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Born in 1971 in Seoul, the bass-baritone Samuel Youn studied voice in his native city, at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, and with Arthur Janzen at the Music Academy of Cologne. It was in the opera studio of Cologne Opera that this winner of numerous international competitions began his career; in 1999 he became a member of the company’s permanent ensemble, to which he continues to belong. In Cologne Youn has sung many major heldenbaritone roles, including Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen, Jochanaan in Strauss’s Salome, Pizarro in Beethoven’s Fidelio, such Verdi parts as Attila, Amonasro in Aida, and Jago in Otello – and of course the Wagner repertoire. He began performing at the Bayreuth Festival in 2004, when Youn made his debut in Parsifal; from 2010 to 2015 his roles there included the Herald in Lohengrin, and from 2012 to 2015 he also sang the title role in Der fliegende Holländer. Other credits include Scar-pia in Puccini’s Tosca at the Royal Opera House in London, Orest in Strauss’s Elektra at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Donner in Wagner’s Das
Rheingold at the Opéra National de Paris, the four evil characters in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Toulouse, and Kaspar in Weber’s Der Freischütz at Hamburg Staatsoper. In the coming season Youn will make his debut at Chicago Lyric Opera as Alberich in Das Rheingold; at Deutsche Oper in Berlin he will sing the Wanderer in Siegfried. Samuel Youn has worked with such conductors as Pierre Boulez, Semyon Bychkov, Zubin Mehta, and Christian Thielemann. The Friends of Opera Cologne awarded the singer their Offenbach Prize in 2005; in 2014 he won the Cologne Opera Prize.