Hye-Youn Lee, Soprano. APA Artists' Management Alexandra Mercer - www.apaartistsmanagement.com/hyeyounlee/

Dušica Bijelić
Susanna Branchini
Scilla Cristiano
Elena Kelessidi
Dimitra Kotidou
Lucie Kaňková
Hye-Youn Lee
Julie Martin du Theil
Irina Novikova
Cristiana Oliveira
Ekaterina Sadovnikova
Anna Stylianaki
Letitia Vitelaru
Elena Zelenskaya

Karina Kherunts
Larisa Kostyuk
Claudia Marchi
Victoria Yarovaya

Martina Mikelic

Arnold Bezuyen
Luciano Botelho
Luis Gomes
Deniz Leone
Dimitris Paksoglou
Angelos Samartzis

Marcin Bronikowski
Michel de Souza
Anooshah Golesorkhi
Gyula Nagy
Dimitri Platanias

Davide Damiani

Tiziano Bracci
Luiz-Ottavio Faria
Jihoon Kim

Hye-Youn Lee



Video (YouTube):
Madama Butterfly

Born in South Korea, she studied first in Berlin with Renate Krahmer and Julia Varady before joining Les Jeunes Voix du Rhin at L''Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg. She went on to L'Atelier Lyrique at L'Opéra National de Paris before deciding to transfer to the UK where she made her successful London debut as Marie La Fille du Régiment for Opera Holland Park. She was named Face to Watch in Classical Music 2013 and now appears with principal companies in the UK and abroad, both in opera and concert. She enjoyed considerable success as soprano soloist in Verdi's Messa da Requiem for the Three Choirs Festival 2019 under Edward Gardner. Her future engagements include the title role of Madama Butterfly for Islenska Operan, Finnish National Opera and Scottish Opera and Micaëla Carmen for Scottish Opera as well as Messiah and the Mozart Requiem Mass at Auditorio Nacional de Música Madrid.

Seen and Heard International – John Quinn - 29th July 2019
Among the solo quartet, the ladies did particularly well. Hye-Youn Lee has appeared at previous Three Choirs Festivals: she sang in Mahler’s Eighth Symphony at the close of the 2016 Festival (review) and three years earlier she sang in Coleridge-Taylor’s Hiawatha (review); on both occasions her singing was ear-catching. So it was tonight. In particular, I loved the silvery tone on which she floated ‘Sed signifer’ in the Offertorio. We heard the best of her in the ‘Libera me’. At the start, she and Gardner invested the music with great urgency, the words almost tumbling over each other in the senza misura opening. She sang the ‘Tremens factus’ episode with well controlled intensity and later soared above the unaccompanied chorus beautifully until she reached the goal of top B flat.

Midlands Classical Music Making - Christopher Morley – 29th July 2019
Lee's climactic "Libera Me" was a tour de force of controlled yet gripping delivery.



LA BOHEME: Musetta






NIXON IN CHINA: Madame Mao (Chiang Ch'ing)

OTELLO (Rossini): Desdemona



Teatro Verdi Trieste
Theater St.Gallen
Scottish Opera

Opera Holland Park
Grange Park Opera

Grange Park Opera

Bergen National Opera
Northern Ireland Opera
Scottish Opera

Grange Park Opera

L'Opéra National du Rhin

Teatro Nacional de São Carlos
Scottish Opera
Theater Magdeburg
State Opera of Plovdiv
Lyric Opera Productions
Grange Park Nevill Holt Opera

Scottish Opera

Al Bustan Festival

Finnish National Opera

Opera North

Concerts Include:


Conductors with whom she has worked include:

Rinaldo Alessandrini; Renato Balsadonna; Stephen Barlow; Giuliano Carella; Joana Carneiro; Nicholas Chalmers; Marco Guidarini; Christian Järvi; Kimbo Ishii; Kirill Karabits; Nicholas Kraemer; Domenico Longo; Gianluca Marcianò; Adrian Partington; John Rigby; Pietro Rizzo; Stuart Stratford.


LA BOHEME: Musetta – Grange Park Opera - 2021

Opera Magazine – Alexandra Coghlan –August 2021
Gold to the steely platinum of Hye-Youn Lee’s Musetta, who flings out top notes with disdainful precision.

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NIXON IN CHINA: Madame Mao - Scottish Opera - 2020

British Theatre Guide - Graham Strachan - February 2020
...contrasted by the solid ferocity and steely confidence of Hye-Youn Lee as Chiang Ch'ing. It's Lee who overall ends up as the standout, carrying this sentiment through to the final moments of the opera and arguably having some of the best material to work with.

