Hera Hyesang Park: Opera Now’s cover artist in the March/April issue2:27, 12th February 2021
A profound faith and a positive philosophy have been sustaining the young South Korean soprano Hera Hyesang Park as she shapes her identity across two different and sometimes conflicting cultures. During the challenges and disappointments of Covid, the release of her first solo album, I am Hera, is a chance to celebrate the art of singing from two traditions.
Reconciling her Korean upbringing with her training and career in the West hasn’t always been easy: ‘I had a moment at the Juilliard when I wished I could become a foreigner,’ Hera told Opera Now, ‘because I felt so trapped in my Korean tradition. My parents taught me never to show your feelings and to be humble. In Korea, it’s all about the hierarchy: I couldn’t say no to a teacher when they were giving their knowledge to me, so if I wanted to question something, I wasn’t able to ask.
‘I was a “yes” girl, and I was shocked when my colleagues argued with their teacher. I didn’t know how to behave, and then I started to feel uncomfortable about becoming a little bit American – until I realised I am actually totally Korean, and who I am is enough. I can’t change who I am, but I can accept the American culture of expressing your feelings. I don’t need to be everybody – I am Hera, I am me.’
Read the full interview with Hera Hyesang Park in Opera Now‘s March/April, on sale from 23 February 2021. Subscribe today to get your copy.