Born in South Korea, Yonghoon Lee has established himself internationally as one of the leading tenors of his generation and has been acclaimed at many of the most prestigious theaters in the world, including the Royal Opera House – Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna State Opera, Rome Opera, Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Semperoper Dresden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and Opera Australia. In the 2021/22 season, Lee returns to The Metropolitan Opera to perform Calaf in Turdandot, which will be broadcast as part of the Met: Live in HD series. In the 2020/21 season, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of Lee’s performances at The Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, Opera Australia, Dutch National Opera, among others; however he is slated to perform Luigi in Il Tabarro at the Bavarian State Opera.
In the 2019/20 season, Lee debuted at the Gran Teatre del Liceu as Radamès in Aida, a role that he also sang that season at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. He additionally appeared in Australia as Don José in Carmen. In the 2018/19 season, Lee sang his first Don Alvaro in the new production of La Forza del Destino at the Zürich Opera. He also returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Don José and Radamès, to Opera Australia as Calaf, to the Vienna State Opera as Turridu, and to the Bavarian State Opera as Calaf and Luigi. Lee began the 2017/18 season with his debut at the Washington Opera in his first performances of Radamès. He then returned to the Vienna State Opera as Cavaradossi in Tosca and sang Luigi in the Bavarian State Opera’s new production of Il Trittico. He also returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Manrico in Il Trovatore and to Opera Australia as Radamès. The tenor made his debut at the San Francisco Opera in the fall of 2016 in the title role of Andrea Chenier, followed by his Paris Opera debut as Turridu, a role he has also sung at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala in Milan and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He added Pollione in Norma to his repertoire for his debut at the Dallas Opera and was also heard at the Semperoper Dresden as Don José, at the Berlin State Opera as Cavaradossi, as the title role in Don Carlos at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, and with the Mariinsky Opera on tour in Japan under Music Director Valery Gergiev.
Yonghoon Lee began his musical studies in his native South Korea, where he sang such roles as Alfredo in La Traviata, Luigi in Il Tabarro, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Ruggero in La Rondine, and Don José in Carmen. He received a full scholarship to both the Seoul National University in Korea and the Mannes College of Music in New York. After winning numerous prizes at international vocal competitions, Lee began his professional career in the title role of Verdi’s Don Carlos at the Teatro Municipal in Santiago, Chile, a role which has been very significant in his career. Shortly after his debut in Santiago, Lee sang Don Carlos for his Spanish debut in Valencia and for his German debut at the Frankfurt Opera. He has since performed the role in both its original French and more regularly performed Italian version in Vienna, Munich and Hamburg, as well as for his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, appearing both in New York and with the company on tour in Japan.
Lee made his debuts at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna State Opera, Rome Opera, Greek National Opera and Opera Australia as Cavaradossi in Tosca. He sang his first Don José in Carmen for his debut at the Dutch National Opera, a role which has also taken him to theaters around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Opera de Lyon, Semperoper Dresden, Berlin State Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Sydney Opera House. Lee added Calaf in Turandot to his repertoire in Bologna, and has frequently been heard in this role internationally. Manrico entered his repertoire in Vienna, and Lee has since appeared in Il Trovatore at the Bavarian State Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Metropolitan Opera in a performance broadcast to cinemas all over the world. He sang his first Andrea Chenier for the Zurich Opera. Lee has also appeared in less frequently performed works; as Hagenbach in Catalani’s La Wally for his debut in Geneva, and as Arrigo in Verdi’s La Battaglia di Legnano in both Rome and Hamburg. In addition to his performance activities, Lee is a professor in the department of classic vocal music at Seoul National University.