Won Whi Choi
Won Whi Choi has been busy captivating and thrilling audiences worldwide with his lustrous and ringing voice, elegant musicianship, and sensitive artistry. He spent the last three seasons at Theatre Erfurt in Germany, in which he sang a variety of leading roles, including, Il Duca in Rigoletto, Don José in Carmen, Roméo in Roméo et Juliette, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Hyllus in Hercules, Andres in Wozzeck, Il Cantatore in Giulietta e Romeo, and Prince Sou Chong in Lehár’s Das Land des Lächelns. In his first New York City performance, Choi was praised for his portrayal of Rodolfo in La bohème and his “big, virile sound that rocketed fearlessly up to a high C, so secure he dared to run across the stage while holding the note,” by The New York Observer.
Last season, Mr. Choi performed the role of Souchong in Das Land des Lachelns at Morbisch Festival and made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Alfredo in La Traviata to rave reviews. Upcoming engagements include Rodolfo in La bohème for Korean National Opera and a return to the Metropolitan Opera also for La bohème. 2020 and 2021 engagements were to include returns to the Metropolitan Opera for Maria Stuarda, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Romeo et Juliette, and La traviata.
Recent seasons’ engagements included a role début as Arcadio in Florencia en el Amazonas with New York City Opera; the role of Don Jose in Carmen for Croatia National Theater and in over 10 performances at the Domstufen Festival in Germany, Da-Ud in Die agyptische Helena with Odyssey Opera, Hoffman in Les Contes d’Hoffman with Opera Orlando, Rodolfo in La bohème with Croatian National Theatre in Osijek; Prince Sou-Chong in Franz Lehar’s Das Land des Lächelns in a début with Hong Kong Opera and with Theater Erfurt; Ruggero in La rondine at Skylark Opera; Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera in Williamsburg; Chevalier in Dialogues des Carmélites with Mannes Opera Theatre; Alfredo in La traviata for Williamsburg Opera, Nashville Opera, Mannes Opera Theatre, Opera på Skäret in Sweden; the title role in Les contes d’Hoffmann with the Martina Arroyo Foundation; and Il Duca in Rigoletto at Opera Idaho, where critics raved: “Choi made for a strapping and sexy Duke of Mantua, which makes it more believable that women would so willingly fall for his charms, and sacrifice themselves for his life. His soaring tenor easily and fearlessly reached the high Bs in ‘La donna è mobile,’ one of the most known arias in the operatic canon.”
Mr. Choi is emerging as a concert artist to watch after his performance of Händel’s Messiah with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. The Winnipeg Free Press hailed: “Won Whi Choi asserted his booming presence immediately with his opening recitative ‘Comfort ye my people’ followed by aria ‘Ev’ry valley shall be exalted.’ Demonstrating a remarkable vocal strength…the singer responded ably to the composer’s many virtuosic runs while also displaying an equally impressive dynamic range.” Recently, he also sang in an opera gala at Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall in Shanghai, China, to great critical acclaim.
Mr. Choi’s interpretation of Rodolfo in La bohème garners acclaim on every stage he graces. From his performance in Croatia, Glas Slavinije wrote: “Won Whi Choi as Rodolfo sang his famous aria, with joyful accents excited enthusiasm and nobility, with pure lilting melodies and striking vocal line, effortlessly climbing to a high C. Choi’s performance was absolutely perfect, showcasing his excellent legato phrasing. The range of voice was remarkable! His performance consisted of high notes that were strongly developed, dynamic contrasts, great diction, vocal coloring, combined with world class phrasing and dynamic shading.”
Mr. Choi was one of eight finalists at the Montreal International Musical Competition in 2012. He holds a Professional Studies Diploma and a Master of Music Degree from Mannes College of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Korean National University of the Arts.