Korea National Opera head resigns amid ongoing outcry

Korea National Opera head resigns amid ongoing outcry
Han Ye-Jin.

Han Ye-jin, the newly appointed Korea National Opera director, offered to resign less than two months after her controversy-laden appointment for directorship caused an uproar in the opera community.

"As a result of the many frustrations and challenges that I have been facing, I have decided not to continue (as director)," Han, 44, wrote in her public resignation letter released to the press late Tuesday.

Han, who was appointed by the ministry late last year, has faced vehement opposition from fellow opera singers and producers who questioned her credentials.

Immediately following her surprise appointment, seven local opera-related organisations formed an emergency committee in opposition against her heading of the nation's top opera company. They argued the 44-year-old soprano, whom they had never heard of, didn't have the academic or professional background befitting the position.

A supposed error in Han's resume released by the ministry upon the appointment added fuel to the uproar, with her foes accusing her of exaggerating the timeline of her professional career in order to get the job. Han insisted it was just an error.

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports said Wednesday that it would proceed with the necessary procedures once Han tendered a formal resignation.

"(In search of her replacement), we will do better and take heed of the opinions of the local opera community," Vice Minister Park Min-kwon told reporters.

Han's departure comes amid a growing outcry in the local arts and culture scene that the incumbent administration's personnel choices so far have been based on one's political connections rather than his or her credentials.

As an example of this, critics point to the appointment last year of Johnny Yune, a former Korean-American comedian who joined President Park Geun-hye's campaign overseas for the 2012 presidential election, to the post of the Korea Tourism Organisation's auditor general.

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