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Traveling the world through opera

Traveling the world through opera

Gabriela Bott '25 September 26, 2023

Dr. Ryu-kyung Kim, a voice professor at UD, has filled her office walls with posters she has collected from her time as a traveling opera singer. From Phantom of the Opera posters to a timeline of musicians and playwrights, Kim's walls are well decorated. Some of the most significant posters on her wall are from her time as an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera, which she claims to be her best summers.

Before becoming a professor, Kim was a full-time performer for 9 years. Her favorite part of being a musician was getting to travel, particularly to Europe. She said that opera and music in general is a very popular and supported art in Europe, and experiencing classical music in it's place of origin was a unique experience. 

Kim said her favorite part of teaching is seeing the development of voice and seeing her students learn to express themselves.

"[It's] a process of finding oneself and one's identity," she said. 

"I love that students are engaged in music making and I love seeing how much they have to say through music."

She said she enjoys seeing students find what they love and want to say, and seeing them open up and "become human."

Kim offered pieces of advice to individuals interested in pursuing music full time: "Music is a great way to learn to empathize with people. I fully support anyone pursuing it full-time because it will be a great journey. The journey is not easy; it’s a tough lifestyle, but rewarding."

When Kim first came to Dayton from New York, she said she worried about leaving such an art-centered city for the Midwest. But, to her surprise, she feels right at home and very supported by Dayton's strong arts community.

"It's a great community," she said, and she would know — she's traveled the world! 

A magical kingdom