Born in South Korea, Yonghoon Lee has established himself internationally as a leading tenor of his generation. He has made debuts 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, and Opera Australia. Lee’s engagements for the 2016⁄17 season include Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana at the Paris Opera, the title role in Andrea Chenier at the San Francisco Opera, Don José in Carmen at the Semperoper Dresden, Cavaradossi in Tosca at the Staatsoper Berlin, Calaf in Turandot at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf, Manrico in Il Trovatore at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Pollione in Norma at the Dallas Opera, and the title role in Don Carlos at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and in Tokyo.
In the 2015⁄16 season, Lee sang Manrico and Turiddu at the Metropolitan Opera, Don José and Turiddu at Covent Garden, Manrico and Calaf at the Bavarian State Opera, and Don José with Opera Australia. Engagements for the 2014⁄15 season included Don José and Don Carlos at the Metropolitan Opera, Calaf with Opera Australia, Manrico at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Don José and Manrico at the Bavarian State Opera. In the spring of 2014, Lee sang his first Andrea Chenier in Zurich. This was followed by another debut in June of 2014, when he appeared as Hagenbach in Catalani’s La Wally at the Geneva Opera. In the fall of 2013, Lee starred as Arrigo in the Hamburg State Opera’s new production of Verdi’s rarely performed La Battaglia di Legnano, staged by David Alden and conducted by Simone Young. He subsequently sang Don José at the Royal Opera House – Covent Garden and returned to Munich as Calaf. That same year, he added Manrico to his repertoire in a new production of Il Trovatore at the Theater an der Wien during the Wiener Festwochen.
Highlights of Lee’s 2012⁄13 season included Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera and for his debut in Zurich, Don Carlos in the original French Version at both the Vienna State Opera and the Hamburg State Opera, Tosca with Opera Australia and Covent Garden, and Turandot at the Bavarian State Opera. Lee sang his first Calaf at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna in 2012. In 2011, he debuted in Vienna and Dresden as Cavaradossi and at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan as Turridu. He also returned to the Rome Opera that year as Arrigo, after which he joined the Metropolitan Opera on tour in Japan in Don Carlos. In the summer of 2010, Lee sang Macduff in Macbeth at the 2010 Glyndebourne Festival. That same year, he debuted at the Metropolitan Opera as Don Carlos and at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Don José.
In June of 2009, Lee made his highly acclaimed Dutch National Opera debut as Don José in a new production of Carmen, directed by Robert Carsen and conducted by Marc Albrecht. In November of 2008, he made his debut at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa as Rodolfo in La Bohème, under Daniel Oren. Lee subsequently returned to Frankfurt for a revival of Don Carlos and as Rodolfo in La Boheme, and he made his Deutsche Oper Berlin debut in Tosca opposite Violeta Urmana. He made his Italian debut in January of 2008 at the Rome Opera as Cavaradossi in a new production of Tosca that year, directed by Franco Zeffirelli and conducted by Gianluigi Gelmetti, and subsequently made his debut in Athens in the same role. Lee also appeared in Don Carlos and Tosca with the Opera de la Wallonie in Liege and made his debut in the United Kingdom as Don José with the Glyndebourne Touring Company. Following his 2007 debut as Don Carlos in Santiago, Chile, Lee made his German debut at the Frankfurt Opera in a new production of the same work. This was followed in December of 2007 by his Spanish debut, also in Don Carlos, at the Palau de las Artes in Valencia, under Lorin Maazel.
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, where he continued his vocal and musical studies with Professor Arthur Levy. A winner of numerous vocal competitions, Lee was awarded First Prize at the 34th annual Loren L. Zachary Society National Vocal Competition in 2006 and First Prize at the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Vocal Competition in 2005.