Opera: Red book

Aria: Hear me my beloved - sung in English, Korean and Welsh



Synopsis of the Imagined Opera

Red Book follows the life of Welshman Robert Jermain Thomas (1839-1866), the first protestant martyr for Korea, and traces the legacy of his death in Korean Christian movement.

After the ordination at Hanover church in Llanover, Rev. Thomas sailed for China for his first mission post. Within five months of arrival in Shanghai, his newly wed wife Caroline passed away. After meeting two Korean Catholics who fled persecution and emboldened by Korean Isolationist Foreign Policy, he developed a strong desire to go to Korea. 10,000 Catholics had already been killed as a result of the policy. Thomas travelled on an American merchant vessel ‘General Sherman’ to Korea as part of his fatal journey.

Hear Me My Beloved takes place at the place where Thomas was killed which is in present day North Korea. He was brought from a burning ship to the Governor. He tried to give his bible to his executioner, saying ‘Jesus, Jesus’, in Korean, before kneeling down to pray and to meet his death.

Hear Me My Beloved consists of three sections: Thomas pleading for compassion for Korea, his longing for his deceased wife, nostalgia for his homeland and finally his confession of faith and love for God , sung in Welsh. 



Kyu Choi - Baritone

South Korean baritone Kyu Choi is a member of OperAvenir at the Theater Basel, Switzerland.

He graduated from the Korea National University of Arts before taking up a place at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied for his Master’s degree under Mark Wildman and Ingrid Surgenor supported by the San Martino Scholarship. He continued to study for his Advanced Diploma at Royal Academy Opera, supported by Independent Opera, the Charles Mackerras Opera Scholarship.

Before he moved to Switzerland, he was a young artist at the National Opera Studio in 2019/20, generously supported by the Eileen Goddard Memorial Bursary. He successfully made his debut, the Independent Opera Scholars’ Recital, at Wigmore Hall, London.

Kyu took up several principal roles including the title role Mozart Don Giovanni, Le Podestat Le Docteur Miracle, Robert Iolanta, Dr Falke Die Fledermaus, Malatesta Don Pasquale and Belcore L’elisir d’amore.

Choi is the winner of the First Prize, Bill Birch Reynardson, at Les Azuriales International Singing Competition, France (2019), N. Obukhova International Singing Competition, Russia (2018), the Pavarotti Prize, UK (2019), the Joaninha Award, UK (2019).

He is looking forward to performing several upcoming engagements. In Basel, he will sing Malatesta Don Pasquale, Brother Rufin Saint François d’Assise, Sprecher Zauberflöte, Marco Gianni Schicchi and Marchese La traviata in the 2020/21 season.


Mairi Grewar - Repetiteur

Mairi Grewar is a Scottish pianist based in Germany. She is currently répétiteur and ballet répétiteur for the Landestheater Coburg in Bavaria. She was a National Opera Studio Young Artist répétiteur in 2019/2020. Mairi has performed at the Millenium Centre for the Welsh National Opera, in recital at the English National Opera and at Opera North during her time at the studio. Mairi was a fellow of the Guildhall School and was the senior coach on their productions of Handel’s Aminta e Fillide, Blow’s Venus and Adonis, Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte and Britten’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. She was the chorus répéiteur for the Opera Holland Park 2019 season including Pucinni’s Manon Lescaut, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, Cilea’s L’arlesiana and Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera.

Mairi is also a pianist for the Opera Holland Park Inspire outreach programme, bringing opera to community centres and charities. In the Spring of 2018 Mairi attended the Solti Accademia Repetiteur Course in Venice, Italy and was a scholar of the Franz Schubert Institut in Baden, Austria in July 2017. She was assistant conductor for Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the Berlin Opernfest in August 2018. Mairi has performed at the Barbican as part of the LSO Guildhall Artists scheme, the Wigmore Hall and LSO St Lukes. Mairi holds a Guildhall Artist Masters degree in piano accompaniment with distinction. She was associate accompanist for the University of St Andrews and was assistant Musical Director for their production of Madeleine Dring’s A Cupboard Love and Vaughn Williams’ Riders to the Sea. She is grateful for the support of the Dewar Arts Awards.


Creative Team

Shinuh Lee - Composer

Shinuh Lee is a composer who ponders seriously about the origins and nature of human existence. Her works "An Open Door", "Comfort, comfort my people", "Invisible Hands" and "Four Songs of Lamentation" are the result of such thoughts. Lee's reflection touches on the universal pain and emotion of heartbreak of humans in the secular world, but she is a composer who is ultimately finding the consolation and language of healing in regard to these things.

Shinuh studied at the Royal Academy of Music, University of London and University of Sussex in 1991-1998 and won the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for Composer 1991, Musical Times Composer’s Competition 1993. She was also finalist composer at Gaudeamus International Composers‘ Competition 1992, Leonard Bernstein International Jerusalem Composing Competition 1997.

Royal Academy of Music recently announced her as Associate of the Royal Academy of Music(ARAM). Shinuh is currently staying at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as academic visitor and will return to her school, College of Music, Seoul National University in 2021, where she’s been teaching as professor in composition since 1999.


Eun-E Goh - Librettist

Eun-E Goh is a pianist, musicologist and a journalist.

She was a winner of International Charles Hennen competition in Holland and made a highly claimed debut at the South Bank Centre as a Park Lane Artist. While studying at the Royal Academy of Music for her undergraduate and Masters, her particular interest in contemporary music formed through collaborations with distinguished composers including Ligeti and Schnittke. This led her to research further about the ‘Notation and its Limits of Interpretation’ at the Goldsmiths college. She is inquisitive about the relationship between the creative process and its interpretation through the sociological and humanistic aspects. Her cross disciplinary interest coupled with her Korean roots resulted in unique concerts with a wide spectrum of artists ranging from traditional Korean music performers, visual artists and dancers both in Europe and Korea.

She was a regular contributor for Korean music magazines, newspapers and Radio.

She is a member of the contemporary music ensemble ‘Phenomena’ in London and ‘Pathway’ ensemble based in Korea.