World Opera…International Classics
An Evening of Opera NOT to be missed! Performers include Soprano Yoora Lee-Hoff, Tenor Simon Kyung Lee, Bass-Baritone Willam Powers, and Pianist Anatoliy Torchinskiy
Soprano- Yoora Lee-Hoff
Soprano Yoora Lee-Hoff (Yoora Lee) was born in Seoul, South Korea and lives in Dresden, Germany. As a child she learned to play the piano and won several national prizes in South Korea. Later she started playing the violin. She studied violin in Seoul, South Korea, Berlin and Leipzig, Germany.
While she was active as a violinist, her beautiful voice was discovered and she was invited to study vocal arts – opera at the University of Music and Theatre in Leipzig, Germany. Her first professional engagement was as a soprano at the Leipzig Opera House and then ontoSaxony’s theatre Dresden-Radebeul in Germany, while she was still studying.
Ms. Lee-Hoff performed at the international music festival Palma de Mallorca/ Spain, the Luisenburg Festival Wunsiedel, Germany and the opera festival Salvador de Bahia/ Brazil.
Ms. Lee-Hoff was engaged at the Dresden State Operetta, theatre Goerlitz and Bautzen, the state opera Schwerin, the theatre Dessau, the opera house Chemnitz, the theatre Gera and others in Germany. During the “Vienna Johannn Strauss Concert Gala” tour she was singing at several major concert halls such as the Tonhalle Zurich, the Residenz Munich and the Berlin Philharmonie in Germany and Switzerland, among others.
Ms. Lee-Hoff’s concert work has taken her to concert halls in Germany, USA, Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Spain, Ukraine, Estonia, Japan, China and South Korea.
Tenor- Simon Kyung Lee
Tenor Simon K. Lee was born in Busan, South Korea, where he began his musical training. He moved to Italy where it was discovered that he had a natural affinity for the verismo style. Carlos Montané and Mtro Ubaldo Gardini gave him confidence that his voice suits Verdi and Puccini.
Mr. Lee went on to perform a recital at the first annual Festival Notte Musicali Modenesi in Italy. Mr. Lee then moved to the United States where he participated in the Sherrill Milnes Opera Program and while there worked with Sherrill Milnes and Inci Bashar.
Under the direction of world-renowned opera singers Jennifer Larmore and Giacomo Aragall, Mr. Lee continued his career to include his Carnegie Hall debut for Haydn’s Paukenmesse with the New England Symphony, Giles Corey in Crucible, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Calaf in Turandot, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Alfredo in La Traviata, Radames in Aida, Duke in Rigoletto, Manrico in Il Trovatore, Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera, Rodolfo in La Bohème, 3rd Jew in Salome, Luigi in Il Tabarro, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and even a rarely heard Verdi opera the I Lombardi in his Chicago Premiere with the da Corneto Opera as Arvino.
Mr. Lee has appeared in the leading tenor roles with companies in the US, Europe as well as in Asia. Mr. Lee has performed with such companies as Singapore Lyric Opera, Busan Natoyan Opera, Opera New Hampshire, Vail Opera, Palm Desert Opera, the Gold & Treasure Coast Operas, Panama City Opera, Utah Festival Opera, da Corneto Opera, Chamber Opera Chicago, Chicago Festival Opera, Kansas City Puccini Festival, Opera North Carolina, Opera Tulsa, Sunstate Opera, Teatro Lirico D’Europa and World Classical Musical Society. A two-time recipient of awards from the National Bel Canto Foundation, Mr. Lee has utilized his flair with Italian music to his advantage in scores of solo concerts and recitals around the Midwest, including a gala concert in which the musical artists of North and South Korea performed together on the same Chicago stage for the first time.
In 2016-18 his engagements included Radames in Aida, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Il Duca in Rigoletto, and Don José in Carmen with Teatro Lirico D’Europa and numerous concerts throughout the United States. He also appeared as the Opera singer for Jane Austen’s Persuasion – Musical Drama with Chamber Opera Chicago’s UK and Canada tour in 2013 through 2018 include Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
He is also currently teaches at Opera Maya, Summer Festival in Mexico and at Baws Studio-Fine Arts Building in Chicago. He lives in Woodridge, IL.