The Times - Neil Fisher - 19th February 2020
...ceding alpha status to the virile coloratura frenzy of Hye-Youn Lee as his doctrinaire wife.

The Herald, (Glasgow) {Life} - Mark Brown - 23rd February 2020
There are outstanding performances by all of the leads. The glorious South Korean soprano Hye-Youn Lee is as powerful in her (often humorous) portrayal of Madame Mao as she is in her singing of the role.

The Guardian - Rowena Smith - 19th February 2020
In contrast, there is nothing vulnerable about Hye-Youn Lee's Madame Mao, whose stratospheric entrance aria is the show-stealing moment of the night.

Sunday Times - Hugh Canning - 23rd February 2020
His wife, Chiang Ch'ing, an authoritarian martinet, proclaims her "cultural" manifesto in the imperious high-soprano register of Mozart's Queen of the Night - yet like that model, she is capable of eliciting sympathy. Her nostalgic recollections of her romantic involvement in Mao's political struggle recall Desdemona in the love duet from Verdi's Otello......while Hye-Youn Lee's formidably accurate Madame Mao, with her hatchet demeanour, is her finest performance in the UK so far.

The Weblog of Kelvin Holdsworth - Kelvin - 21st February 2020
The arrival of Hye-Youn Lee as Madame Mao in the second act was brilliantly exciting. The role demands an agile coloratura soprano and Hye-Youn Lee did not disappoint.

The Skinny - Eliza Gearty - 20th February 2020
Act Two sees Sporsén's Pat Nixon moved and confused by a revolutionary ballet composed by Madame Mao - played impeccably and with dangerous charisma by Hye-Youn Lee - that this production executes extraordinarily well.

The Telegraph - Rupert Christiansen - 19th February 2020
...and Hye-Youn Lee was mistress of Madame Mao's colorature hysterics.

ArtMag - David White - 21st February 2020
Many of the leading performers are making their return to Scottish Opera, and the performances on the opening night were world-class -...and Hye-Youn Lee as Chiang Ch'ing, Madame Mao.

The terrifying Madame Mao, soon to become one of the hated (by the Chinese) 'Gang of Four' was cheered to the rafters. This was largely because of the highly effective performance of her role by Hye-Youn Lee - more recognised in Britain for her performances of Haydn, Mozart, Donizetti and Puccini.

The Observer - Fiona Maddox - 22nd February 2020
Each of the chief characters... is presented sympathetically, with the exception of prickly Madame Mao (Hye-Youn Lee, properly scary in her screeching, showpiece coloratura aria).

The Scotsman - Ken Walton - 21st February 2020
...finds an unexpected warmth in Mao, contrary to the fearsomely dogmatic coloratura of Hye-Youn Lee's Madame Mao.

The Herald - Keith Bruce - 19th February 2020
Of a wonderful three-part evening, it is the second act, which revolves around ...... and Madame Mao (Hye-Youn Lee), that is the absolute sensation of the night as a theatrical experience.

The Stage - George Hall - 19th February 2020
Hye-Youn Lee's high-energy Madame Mao...

Bachtrack - David Smythe - 24th February 2020
Hye-Youn Lee was terrifying as Chaing Ch'ing, her stratospheric singing giving her character a cruel edge, a spectacular tour de force.

The artsdesk.com - Christopher Lambton - 29th February 2020
...was eclipsed by the supercharged appearance of Hye-Youn Lee as Madame Mao, delivering the Party message in a succession of dizzyingly high notes.

Seen and Heard International - Simon Thompson - 1st March 2020
Hye-Youn Lee chewed up the scenery as Madame Mao, and her blistering top notes could have stripped paint.

* * *

LA BOHEME: Mimì - Theater St.Gallen – 2017/18

Opern Glas
Sie lieh ihrer Partie einen Sopran aufblühender Wärme und körperhafter Mittellage-Eigenschaften, die sich mit einer differenzierten Phrasierung und einem satten Legato zu einem überzeugenden Porträt verbanden.

* * *

LA BOHEME: Mimì - Scottish Opera - 2017

Hye-Youn Lee, her lovely rich timbre cutting across the orchestra, was a terrific Mimì, painfully fragile but with a noble inner strength. Act 3 at the Barrière d’Enfer can sometimes flag, but Lee’s performance as she and Marcello, and then Rodolfo, get tothe home truths was as enthralling as it was heartbreaking.

