Sunhae Im


"A splendidly bright soprano"

The New York Times

"Among the best actor-singers I know"

René Jacobs

"Most enchanting of all is Sunhae Im with her radiant soprano and amazing top notes, as Placidia, the Emperor’s saucy daughter."


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Called “a splendidly bright soprano” (The New York Times) and “one of the great singers of our time” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), the Korean soprano Sunhae Im has been showing versatile musicality and deep dramaturgic understanding. She had great success in early music repertoire with conductors such as René Jacobs, Philippe Herreweghe, Fabio Biondi, Ton Koopman, and Diego Fasolis, with ensembles such as Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Europa Galante, and Akademie für alte Musik Berlin. She was also acclaimed for later repertoire with Manfred Honeck, Iván Fischer, Myung-Whun Chung, Kent Nagano, and Zubin Mehta, at Verbier Festival, Carnegie Hall, Philharmonie de Paris, and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. She enjoys innovative projects including The Creation by La Fura dels Baus and La Finta Giardiniera in La Scala Opera’s Shanghai tour. Sunhae made about 30 recordings, including operas by Handel and Mozart and both passions by Bach, and received numerous awards. Her solo album Orfeo[s] was awarded the Elly Ameling Prize by Académie du Disque Lyrique, and her CD Didone Abbandonata was nominated in three categories for Opus Klassik 2020.

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Bach: St John Passion

Tampere Filharmonia (March 2024)

...there was a marvelous cast featuring some of the frontline Bach singers of our time. … Soprano Sunhae Im sang her two arias with the same enthralling beauty as she did on René Jacobs’s extraordinary 2016 St John Passion recording

Jari Kallio, Adventures in Music

Telemann: Sieg der Schönheit (Placidia)

Theater Magdeburg (March 2024)

The singing of the incomparable Sunhae Im, whose voice soars to the heavens as if there were neither war nor woes in the world, overwhelms time after time.

Jan Brachmann, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The most beautiful singing from Sunhae Im as Placidia, who employs her voice and diction always right between of irony and emphasis.

Roland Dippel, Die Deutsche Bühne

Lydia Teuscher and Sunhae Im as Eudoxia and Placidia sing beautiful, crystal-clear sopranos...


Handel: La resurrezione

Vespres d’Arnadí (November, 2022)

"The Korean Sunhae Im was a Magdalena of sorrowful and elegant lyricism..."

Jordi Maddaleno, La Vanguardia

"The violins in unison accompanying Sabata's voice in the aria "Augeletti ruscelleti", or the work of the flute and viola de gamba in "Ferma l'ali, e sui misi lumi", with the delicious voice of an exceptional Sunhae Im as Maria Magdalena, would be two examples of this sound balance achieved between voices and instrumental accompaniment."

Lluís Trullén, Revista Musical Catalana

Mozart: Così fan tutte (Despina)

Orquestra Gulbenkian (March 2022)

Im was a sensational Despina. She brought out so much through the text – really colouring the words to bring her character to life, in exceptionally idiomatic Italian. The way she portrayed her character through the text rendered the Portuguese surtitles superfluous, such was the vividness of her singing and acting. Her bright soprano, with an engaging smile in the tone, her impeccable comic timing and ability to make Despina a three-dimensional character, even more than in a fully-staged production, all made for a terrific portrayal.


Gassmann: L'opera seria (Porporina)

La Monnaie

The cast sings well, sometimes arrestingly so; in particular ... Porporina (Sunhae Im) [who] enjoys the chance to show off her full range in the showcase arias.

Shirley Apthorp, Financial Times

Handel: Agrippina (Poppea)

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

Korean soprano Sunhae Im was very believable in the role of the irresistible and flirtatious Poppea. She brought the right dose of lightness, versatility and coloratura to every aria, yet remained convincing as this childish, irresistible, playful and falsely naïve character. Her articulation and fluidity in the top register are effortless, and even her Italian sounded natural.

Vesna Gerintes, bachtrack *****

Handel: Messiah

New York Philharmonic

Among Mr. Koopman’s soloists, the superb countertenor Andreas Scholl was the primary draw and performed with characteristic grace and intelligence. He was well matched by Sunhae Im, a splendidly bright soprano.

Steve Smith, The New York Times

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Sunhae Im: Portrait (Universal 2019)
Byrd: Consort Music & Songs (Coviello 2017)
Haydn: L’isola disabitata (Pentatone 2021)
Schulhoff: Complete Songs (bastille musique 2020)
Graupner: Antiochus & Stratonica (CPO 2020)
Handel: Lucio Cornelio Silla (Glossa 2017)
Bach: St. John Passion (Harmonia Mundi 2016)
Bach: Christmas Oratorio (Challenge Classics 2014)
Handel: Orlando (Archiv 2014)
Bach: St. Matthew Passion (Harmonia Mundi 2013)