Soprano’s China shows canceled

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Soprano’s China shows canceled

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Star soprano Sumi Jo’s scheduled tour to China next month was abruptly canceled by Chinese organizers on Sunday. Regarding the unprecedented cancellation, Jo took to her Twitter on Jan. 24, saying, “I hereby inform that my China tour has been canceled. Following their invitation two years ago, I’ve been preparing for the concerts ever since but they failed to give me clear reasons as to why.”

She was to perform with three different Chinese orchestras - the Shanghai Symphony, the Guangzhou Symphony and the China Philharmonic in Beijing - from Feb. 19, upon their invitation a few years back.

“It is pitiful that the conflict between two countries has involved even the fields of fine arts and culture,” Jo continued, suspecting that the call-off comes amidst the heightened political tension between the two countries regarding the deployment of the United States missile-defense system, known as Thaad.

With her posting, Jo attached a link to the New York Times article published on the same day about Jo and one other Korean pianist Paik Kun-woo, who’s concert was also called off by the concert organizer in China. Paik was to perform in March in Guizhou but his concert too, according to media reports, has been cancelled.

Jo, a Grammy Award-winning soprano, has been replaced by Chinese sopranos. China has been cancelling or not signing contracts for concerts or television programs that involve Korean celebrities since the announcement of Thaad - but this is the first time that Korean classical musicians have become political scapegoats.

According to Jo’s agency, SMI Entertainment, her scheduled concerts in Hong Kong on Feb. 3 and 4 and a concert in Manila on Feb. 6 will continue without problems. However, two concerts that are planned to be held in October in China, “which were one step away from signing, seems difficult to predict.”

Jo will perform on Jan. 31 with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in New York.

By Yim Seung-hye
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