Tenor Simon Kyung Lee began his musical career in his hometown of Busan, South Korea at an early age. It was upon a move to Italy that it was discovered that he had a natural affinity for the Verismo style. Under the guidance of Carlos Montané and Mtro. Ubaldo Gardini he was able to effortlessly increased his vocal power. With his Italian studies he began to take command of works by Italian greats such as Verdi and Puccini.
“Tenor Simon Kyung Lee sang Calaf with a meaty and disciplined tenor, short on perfumed subtlety but long on vigor. His quiet presence engaged the eye, and he made the well-worn ‘Nessun dorma’ brilliantly moving.”- Paul Horsley, Kansas City Star
Mr. Lee enjoyed the culmination of that work at a recital at the first annual Festival Notte Musicali Modenesi in Italy. From there he moved to the United States where he participated in the Sherrill Milnes Opera Program, working under the guidance of Sherrill Milnes and Inci Bashar.
It was under the direction of world renowned opera singers, Jennifer Larmore and Giacomo Aragall, that Mr. Lee was able to quickly advance his career to include his Carnegie Hall debut for Haydn’s Paukenmesse with New England Symphony, Giles Corey in Crucible, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Calaf in Turandot, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Alfredo in La Traviata, Radames in Aida, Duca in Rigoletto, Manrico in Il Trovatore, Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera, 3rd Jew in Salome, Luigi in Il Tabarro, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and even a rarely heard Verdi opera the I Lombardi in his Chicago Premiere with the da Corneto Opera as Arvino.
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He has appeared as leading tenor with companies in the United States and Europe as well as in Asia, include Singapore Lyric Opera, Busan Natoyan Opera, Opera New Hampshire, Vail Opera, Palm Desert Opera, the Gold & Treasure Coast Operas, Panama City Opera, Utah Festival Opera, da Corneto Opera, Chamber Opera Chicago, Chicago Festival Opera, Kansas City Puccini Festival, Opera North Carolina, Opera Tulsa, Sunstate Opera, Teatro Lirico D’Europa and World Classical Musical Society. A two-time recipient of awards from the National Bel Canto Foundation, Mr. Lee has utilized his flair with Italian music to his advantage in scores of solo concerts and recitals around the Midwest, including a gala concert in which the musical artists of North and South Korea performed together on the same Chicago stage for the first time.
Lee’s 2016 engagements included Radames in Aida, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Duca in Rigoletto and Don José in Carmen with Teatro Lirico D’Europa and numerous concerts throughout the United States.
Mr. Lee currently resides in the Chicago Suburb of Woodridge, Illinois.
“Tenor Simon Kyung Lee as Rodolfo played up early, tentative flirtations in Act I admirably, and sang with verve and gusto throughout the night, an absolute must for the tortuousness love affair to resound deeply with their audience.”
– Kyle Peterson, Jasper Press, Columbia, SC
“‘Mimi!’ The moment Rodolfo shouted out, anguished and painful – moved the audience’s feelings to great tears. When the curtain came down, the audience responded with a long standing ovation. The main cast was exceptionally great. Rodolfo (Korean Tenor Simon Lee) sang with vibrato and ringing high notes reminding of Jusse Bjorling (One of the great tenors in the 20 century) and made a great appearance on the stage.”
– Myoung Lim, Korea Daily News
“The absolute highlight of the evening was Lee’s performance of one of Opera’s greatest arias, ‘Nessun Dorma’. His projection and power was stunning and the energy was contagious.”
– Matt Wright, The Utah Statesman
“Simon Kyung Lee proved to be an emotionally satisfying Cavaradossi, the smitten artist who makes up the other half of this pair of star-crossed lovers. This expressive tenor grew stronger as the evening progressed, and blended beautifully with Scozzafava’s in the lovers’ proclamation of emotions in the third act.”
– Robert Eisele, Kansas City Star
Puccini – Che gelida manina
Verdi – Quest o quella
Verdi – Addio
Puccini – Nessun Dorma
Lehar – Dein ist mein ganzes Herz
Das Land des Lâchelns
Lara – Granada
Bizet – La fleur que tu m’avais jetée
La donna e mobile – Rigoletto
Simon Kyung Lee, Teatro Lirico
Act III – Carmen
Simon Kyung Lee, Don Jose – Teatro Lirico
La fleur que tu m’avais jetee – Carmen
Simon Kyung Lee, Teatro Lirico
“La Alegria de la Armonia” – Nessun dorma
Simon Kyung Lee, OperaMaya 2017