South Korean coloratura soprano Sumi Jo has signed an exclusive recording contract with Universal Music Group.

The deal is for five new albums, with the first scheduled for release in mid-2008 on Deutsche Grammophon.

Originally signed to Universal labels Decca and Deutsche Grammophon, Jo moved to Erato in 1998, although she continued to collaborate with Universal Music Korea on special projects.

"I am delighted to be working again with Universal Music Group," Jo said in a statement issued today. "Deutsche Grammophon released the album 'Un Ballo in Maschera' 20 years ago, in which I participated. It helped me step onto the international stage and has been my source of inspiration ever since. Today I feel like I am back home again."

Described as having "a voice from above" by legendary conductor Herbert von Karajan, Jo has released 46 albums to date, both classical and crossover, and according to Universal has sold a total of over 4 million albums worldwide.

"Sumi Jo is Korea's greatest classical vocalist," said Universal Music Korea managing director Charlie Sungbong Kim in a statement. "It's an honor to have her back on our artist roster again."