Classical Source
Hye-Youn Lee has already proven her Puccinian credentials as an excellent Madam Butterfly, and she showed every facet of Mimì very successfully, glorious in the third act farewell, and very moving in her death scene.

Edinburgh Guide
Hye-Youn Lee’s singing, as Mimi, is memorable.

The Guardian
Hye-Youn Lee gives a dignified, touching performance as Mimì, noble and poised with a quality of tone that carries over Puccini’s orchestration, while still giving the sense of her character’s fragility.

Opera Magazine
The standout voice was that of Hye-Youn Lee, thanks to her even production, her ample tone, her Italian diction, her sense of style.

The Opera Critic
From the moment that Hye-Youn-Lee sings Sì, mi chiamano Mimì, we are charmed, in Scottish Opera’s new production of La Bohème. She plays the part delightfully, sweet, not saccharine, her voice slipping through the notes with ease, creating a genuine conversation with her new boyfriend.

* * *

MADAMA BUTTERFLY: Cio-Cio-San - Lyric Opera, Dublin - 2017

From her first appearance to the final act, Lee’s performance is stunning. Her understanding of the character of Butterfly is apparent through her sensitive vocal approach, which never sacrifices emotion for the sake of volume or technique.

The Side Balcony
Korean soprano Hye-Youn Lee performance in the title role was simply outstanding, both from a vocal and from an acting point of view, displaying great psychological finesse and a beautiful voice. She was an utterly credible Madama Butterfly and you could sense her previous experience in the role. She also smartly escaped the risk, almost intrinsic to the role, of appearing too histrionic.

* * *

DON GIOVANNI: Donna Anna - Bergen National Opera - 2015

Hye-Youn Lee’s incisive soprano is well suited to conveying Donna Anna’s latent hysteria.

* * *

MADAMA BUTTERFLY: Cio-Cio-San - Teatro Nacional de São Carlos Lisbon 2015

The production was lucky to have Hye-Youn Lee, a soprano of great vocal resource who had some brilliant moments, in the leading role.

* * *

LA TRAVIATA: Violetta - Opera North - 2014

The Arts Desk
Is a delight - how refreshing to see a Violetta who's actually youthful. Her voice was in superb form: fearlessly confident in Verdi's crueler high writing and able to reduce her tone to a whisper when required. She looks diminished as her health deteriorates, a shrunken, dedicated presence in the final scene.

Hye-Youn Lee is vitally compelling, notably when exercising her considerable coloratura skills. (Her) delivery of Violetta's mixed reactions at the end of Act 1, from 'Ah, fors'è lui che l'anima' through to 'Sempre libera' left me gasping, Lee excels as she moves through the gamut of emotions, at her pathetic best as she hands the portrait locket to Alfredo and as she stands, arms outstretched on the bed, for her illusory surge of revived power.

The Guardian
As Violetta, Hye-Youn Lee is simply sensational, with a sweet tone and agile upper register.

What’s On Stage
Lee is outstanding, her tone sweet or steely as required, her approach to the part's technical demands fearless...

Opera Magazine
Both the donne were in formidable control of their coloratura, Hye-Youn Lee bringing plenty of sheen and vibrancy to Donna Anna...

* * *

MADAMA BUTTERFLY: Cio-Cio-San - Scottish Opera - 2014

The evening’s focus was of course on Hye-Youn Lee, who gave a great performance, thrillingly pulling out the stops for the big numbers, and completely devastating in the farewell to her son.

Financial Times
Asian Butterflys not only look more authentic than their western counterparts; they also tend to play the part more assertively, and this was palpably the case with Lee, who is Korean. Nothing – neither the Bonze’s fury, nor Pinkerton’s hush money – was ever going to compromise this Butterfly’s integrity, even if it involved the ultimate sacrifice. Lee is a confident performer, with a voice of ample power and stamina...

The Guardian
A strong cast is led by the magnetic Cio-Cio San. South Korean soprano Hye-Youn Lee inhabits the role with absolute conviction and ideal nuance: she is wide-eyed and girlish-voiced in act one, ardent and womanly in act two, heartbreakingly dignified in act three.

The Journal
Making her debut with Scottish Opera, Lee’s strong performance throughout was so perfect that one member o the audience at the end said she left feeling “reeling, heartbroken and almost speechless.” It could be argued that Lee’s performance of Butterfly is the best performance Glasgow’s theatre scene has seen in years.

Opera Magazine
The Korean soprano is a confident performer, with a voice well matched – in power and stamina – to Puccini’s demands.

