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Hera today, but hopefully not gone tomorrow / BBC Music Magazine

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The young Korean soprano Hera Hyesang Park has recorded one of the most satisfying debuts for many a day.

This is a voice that rises to every challenge. Listen to the silvery tone and graceful ascent to the upper register in Gluck's ‘Che fiero momento' from Orfeo ed Euridice, or the seemingly effortless legato of Cleopatra's aria ‘Se pietàdi me non senti' from Giulio Cesare. Park ‘lives' her characters too, with coloratura decoration and cadenzas always at the service of the drama. She's a distraught Ilia in Idomeneo, a flighty Fiorilla in Il turco in Italia, and a Rosina who knows her own mind in Il barbiere di Siviglia.

There is intelligence too. Park knows that the aria ‘Un voce poco fa' should be sung as a miniature three-act drama; and that if that first stamp of her foot on the word ‘ma' is a tad ladylike, the second reveals exactly how determined this Rosina is to have her own way and to win Lindoro. Then when you hear the almost elegiac tone she brings to Juliet in I Capuleti e i Montecchi you cross your fingers and toes that Park will graduate to Bellini's other soprano roles.

Bertrand de Billy is her perfect partner, conducting the matchless Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Who else would dare to stretch out the tempos in Puccini's ‘O mio babbino caro' and Musetta's Waltz song? But it makes you hear these old familiar arias as if for the very first time.

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