Joo Won Kang - Baritone

Joo Won Kang, Baritone      

South Korean baritone Joo Won Kang continues to establish himself as one of the most talented baritones today, popular both with audience and critics.

As the 2017-2018 season commences, Mr. Kang returns to San Francisco Opera, as Ping in the company’s opening-night production of Turandot. A member of the 2011 Merola Opera Program, he was later an Adler Fellow and appeared onstage at SFO in various roles, including Captain Gardiner in Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick, which was televised nationally on PBS and released on DVD. Later this season will mark Mr. Kang’s company debuts with Arizona Opera (Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia) and Opera Theatre of St. Louis (Germont in La Traviata).

Highlights of Mr. Kang’s 2016-2017 season included his debut at Ireland’s Wexford Festival, where he sang the leading role of Corrado in Donizetti’s Maria de Rudenz, with great success. Opera News called his “the standout voice of this year’s festival.” He performed the role of Chou En-lai in John Adam’s Nixon in China with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by the composer, and appeared with Opera Maine as Germont.

Mr. Kang sang the title role in Eugene Onegin with North Carolina Opera in 2015-2016, a season during which he also performed the Barbiere Figaro with Fort Worth Opera, and made his debut in Les Pêcheurs de Perles with Seattle Opera. In addition, Mr. Kang returned to Wolf Trap Opera to sing Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with the National Symphony Orchestra.

He was the first-prize winner of Fort Worth Opera’s 2014 McCammon Voice Competition, which led to recital appearances both in Fort Worth and New York City. He has also garnered top prizes in such important vocal competitions as the Gerda Lissner International Competition, Opera Index Vocal Competition, Giulio Gari International Competition, Palm Beach International Competition, and the Ades Vocal Competition at Manhattan School of Music, as well as a Semi-Finalist placement in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Opera Repertoire

Composer Opera Role
Adams Nixon in China Cho En-Lai
Bizet Les pecheur de perles Zurga*
Donizetti Maria de Rudenz Corrado
Heggie Moby Dick Captain Gardiner
Mozart Le nozze di Figaro Count Almaviva
Mozart Die Zauberflöte Papageno
Mozart Cosi fan tutte Guglielmo
Poulenc Les Mamelles de Tiresias Theater Director
Puccini La Boheme Marcello
Puccini Madama Butterfly Sharpless
Puccini Turandot Ping
Rossini La Cenerentola Dandini
Rossini Il barbiere di Siviglia Figaro
Tchaickovsky Eugene Onegin Eugene Onegin
Tchaickovsky Pique Dame Yeletsky
Verdi Falstaff Ford
Verdi Rigoletto Rigoletto
Verdi La Traviata Germont
*In preparation

Press Acclaim

“South Korean baritone Joo Won Kang sang the part with riveting sonority, catching the character’s implacability but also an element of decency and human dignity. “

Terry Blain, Minnesota Star Tribune

‘Dite alla giovine’ was also beautifully and movingly sung, as Natale joined in duet with Joo Won Kang, a most impressive Germont. Kang’s rich, resonant baritone complemented his portrayal of a man whose dignity and sense of propriety may be paramount, but who still understands what Violetta’s sacrifice has cost her and can ultimately grieve with Alfredo. Kang’s ‘Di Provenza il mar’ was notable for his superb phrasing of the long legato lines.”

Cornelia Iredell, OPERA NEWS

“As Corrado, Joo Won Kang’s command of line and phrasing, solid vocal core and beautiful tone made him the STANDOUT VOICE of this year’s Festival.”

Brian Kellow, Opera News

“It helps that Wexford has assembled a superb cast, led by Korean Joo Won Kang’s radiant Corrado. How rare to have a Donizetti baritone role of such meatiness, and how wonderful to have a singer to take full advantage of that – even from top to bottom, and with a lovely sense of line through even the fussiest of passages. His opening “Eglia, ancora non giunge” was a stand-out.”

Alexandra Coughlin,

​“Korean Baritone Joo Won Kang is consistently exciting as Corrado”

George Hall,

“Equally fine was baritone Joo Won Kang (singing a role which was premiered by great Donizetti baritone Giorgio Ronconi) as Corrado Waldorf. His rich and powerful instrument had no problems with Donizetti’s line; the baritone gets a lot of the best music here. (Kang also performed at a stunning recital which ran the gamut from Beethoven to some beautiful songs from his native Korea; his is a name to watch for.)”

“The singers were all top-notch… For all Corrado’s despicable character traits, one understood why Maria kept coming back for more with singing this good from the former lover. Joo Won Kang delivered a fine performance of a difficult role, his honeyed baritone voice ringing true from the start….”

Andrew Larkin,

“Corrado requires a kind of Verdi baritone and is the character who has the most to sing throughout the opera. The role was played by Joo Won Kang, who has an attractive and important voice.”

José M. Irurzun,

“The week’s knockout recital was saved for the final spot, on November 5. Korean baritone Joo Won Kang gave an exemplary performance from beginning to end, superbly partnered at the piano by Andrea Grant. His Golden-Age tone and superb phrasing ignited Beethoven’s “Adelaide,” and he lent his formidable interpretive skills to Gerald Finzi’s cycle of Shakespeare songs, “Let Us Garlands Bring.” Kang’s flawless judging of just how much emotion to invest made “Come Away, Death” and “Fear No More the Heat o’ the Sun” unforgettable listening experiences. His English diction is excellent, and he made Fiddler on the Roof’s “If I Were a Rich Man” entirely his own. Before his breathtaking, full-bodied performance of Die Tote Stadt’s “Tanzlied,” he spoke of the time he had spent at the festival—“this beautiful memory of Wexford. I am having this memory, and bringing this memory to my home.” It was a sentiment that was sure to resonate with many in the audience.”

Brian Kellow,

“McCammon winner Joo Won Kang stands out!

The star of the show was Figaro himself-baritone Joo Won Kang.

He blew away the competition in the Fort Worth Opera’s 2014 McCammon voice Competition, winning the audience award, as well as the judges’ nods. It was clear when he first came onstage Saturday night that the MAGIC was still there!”

Olin Chasm, The Dallas Star Telegraph


Joo Won Kang and Nicole Cabell, Dite alla giovine, La Traviata, Verdi, Minnesota Opera 2019

Joo Won Kang, Baritone, Manfredo, L'amore dei tre re, New York City Opera, 2018

Joo Won Kang, Baritone, Egli ancora non giunge, MARIA DE RUDENZ, Wexford Festival, 2016

Joo Won Kang, Baritone, Egli ancora non giunge, MARIA DE RUDENZ, Wexford Festival, 2016

Joo Won Kang, Baritone, Vieni in quel giorno essa m'attende, MARIA DE RUDENZ, Wexford Festival, 2016

Joo Won Kang, Baritone, Di Provenza, La Traviata, Verdi, Emerging Artists NY Debut Recital, Forth Worth Opera's McCammon competition winner, Opera America, September, 2014

Joo Won Kang, Baritone, Pierrot's Tanzlied, Die Tode Stadt, Korngold, McCammon Voice Competition, 2014

Joo Won Kang, Baritone, Ja vas lyublyu, Pique Dame, Tchaichovsky, Viñas 2014

Joo Won Kang, Baritone, è sogno o realta?, Falstaff, Verdi, Viñas 2014

Joo Won Kang, Baritone, Cento Leggiadre vergini, Il Corsaro, Verdi, Adler Fellows Concert, San Francisco Opera, 2012

Press Kit

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Hi-Res Headshot