The Tenor – Lirico Spinto

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The Tenor - Lirico Spinto
Hangul 더 테너 – 리리코 스핀토
Revised Romanization Deo Teneo – Ririko Seupinto
McCune–Reischauer Tŏ T'enŏ – Ririko Sŭp'int'o
Directed by Kim Sang-man
Produced by Kim Jeong-a
Written by Kim Sang-man
Choi Jong-hyeon
Kim Gwan-bin
Starring Yoo Ji-tae
Yusuke Iseya
Cha Ye-ryun
Music by Kim Jun-seong
Cinematography Ju Seong-rim
Edited by Shin Min-kyung
More In Group
Release date
Running time
114 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean

The Tenor-Lirico Spinto is a 2014 biopic chronicling the life of South Korean tenor Bae Jae-chul who performed in numerous European operas, but lost his voice at the peak of his career due to thyroid cancer. However, after enduring a long period of painful rehabilitation, with the help of his wife Yoon-hee as well as his longtime friend and Japanese producer Koji Sawada, Bae regained his singing ability and half his vocal range.[1] Bae was portrayed by Yoo Ji-tae.[2][3]

The film premiered at the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival, and was released in South Korea on December 31, 2014.[4]



The film's early working title was Miracle, but director Kim Sang-man changed it because he thought it disclosed the ending, while he hoped the unfamiliar term lirico spinto would arouse Korean viewers' curiosity. Lirico spinto, Italian for "pushed lyric", refers to a tenor voice that is versatile enough to sing in the style of a lirico, a singer with a softer voice and a spinto, one with dramatic voice; Bae could do both.[2][5] For his role, actor Yoo Ji-tae practiced singing everyday for more than a year and underwent further vocal training to acquire the technique to believably lip sync every opera song he sings in the film; he also took English lessons.[2][3]

Due to budget constraints, it took six years for the film to be completed.[3] The production crew filmed in Korea, Japan and Serbia for 18 months.[2][6][7]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2015 52nd Grand Bell Awards Best Music Kim Jun-seong Won
Best Sound Recording Gong Tae-won Nominated


  1. ^ Kim, Mi-ju (21 February 2009). "A voice cancer struck down sings once more". Korea Joongang Daily. Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d Baek, Byung-yeul (30 November 2014). "Singing miracle". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2015-01-17. 
  3. ^ a b c Jin, Eun-soo (26 December 2014). "The Tenor puts Yoo Ji-tae under pressure". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-12-27. 
  4. ^ Tae, Sang-joon (18 June 2014). "YOO Ji-tae Goes to ShangHai". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  5. ^ "KOFIC success at Tokyo market". Korean Film Biz Zone. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  6. ^ "Biopic on South Korean opera singer to film in Serbia". The Korea Herald. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-07. 
  7. ^ Suk, Monica (2 May 2012). "Yoo Ji-tae to play opera singer in biopic The Tenor-Lirico Spinto". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 

External links[edit]