Kangmin Justin Kim Makes History As First Male Cherubino At Royal Opera

By Francisco Salazar

Kangmin Justin Kim made history in Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” by becoming the first male singer to interpret the iconic role of Cherubino at the Royal Opera House.

Kim sang his first Cherubino on June 29 and said, “Being the first male singer to sing Cherubino at ROH Covent Garden is a great honor and privilege, and I am truly humbled to be given this prestigious opportunity.”

He continued in his statement, “Historically sung by a woman dressed as a boy disguising as a girl, many consider this comedic gender-bending to be an essential element of the character and wonder how a countertenor might accomplish this challenge. While cross-dressing is a big part of the character, it is only ‘what he does’ and not necessarily ‘who he is.’ It is Cherubino’s most sincere truth that is the driving force behind his choices and actions, and that is what makes the character so special. As he goes through puberty, he rides the fine line between the innocent love and hormonal lust and tries anything and everything—including dressing up as a girl—in order to stay near the one who is his entire world and life. In this beautiful McVicar production, one can really see that the comedy comes from unfortunate situations in which the characters find themselves, and the more sincere the intentions are, the funnier the scenes become. Therefore it is my goal to portray the most honest Cherubino I possibly can to honor the history of this wonderful and beloved character.”

Kim sings nine performances in total of the role in Sir David McVicar’s acclaimed production under the direction of the legendary conductor John Eliot Gardiner. He is joined by Christian Gerharer as Figaro, Joélle Harvey as Susanna, Simon Keenlyside as Conte Almaviva and Julia Kleiter as Countess Almaviva.

Performances run through July 21, 2019.