The “astonishing countertenor” (New York Times) Kangmin Justin Kim is one of the most sought-after singers of his voice type, having earned accolades in roles of the Baroque repertoire, contemporary music and in Mozart’s trouser parts.
In summer of 2022, the Korean-American singer created the role of Song Liling in the world premiere of M. Butterfly at Santa Fe Opera, receiving rave reviews for his “alluring, ringing tone” and his “sensitivity as an actor” (New York Times). Another breakthrough performance was his 2019 debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, where the mezzo-sopranist wrote history as the first male singer to appear as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro on this prestigious stage.
In the 2022/23 season, Justin makes his role and house debut at The Dallas Opera and as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, his house debut at the Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg as Nerone in a new production of L’incoronazione di Poppea, with later performances in Mulhouse and Colmar, as well as his role debuts as Amanzio in Vivaldi’s Il Giustino with La Cetra in Basel and at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, as Piacere in Handel’s Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno at the Opéra de Lausanne with Diego Fasolis and I Barocchisti, as Aristeo in Sartorio’s Orfeo at the Opéra National de Montpellier and as Cleopatra in Hasse’s Marc’Antonio e Cleopatra at Haymarket Opera in Chicago. Justin also returns to the Teatro La Fenice of Venice as Hyacinthus in a new production of Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus and to the Janáček Theatre of Brno as Ruggiero in Alcina. In concert, he appears at the Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele with the SWR Symphonieorchester conducted by Václav Luks, at the Liszt Academy in Budapest in a Baroque concert with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Carmina Burana with Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra and at the Tongyeong International Music Festival. Between performances, Justin will return to his alma mater of Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University to give a masterclass.
Other recent performances include house debuts at the Wiener Staatsoper in a new production of Henze’s Das verratene Meer, at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin as Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea, and at the Theater an der Wien as Annio in La clemenza di Tito. The 2021-2022 season saw Justin’s role debuts as Knusperhexe in Hänsel und Gretel at Staatstheater Wiesbaden, as Epitide in Giacomelli’s La Merope at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and in Basel with La Cetra and Andrea Marcon and as Ottone in Vivaldi’s La Griselda for Teatro La Fenice. He also sang Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina with Collegium 1704 at Narodní Divadlo Brno and Opéra Royal de Versailles which earned him a Thálie Award nomination, the title role in the pasticcio Siface at Opera Rara Kraków, Gilade in Farnace at the Teatro La Fenice, Eustazio in Rinaldo at the Opéra de Lausanne and a Gala concert streamed from the Opéra Comique of Paris.
He has also sung Nerone in L’incoronazione di Poppea and Speranza in L’Orfeo at the Salzburg Festival, New York Lincoln Center, Philharmonie of Paris and Berlin, Harris Theatre in Chicago, Edinburgh Festival, Lucerne Festival and the Teatro La Fenice in Venice conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Cesare in Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica and Orlofsky in a new production of Die Fledermaus at the Oper Köln, Orfeo in Handel’s Parnasso in festa at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Nireno in Sir David McVicar’s iconic production of Giulio Cesare for his Glyndebourne debut conducted by William Christie, Ruggiero in Alcina at Opéra de Nancy, Idamante in Idomeneo and Hamor in Jephtha in Wiesbaden, and Idelberto in Lotario at Konzert Theater Bern. He made his debut at the Teatro San Carlo of Naples in Britten’s Canticles alongside Ian Bostridge, performed Carmina Burana with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Barzane in Vivaldi’s Arsilda with the Collegium 1704 in Bratislava, Caen, Lille, Luxembourg and Versailles, Speranza in L’Orfeo at the Opéra de Dijon, and Romeo in Zingarelli’s Giulietta e Romeo at the Rokokotheater of Schwetzingen.
Other successes since his professional operatic debut in 2013 include Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus for his Parisian debut at the Opéra Comique conducted by Marc Minkowski, Oreste in La Belle Hélène at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Sesto in La clemenza di Tito at the Opéra de Montpellier, and Idamante in Idomeneo at the Stadttheater Gießen under the baton of Michael Hofstetter. As an ensemble member of Theater Heidelberg, he sang Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, title role in Kalitzke’s Pym and Enea in the Handel/Vinci pasticcio Didone abbandonata at the Handel Festival Halle and in Schwetzingen.
He has collaborated with such prestigious conductors as Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Diego Fasolis, Andrea Marcon, William Christie, Marc Minkowski, Leonardo García Alarcón and Simone Young.
Kangmin Justin Kim was born in South Korea and grew up in Chicago. He studied voice, opera, and musical theater at Northwestern University in Evanston and the Royal Academy of Music, London. Between rehearsals, he can often be seen knitting, for which he is well-known in the knitting world as he has modeled knitwear for magazines and books.