The Opera Critic
From her first appearance, led on by her female relatives in bustles, Hye-Youn Lee’s grace and elegance as Cio-Cio San charms the audience... her voice fills the space with love, with joy, with despair. Those well-known arias sound fresh and new.

The Public Reviews
Korean soprano Hye-Youn Lee’s Butterfly is a joy to watch and listen to, growing in character from a shy infatuated girl to mature woman. Her optimistic conviction shines through in Un bel di and her anguished farewell to the boy is heartbreaking. Her voice has silk, silver and steel as needed.

Seen and Heard International
It’s the cast that make this worth catching, and they are led by an excellent Butterfly in Hye-Youn Lee, making her Scottish Opera debut. She sings the part beautifully and with seeming ease in her traversal of the tessitura, cresting the high notes and exuding confidence in the music. She also acts the part very well indeed, all wide-eyed innocence and naivety in the first act, but maturing to become a tragic heroine by the second. Her dismissal of Sharpless in the second act seems to take on a real tragic grandeur, dignifying and elevating what can sometimes pass for a minor moment, and she showed absolutely no sign of tiring by the time of the suicide. Hers was a most moving portrayal of this extremely moving role, and isn’t one I’ll forget in a long time.

Southside Advertiser
South Korean Soprano Hye-Youn Lee as Cio-Cio San is outstanding in her role. Her voice just seems to float across the stage. There is nowhere for Butterfly to rest in this opera and the sheer amount of time that she is on stage must make this a very physically demanding role to play too. How someone so fragile looking has such stamina and vocal presence on stage is a mystery.

The Times
The plaudits go to Lee’s starkly convincing Cio-Cio San, a Butterfly whose child-like innocence and emotive singing in Act I give way to a more adult sorrow — and a lovely Un Bel Dì — as she sits, deserted, waiting for Pinkerton’s return on Yannis Thavoris’s fine Japanese house set, the paper walls an apt metaphor for the fragility of her American dream world.

* * *

LA FILLE DU REGIMENT: Marie - Opera Holland Park

Daily Telegraph
As Marie, Korean soprano Hye-Youn Lee played the Annie Oakley hoyden with spirit and sang her regimental rataplans with gusto: transformed into a drawing-room toffette, she shaped ‘Par le rang’ quite beautifully.

Evening Standard
In Hye-Youn Lee, the production is blessed with a singer whose voice is bright, clean and agile.

The Guardian
The young Korean soprano Hye-Youn Lee sings with such beauty, and acts with such engaging aplomb, as even to evoke memories of Natalie Dessay’s landmark performance as Marie at Covent Garden last year.

Musical Criticism
Hye-Youn Lee, making her OHP debut, was little short of a revelation. It was immediately clear that her voice is an instrument of quality” smooth and creamy up and down the range, clearly and crisply produced. Her coloratura was delivered with aplomb but she was also touching in her exquisitely sing Second Act aria.

Music OMH
The next big news was when Hye-Youn Lee came on stage as Marie. What a joy to hear a singer in full command of her voice! She was totally secure, with her quick vibrato ringing as true as a bell. She could also act, being a convincing tomboy with the garçons one minute, and genuinely fragile the next.

Opera Magazine
Hye-Youn Lee was a marvellous Marie. This Korean singer’s voice has a really attractive shine with steely, flexible focus, which she showed off in crisply articulated runs and coloratura. She was a touching, funny and pretty actress as well, commanding the stage with delightful tomboyish charm and delivering her rataplans with satisfying precision.

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Coleridge-Taylor: THE SONG OF HIAWATHA - Three Choirs Festival - 2013

Opera Today
Hye-Youn Lee sang the soprano part with exceptional freshness and vitality. She's a singer we should be hearing a lot more of.

Seen and Heard International
The stand-out soloist was the Korean soprano, Hye-Youn Lee. Her biography includes an impressive list of dramatic operatic roles and, my goodness, was that pedigree in evidence here. She showed a fine vocal presence and the sound of her voice was thrilling. Her top was most impressive but the voice was exciting and well produced throughout its compass. She was also the most expressive of the soloists. Not only did she excel when the music was dramatic but also she was capable of some genuinely touching singing.

The Times
Sweet singing, though, from Hye-Youn Lee, the best of the soloists.

* * *

DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES – Blanche - Grange Park Opera - 2013

The Daily Telegraph
Hye-Youn Lee sang Blanche cleanly...

