO Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Les Arts Florissants, Academy of Ancient Music, Collegium Vocale Ghent, and B’Rock Ghent; and at renowned festivals such as the Salzburg Festival, Verbier Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Haydn International Festival; and venues such as Vienna Musikverein, Lincoln Center, the Concertgebouw, Köln Philharmonie, Salle Pleyel, De Doelen Rooterdam, and Bozar Brussels.
“The right dose of lightness, versatility and coloratura to every aria” (Bachtrack)
Sunhae Im’s numerous recordings have received worldwide critical acclaim, and many of them have won international awards. Examples include her solo album Orfeo[s] (Elly Ameling Prize, Académie du Disque Lyrique, 2015); 2019 solo album Didone Abbandonata (nominated in 3 categories for Opus Klassik 2020); Handel’s Agrippina (BBC Music Magazine Award, 2012, nominated for Grammy Awards, 2012); Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito (nominated for Grammy Awards, 2006); Fauré’s Requiem (Echo Klassik Award, 2012); Mahler’s 4th Symphony (ICMA, 2012); Mozart’s The Magic Flute (BBC Music Magazine Award, 2011); Mozart’s Idomeneo (2009 Annual Award, the German Record Critics’ Award); Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, Mass in B minor, and Christmas Oratorio; and Haydn’s The Creation. A new opera album Haydn’s L’isola disabitata (Deserted Island), recorded with Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, was chosen for the 4/2021 Long List by The German Record Critics’ Award (Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik). Following Didone Abbandonata, she is preparing another baroque album with solo cantatas by J. S. Bach and G. P. Telemann.
“With her voice, Sunhae Im achieves an unbelievable concentration of psychological complexity in these songs” (FAZ Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, Schulhoff Complete Songs)
In addition to her accomplishments in opera and early music, Ms. Im has also achieved recognition as a lied singer. She enjoys performing at concerts and festivals with songs by Schubert, Schumann, Fauré, Debussy, Brahms, Mahler, Bernstein, Barber, Berg, and many others. Her first Art Songs recording Erwin Schulhoff: Sämtliche Lieder (Complete Lieder) was released in 2020. It was a hit with critics and received prizes such as La Clef by ResMusica and Quarterly Choice of German Record Critics’ Award 2021, and was nominated for German Record Critics’ Annual Award 2021 and ICMA (International Classical Music Award) 2022. Following the Schulhoff album, she plans to record art songs by Erich J. Wolff.
“Her natural vocalization and springy high notes bring dignified emotional joy distinguished from others” (Yongsook Lee, music critic)
In Korea, Sunhae Im recorded “Will Be Back”, an original soundtrack for a Korean drama series Moon Lovers – Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016). This song received huge affection from all over the world. She performed in five episodes of the TV program The Master broadcast by Mnet TV (2017), where top masters of various music fields gathered and competed. Sunhae Im appeared as the heroine Christine Daaé for the musical Phantom (composed by Maury Yeston, written by Arthur Kopit, and directed by Robert Johanson) in its 2015 South Korean premiere and 2019 & 2021 revivals. Her appearance was also produced into a movie Phantom: The Musical Live.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Sunhae Im is still meeting audience actively in various ways, often in unconventional forms. She recorded an album of children songs Spring in My Hometown with the Korean Symphony Orchestra. She produced VR contents of Korean art songs in a project by Seoul Arts Center. Moreover, Sunhae Im was the host for the entire seven episodes of “Sunyul (Melodies)” on Catholic Peach Broadcasting Corporation, where she interviewed six famous Korean Catholic musicians.
“What a Mozart singer the only 23-year-old Korean is… she can cast a spell over the listeners” (Tagesspiegel, soon after her 1999 debut)
Sunhae Im was born in Korea and studied with Lokyung Pak at Seoul National University and with Roland Hermann at Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe. In 1997 she was awarded the Grand Prix in the Korean Voice Competition, the Second Prize in the Dong-A Music Competition, and the Grand Prix in the Korea Schubert Society–Munhwa Ilbo Competition (Seoul). She won the Second Prize and the Audience Prize in the International Schubert Competition in Osaka and Tokyo in the same year.
She was awarded as a finalist in the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 2000. Sunhae Im made her sensational concert debut with Philippe Herreweghe in 1999 and her opera debut at the Frankfurt Opera in 2000. She was a member of the Hannover State Opera between 2001 and 2003 before she became a freelancer. She lives in Berlin.