Ms. Hong is a native of Seoul, Korea and is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music. While at Juilliard, she appeared in a number of productions with the American Opera Center. At the Juilliard School of Music she also participated in the master classes of Tito Gobbi, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Walter Legge, and Gerard Souzay. In addition, she was one of four young singers invited to attend Herbert von Karajan's opera classes at the 1983 Salzburg Festival. Blessed with a soprano voice of uncommon beauty and warmth, Hei-Kyung Hong's performances have been received enthusiastically at the world's leading opera houses and concert halls.
As a winner of the 1982 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ms. Hong made a highly-praised debut at the Metropolitan in the 1984-85 season as Servilia in the new Levine/Ponnelle production of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito. Since then she has returned to the Metropolitan every season for over 150 performances of 19 different roles. These include Ilia in Idomeneo, opposite Plácido Domingo, and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, both under the direction of James Levine in the Mozart bi-centennial season. She has sung there as Cleopatra in the John Copley production of Giulio Cesare; Liù in Turandot and Gilda in Otto Schenk's new production of Rigoletto, both opposite Luciano Pavarotti. Others roles have been as Susanna and the Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, Juliette in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, Mimì in La Bohème and Micaëla in the new Zeffirelli production of Carmen. In addition, she was Adina in L'Elisir d'amore, Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Despina in Così fan tutte. Finally, she appeared as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Rosina in The Ghosts of Versailles and Freia in Das Rheingold.
Hei-Kyung Hong started the 2001-2002 season with a performance as Gilda in the Metropolitan Opera's opening-night gala, which was dedicated to the music of Giuseppe Verdi and led by James Levine. She also returned to the Metropolitan to repeat her portrayal of Zerlina in the season-opening production of Don Giovanni, again led by James Levine and recorded for a television broadcast throughout North America.
Ms Hong is well-known to audiences throughout Europe as well as North America. She made her debut with the Vienna Staatsoper as Mimì in La Bohème, and her debut at the Opéra de Paris, Bastille, as Micaëla in a new production of Carmen. During the 1999-2000 season, Ms. Hong returned to the Opéra de Paris, Bastille, for performances of the Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, led by Armin Jordan. Audiences in Italy first heard Ms. Hong as Liù in Turandot with the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome. Her European operatic debut was in Nice as Mimì, a role she later sang in a new Pierre Audi production of La Bohème for the Netherlands Opera.
She has sung in various opera houses throughout America and Canada including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the San Francisco Opera, the Washington Opera, the Seattle Opera, the San Diego Opera and the Toronto Opera. At the Dallas Opera, she won the prestigious Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award for her performances as Zerlina and was immediately re-engaged for performances as Mimì. She has sung the role of Juliette at the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Washington Concert Opera and the Cincinnati Opera.
Her successful orchestral career includes performances of Brahms' s Requiem and Mahler's Fourth Symphony with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under André Previn. There was also a concert performance of La Bohème for her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Charles Dutoit; and a Toronto Symphony debut in a programme of Mozart arias.
Recently, Ms. Hong returned to the Mostly Mozart Festival as a featured soloist performing Mozart's Exultate, jubilate under the conductorship of Gerard Schwarz. She had previously made her debut at this Festival in Il Re pastore again under the baton of Gerard Schwarz. Ms Hong's New York Philharmonic debut was in Sinopoli's Lou Salomé Suite with the composer on the podium. She was the soprano soloist with the Vancouver Symphony at the opening of Expo 86 and sang with the Calgary Philharmonic under the sponsorship of the Fifteenth Winter Olympics Committee. She made her national television debut in a 1988 PBS Gala Concert.
In 1998, Hei-Kyung Hong was given a special invitation to give a recital at the White House. She was seen again in Washington for a duet concert commemorating the North American debut of the celebrated tenor Andrea Bocelli at the Kennedy Center's Spring Gala, and has often shared the stage with Mr. Bocelli since then.
In the summer of 1995, Ms. Hong travelled to Korea for a series of recitals and concerts celebrating the 50th anniversary of Korea's independence. These included a televised gala concert in the Seoul Olympic Stadium and two concerts of arias and duets with Plácido Domingo, recorded and released on compact disc, laser disc and video. Ms. Hong made her recording debut as Woglinde in Das Rheingold with James Levine as conductor. She has also recorded the role of the High Priestess in Aida under James Levine for CBS Sony.
Ms. Hong resides in New York with her husband and three children.