Huffington Post
Hye-Youn Lee brings vocal depth to Blanche, moving around the music and the French dexterously enough to make the fiendish part seem easy.

Mundo Clásico
Hye-Youn Lee made a convincing Blanche with a voice that was light but fully capable of the necessary expansion, full of the nuances of doubt, and in excellent sung French.

Opera Now
Hye-Youn Lee was a credible Blanche, forced to face the turmoil of a world she would rather leave beind.

Planet Hugill
Hye-Youn Lee made a very intense Blanche. This is one of those roles (the Cunning Little Vixen is another) which requires a flexible lyric voice but one possessed of a degree of power as well to rise over the rich orchestration. Lee had an element of steel in her voice which meant she could ride the orchestra, but also brought a flexibility and touching intensity to the party. She might have been intense, but she was not neurotic and there was also a profound dignity to her.

* * *

Mahler: SYMPHONY NO. 8 - Three Choirs Festival - 2016

From the beginning, and throughout both parts of the work, soprano Hye-Youn Lee set herself apart, projecting her voice with the precision and intensity of a laser.

Seen and Heard International
When the soloists became involved the two who immediately caught my ear – they were the most prominent in Part I, though not in an overdone way – were soprano Hye-Youn Lee and the ever-reliable Catherine Wyn-Rogers. I’d heard Miss Lee sing earlier this year here in Gloucester Cathedral in a performance of Elgar’s Apostles but, well though she sang on that occasion, tonight she revealed a dramatic power which took me by surprise. Her tone was unforced but the voice cut through like a laser.

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IDOMENEO RE DI CRETA: Elettra - Grange Park Opera - 2012

The Daily Telegraph
...Hye-Youn Lee fires off exciting lines as Elettra.

Financial Times
...Hye-Youn Lee’s international quality Elettra.

The Guardian
Hye-Youn Lee is exciting as Elettra...

The Independent
The standout performance in director-designer Charles Edwards’ staging of Idomeneo for Grange Park Opera is Hye-Youn Lee's Elettra.

Opera Magazine
The most striking impression was made by Hye-Youn Lee, whose clean-cut soprano proved equally adept at shaping elegant, classical phrases in 'Idol mio' and getting the coloratura sparks of fury to fly in Elettra's first- and third-act arias.

Opera News
Korean soprano Hye-Youn Lee made an exciting Elettra, bringing a malign brilliance to the troubled Greek princess's fiercer outbursts.

Planet Hugull
By contrast, Hye-Youn Lee was watchable for the intensely dramatic nature of her performance, you just longed for her to have more to sing. Here was a woman tortured to the point of madness, becoming almost demented with happiness at the end of act 2 and seemingly so self absorbed as to be completely unaware of the drama playing around her. In act 3 it was a long wait, but her final aria was simply stunning.

The Stage
Vocally, the show belongs - by a mile - to graceful South Korean soprano Hye-Youn Lee, beguiling as Elettra.

* * *

EIN DEUTSCHES REQUIEM (Brahms) -Bristol Cathedral - 2012

This is Somerset
...soprano soloist Hye-Youn Lee singing gracefully and with intimate tenderness.

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LA BOHEME Musetta - Opera Holland Park 2009

Musical Criticism
...Hye-Youn Lee’s showstopper of a Musetta...

Opera Britannia
An absolute star turn and fire cracker performance came from the delectable Musetta of Hye-Youn Lee. Her outrageous performance in Café Momus as Marcello feigns ignorance at her presence was one of the highlights of the evening. Spiteful, capricious and thoroughly minxish, it was a masterclass in comic timing. Vocally she projected a bright vibrant sounding “Quando m' en vo”, that was rapturously received by the audience. The voice does have a quick vibrato which needs getting accustomed to, but it was a sensational performance far eclipsing some of the more famous interpreters of this role today.

What’s On Stage
The other top-class performance comes from Hye-Youn Lee. She sings superbly as the coquettish Musetta and brings life and depth to a role that is too often played in two dimensions.

* * *

LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR Lucia - Opéra National du Rhin - 2007

Les Affiches Montenir
Hye-Youn Lee is Lucia, a very beautiful voice, an astonishing facility, with impressive high notes. She plays the role of a young fragile, loving girl very well and was extremely moving in the Mad Scene.

Baden Online
Hye-Youn Lee, whose voice is one of the most brilliant to be heard today, brought great and expression to Regnava nel silenzio with due regard to the sentiments expressed. Her cabaletta with its shining high notes and hair-raising coloratura was marvellously executed and received great applause.

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