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 (Der Freischütz), Don 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 Opéra national de Paris, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Semperoper Dresden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Hamburg, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro Real de Madrid, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Opéra de Marseille, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Theater an der Wien, Teatro di San Carlo Naples, Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse, Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Teatro Sao Carlo Lisbon, as well as the Bayreuth Festival and Edinburgh International Festival.
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 the Bayreuth Festival and Deutsche Oper Berlin for various productions, as well as debut at the Theater an der Wien as the Dutchman and with the Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Recent highlights include Scarpia in Tosca, Créon in Enescu’s Oedipe and Raimondo Bidebent in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden; Alberich in Das Rheingold and Siegfried at the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Wotan in Siegfried, the title role in The Flying Dutchman, Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde, Jochanaan in Salome, Scarpia and Méphisto in La Damnation de Faust at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; Jago in Otello at the Semperoper Dresden; the Dutchman and Hagen in the Ring cycle at the Theater an der Wien; Gunther in Götterdämmerung at the Gran Theatre de Liceu in arcelona; Alberich in Das Rheingold and the Dutchman at the Teatro Real de Madrid; König Heinrich in Lohengrin with Opéra de Marseille; as well as Orest in Elektra, Wotan and Wanderer in Der Ring an 1 Abend and Scarpia at the Staatstheater Wiesbaden. Furthermore, Youn performed the roles of Wanderer in Siegfried, Don Pizarro in Fidelio, Vodník in Rusalka, Scarpia, Leporello in Don Giovanni and the title role in Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle.
Upcoming engagements include Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde and Escamillo in Carmen at Oper Köln, as well as Tomsky in The Queen of Spades and Alberich in Götterdämmerung at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, each under the baton of Andrew Davis.
Youn has collaborated with such conductors as Philippe Jordan, Christian Thielemann, Andrew Davis, Marc Elder, Andris Nelsons, Juraj Valčuha, Semyon Bychkov, Marc Minkowski, Markus Stenz, Peter Ruzicka, Donald Runnicles, John Fiore, Will Humburg, Pinchas Steinberg, Zubin Mehta, and Pierre Boulez.