Bass-Baritone- Willam Powers
Since making his New York City Opera debut in 1972, Chicagoan WILLIAM POWERS has performed over 100 operatic roles with the major opera companies in the United States, Europe, and South America. While the stylistic range of his portrayals spans the gamut from Renaissance ( Monteverdi’s ORFEO for San Francisco ) to Contemporary ( Pasatieri’s SEAGULL for Washington DC ), William Powers has earned an enviable reputation as a “heavy” – due in large part to the dark, penetrating color of his voice – thus the portrayal of rogues and villains has dominated his career. His teachers and mentors, George London and Norman Treigle, have also added to the intensity of the acting aspect of Powers’ delivery – for which he has become well-known.
Mr. Powers has been the creator of many new roles through world-premiers or important revivals…most recently singing the villain “Meyer Wolfsheim” for the premier of Harbison’s THE GREAT GATSBY at the Metropolitan Opera in New York; other new creations have included Penderecki’s PARADISE LOST for Chicago’s Lyric Opera; Herrmann’s WUTHERING HEIGHTS for Portland; Copeland’s HOLY BLOOD AND CRESCENT MOON for Cleveland; and Petrassi’s SESTINA D’AUTUNNO for Italy’s Spoleto Festival. Of re-creations. Powers offered the role of “Celio” for the 50th Anniversary production of Prokofiev’s THE LOVE OF THREE ORANGES for Chicago; the rarely heard BETLY of Donizetti for Strasbourg, and the French version of Donizetti’s LA FAVORITE for the Theatre d’Champs-Elysees and the Opera Comique in Paris; the creation of the Italian version of THE LADY MACBETH OF THE MTZENSK DISTRICT for Spoleto; and the American premier of G. F. Handel’s PORO, RE DI INDIE for Kennedy Center’s Handel Festival in Washington DC.
William Powers’ voice has been widely recorded and has been heard in hundreds of Broadcasts; a solo CD –released on the Centaur label as ROGUES AND VILLAINS in 2000 has been followed with yet another collection of wicked evil-doers and miscreants entitled, THE WORST OF WILLIAM POWERS in 2009 – the two discs contain dozens of arias from many under-handed characters…Rossini’s “Basilio” and “Dr. Bartolo”, “Mustafa”, and “Don Magnifico”; OTHELLO’s “Iago”; Beethoven’s “Pizzaro”; Ponchielli’s “Alvise”, and Mussorgsky’s “Boris”. Various devils: Gounod’s “Mephistopheles”, Meyerbeer’s “Bertram”, and Boito’s “Mefisto”. The “Four Villains” of Offenbach’s LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN. Floyd’s “Reverend Blitch”; Wagner’s “Alberich”; Mozart’s “Leporello”; Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi”; Gruenberg’s “Jones”, and the ultimate rascal of them all – Verdi’s “Falstaff”, to name a few!
Symphonic repertoire has not been ignored with Beethoven’s NINTH and MISSA SOLEMNIS; the REQUIEMs of Verdi, Mozart, Dvorak, Brahms and Faure; and the MESSIAH as well as many oratorios of Handel. These standards being joined by the contemporary works of William Schuman and Ned Rorem, in conjunction with the Symphonies of Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Dallas in the United States, as well as the Symphonies of Paris, Cologne, Strasbourg, Trieste, Prague, Bratislava, Hague, Amsterdam, and Vienna.
Recent performances have included the Chicago premier of DER KAISER VON ATLANTIS, and THE TALES OF HOFFMANN ( in the controversial Ratner version ) for the Chicago Opera Theater; WERTHER of Massenet for the Klangbogen Festival of Vienna, as well as the Basque National Opera of Bilbao; DEAD MAN WALKING for Cincinnati; THE DAMNATION OF FAUST for Chicago’s Grant Park Festival, and the Pablo Casal’s Fesdtival of San Juan; the Opera Gala for the Festival of the Aegean in Athens and Styros; FAUST for Trieste; THE BARBER OF SEVILLE for Charlotte and Buenos Aires; THE MAGIC FLUTE for Bozman; FIDELIO for Cedar Rapids; and the national tour of Teatro Lirico d’Europa’s production of Puccini’s TOSCA, in the role of the corrupt Commissioner of Police, the despicable “Baron Scarpia”.
