My hometown is on the southern waters. I can see the blue ocean in my eyes.
How could I forget even in my dream the serene waters of my hometown.
The melody of the song “Gagopa” (“I Wish I Could Go”) echoes across a concert hall in Ottawa.
The audience falls for the clear and beautiful voice of Korea’s world-class soprano Sumi Jo.
This is the concert Jo held in Southam Hall at the National Arts Center in Ottawa, Canada, on November 26.
The concert was held in the Canadian capital to celebrate the Canadian government’s decision in June last year to name July 27, the ceasefire day of the Korean War (1950-1953), as its national “Korean War Veterans Day.”
Sumi Jo collaborated with leading Canadian baritone Jean-Francois Lapointe and the Orchestra de Chambre I Musici de Montreal conducted by Jean-Michel Malouf. She sang well-known songs from operas such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Barber of Seville,” as well as Korean songs like “Arirang” and “Gagopa.”
The seats were filled with Korean War veterans, including William Black, the Korean War veteran who serves as president of the National Capital Unit 7, and Korean residents of Ottawa.
Black delivered a wreath to Jo after the concert. He said, “This concert offered an opportunity to remind people of the sacrifices of the soldiers who died to protect Korea and the fact that the Korean War is not a forgotten war. I would like to deeply thank the Korean government and the Korean embassy which organized the best concert in this month of remembrance.”
War veterans who appreciated the concert all thanked President Park Geun-hye for such a wonderful concert after paying a state visit to Canada and delivering words of encouragements to war veterans in person this past September. They added that they fully felt the gratitude from Koreans for the Korean War veterans.
“I’m deeply honored to deliver the gratitude of Koreans on their behalf to the war veterans of the Korean War and their family members,” said Sumi Jo.
“This is the first time for me to hold a concert in Ottawa, and I am glad to collaborate with Canada’s leading orchestra with the best conductor and the best baritone in the country,” she added.
Korean Ambassador to Canada Cho Hee-yong said, “The background of the development of the Korea-Canada relationship lies on the sacrifices of the war veterans and their contributions. Koreans will never forget the war veterans who protected the freedom of the Korean Peninsula and democracy.”
“Sumi Jo’s concerts are a gift from the Republic of Korea for the war veterans and their family members and for the Canadian people. This event will offer an important opportunity to further develop the bilateral relationship,” said Ambassador Cho.
Sumi Jo will meet again with Canadian fans at the Maison Symphonique de Montreal, in Montreal on December 1.
By Yoon Sojung
Korea.net Staff Writer