Opera chief quits after 53 days

Opera chief quits after 53 days


norman lebrecht

February 26, 2015

Regina Han, appointed only last month as general director of Korea National Opera, has resigned under pressure of a hostile media campaign.

A coalition of musical organisations claimed she lacked experience for the job. Regina, 44, had an international career as a singer in Europe and Japan before turning to scholarship and administration.

She said: My family was hurt by the way I was portrayed in the media without being given any opportunity to test my qualifications through the job.’

It appears she suffered the same kind of media lynch mob that was directed earlier at Myung Whun Chung, music director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

Memo to those considering a music admin career in Korea: Don’t.


regina han



  • Nick says:

    This was not, I suggest, a case similar to that of Myung Whun Chung. Whatever the media might have been saying, she was ousted primarily because almost the entire Korean opera community was against the appointment. One surely must therefore ask a question or two about her appointment.

    As a singer with a still active career – she has said she now plans to return to singing – and a visiting Professor of Singing at one of Korea’s Universities, did she have the administrative background necessary for such a key job? Secondly, and more importantly, did anyone on the appointments committee have any real understanding of the role of the General Director of a National Opera Company?

    History has thrown up several examples of singers who make the transition to management very successfully. The early indications were that Ms. Han did not in fact have anything like the experience for the job. She started her tenure very much on the defensive with a twice-postponed media conference at which she admitted she had no experience in opera production. To suggestions that she had neither the academic or professional qualifications for the nation’s top opera job (as claimed by the opera community), she replied “I take those opinions as an encouragement and will do my best as a new director.” Hardly the most encouraging response!

    Another point to note is her appointment seems to have bypassed official regulations in that it did not receive proper verification from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

    What the episode does seem to highlight, along with the ill-fated appointment of Ms. Park at the SSO, is the complete absence in Korea of qualified top level arts administrators.

  • LEE says:

    I think you are misunderstanding this situation. She did NOT have international career nor experiences. Actually most of musicians in Korea doesn’t know her. Did you also read in articles that she had false information regarding her resumé?

  • Julius says:

    During his appointment, she already 2 times sent to my Artistic Director and International Artistic Consultant a souvenir from Korean National Opera and A letter about to share arts between Korea and my office country. I think she try her best for Korean Opera. My International Artistic Consultant is a famous conductor in USA.