Does William Powers feel bad about the label of “evil” that has been hung upon him? Not at all! As a matter of fact, he delights in it! It is not often that a person can act “as bad as he wants to be “, and get away with it!
Piano – Anatoliy Torchinskiy
Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Mr. Torchinskiy began his piano studies nearly forty years ago. As a small child, he won numerous competitions and eventually studied at the Central Ukrainian Music High School for Gifted Children. He studied with Olga Liforenko, Violetta Chernyshova, and Boris Archimovich. He performed as a concert pianist with both the Ukrainian Chamber Orchestra and the Ukrainian Symphony Orchestra on Soviet television.
After immigrating to the United States in 1992, Mr. Torchinskiy continued his studies at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University under Pawel Checinski, earning both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance. He began accompanying professionally in 1996 and has been heard in Italy, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the Chicago area, with companies such as da Corneto Opera, Chamber Opera Company Chicago, Genesis Opera, Bellissima Opera, as well as playing live on WFMT radio.
Although known primarily as an accompanist, Mr. Torchinskiy has also developed a reputation as a versatile pianist who coaches instrumentalists and singers alike. Since 2003, he has enjoyed being a part of the opera company at the Acorn Theater as an accompanist. He has also played two solo concerts at the Acorn. Additionally, in the summer of 2008, he played under the baton of Maestro James Conlon as a rehearsal accompanist for Ravinia’s production of Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio.
Mr. Torchinskiy has also been active as the principal pianist for Chamber Opera Chicago. He has been both rehearsal and performance pianist for Vanessa by Barber, Amahl and the Night Visitors by Menotti, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and Maria La O by Ernesto Lecuona.
In July of 2010, Mr. Torchinskiy was the rehearsal accompanist for da Corneto Opera’s production of Gounod’s Faust, and in August, he played a production of Carmen for mezzo-soprano Isola Jones with Opera at the Acorn. In September, he performed as the rehearsal accompanist for the world premiere of the musical reading of Lily and from September through November, he presented two solo recitals at Byron Colby Barn in Grayslake.
In 2011, Mr. Torchinskiy, acting as principal pianist, and Chamber Opera Chicago performed the Chicago premiere of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. In July of 2013, they premiered Persuasion in Great Britain, performing in Westminster and Shanklin. They also performed in Chicago and New York that year. In 2014, they returned to Great Britain, performing in Windsor, Bury St. Edmunds, Bath, Margate, and Brighton. In 2015, they toured in Scotland, performing in Aberdeen and Edinburgh. In Edinburgh, they performed at the Fringe Festival, where one reviewer wrote, “The dexterity of Anatoliy Torchinskiy is particularly apparent during his rendition of Haydn’s Piano Sonata in D Major.” In 2016, the company toured Aberdeen, Sterling, York, London, Stratford Upon Avon, and Lyme Regis.
In 2017, Mr. Torchinskiy has been more active as an accompanist to soloists and small ensembles, both instrumental and vocal. At Northern Illinois University, he accompanied Ya-Chen Jessy Lee and Kayla Steger, both cellists, and performed with a Mendelssohn sextet. At Roosevelt University, he performed with a vocal quartet at a Composers’ Concert, performing a work by Patricia Morehead. He also played two solo recitals that year.
In 2018, Mr. Torchinskiy spent time both as a solo performer and with other musicians. He held solo performances in Oakbrook and Rosemont, as well as performing in Forbidden Opera with Chicago Folks Operetta. In November, he appeared with Chicago Fringe Opera in The Long Christmas Dinner by Hindemith. In 2019, in addition to a number of solo performances, he performed with Folks Operetta in Paul Abraham’s jazz operetta, The Flower of Hawaii, playing piano and celeste, as well as acting as rehearsal pianist. He also released a CD recoding of his January performance at Skokie Central United Methodist Church, entitled A Winter Evening of Classical Music.
Mr. Torchinskiy is currently dividing his time between teaching, accompanying, and performance.