Bass-baritone Samuel Youn received his first vocal training in his hometown of Seoul, after which he completed his studies at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan and at the Conservatory of Cologne. He started his singing career in 1999 at the Cologne Opera where he has quickly established himself as a leading dramatic bass baritone of his generation in such roles as Amonasro (Aida), Tonio (Pagliacci), Kurwenal (Tristan), Gunter (Götterdämmerung), Kaspar (Freischütz), Pizzaro (Fidelio), and the title role in Wagner`s The Flying Dutchman. Apart from his commitment at the Cologne Opera, he has also been invited to perform on many international stages, including the Theatre du Capitole de Toulouse, Teatro Real de Madrid, Bayreuth Festival, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Hamburg State Opera, Opéra de Paris, Scala di Milano, Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Opéra Nice Côte d’Azur, Teatro Sao Carlo in Lisbon, Teatro di San Carlo in Napoli and Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.
In the 2017/18 season, Youn sang the role of Don Fernando in a concert performance of Fidelio at Teatro di San Carlo Napoli under the baton of Zubin Mehta and made his debut as Hagen in a production of the Ring at Theater an der Wien. In addition, he performed the roles of Jochanaan (Salome) and Scarpia (Tosca) at Deutsche Oper Berlin, as well as Jago (Otello) at Semperoper Dresden.
Future projects include his role debut as King Henry (Lohengrin) at the Opéra de Marseille, Alberich (Rheingold) in Seoul, Scarpia (Tosca) at Teatro di San Carlo, a concert performance of Alberich (Götterdämmerung) in Edinburgh, Kurwenal (Tristan) at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Alberich (Siegfried) at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Alberich (Rheingold) at Teatro Real de Madrid.
Most recently, Youn performed the roles of Alberich (Rheingold) at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Wotan (Siegfried) and the title role in The Flying Dutchman at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Dutchman at Teatro Real de Madrid, and Don Pizarro (Fidelio) at Opera Cologne, where he also sang the title role in Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle to much acclaim.
In 2012, Youn had his international breakthrough singing the title role in the The Flying Dutchman under the baton of Christian Thielemann at the Bayreuth Festival, where he was invited back to sing the same role in 2013 and 2015. 2015 also saw Youn return to Deutsche Oper Berlin for various productions, as well as debut at the Theater an der Wien as the Dutchman and with the Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Other highlights from past seasons include the roles of Paolo Albiani (Simon Boccanegra) at the Opera Nice Côte d’Azur and in Oman, Donner (Das Rheingold) at the Opéra National de Paris, Méphisto (Damnation de Faust) at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Orest (Elektra), Gunther (Götterdämmerung) at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, as well as Wotan and Wanderer (Der Ring an 1 Abend) and Scarpia (Tosca) at Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, the latter of which Youn performed at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, where he also performed the roles of Creon (Oedipe) and Raimondo Bidebent (Lucia di Lammermoor).
Youn has worked with such conductors as Marc Albrecht, Pierre Boulez, Riccardo Chailly, Andris Nelsons, Zubin Mehta, Donald Runnicles, Markus Stenz and Pinchas Steinberg, among others.