The Choson Dynasty was the longest and last ruling Imperial Dynasty of Korea. For over five centuries, Korea flourished under the limbs of this Gingko Tree. Scholarship and the arts blossomed during this time. So much so, that today’s modern written Korean language was created under this seat. And, so begins the story of Haegon Kim. Haegon came from a working class Korean family, where practicality and utility are high and lifted up. Working hard to provide for your family is life. Provision. Leadership. Family. This is the stuff of the dusted road that creates the highways to a cosmopolitan life. This is the stuff that makes the world turn. Yet, he dreamed of being a Tenor Opera Singer. Haegon felt music calling him and felt it’s tenor in his throat. To create the deep sound of the ages and push it out in song seemed to be his life’s calling. Opera. Opera, was her name. The audacity to dream a dream like this in the face of financial difficulties and the drudgery of life is remarkable and brave. There were too many things that would convince any one of us to lay it down and forget its voice. Not Haegon. Intellect & creativity are often perceived to have an inverse relationship with one another. As one goes up, the other goes down. For Haegon, they are compatriots. They are kin. So while he did commit himself to the scholastic & intellectual endeavour of becoming an engineer. The practical pursuits of life. He did so with music still in his soul. A river splits in two when it comes in contact with a hard stone that resists erosion. It bifurcates. It goes around the stone on each side. Often with the same pressure and power. This is Haegon. One river flows with the keen eye of an engineer. Seeing opportunities where most do not. Seeing ways through, where most stop and sit as a final destination. The other river flows with great creative flux that will not be stopped. That will sing it’s song until the last aria. Which brings me back to where it began: The Choson Dynasty. It was the solar plexus of so many great Korean expositions, wisdom and invention. Haegon, seems to me, to be the exact progeny of its imagination. He will endure. He will revive. And, he will do it with great elegance, intelligence and song.
April 20, 22 & 23, 2023