“Romeo and Juliet”: The Korea National Ballet is opening this year’s season with Sergei Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet.” The troupe is presenting a version created by legendary French choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot of Monte Carlo Ballet Theater. Unlike the Kenneth MacMillan version showcased by Universal Ballet Company last year, the upcoming show presents simple and modern costumes and choreography. Its stage setting, created by French designer Ernest Pignon-Ernest, is also noted for its black and white, minimal design. “Romeo and Juliet” runs from Feb. 14 to 17 at Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 5,000 won to 80,000 won. For more information, visit www.kballet.org.
|A scene from KNB’s “Romeo and Juliet” (KNB)|
“Swan Lake”: Korea’s Universal Ballet Company is showcasing the Tchaikovsky classic “Swan Lake” as its season opener this year. The famous ballet tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse. She tries to break the curse with her love interest prince Siegfried, but fails when her man gets tricked. The troupe has been performing the 1895 Mariinsky Theater version of the piece since 1992, while developing its own forte in the dancing of its corps de ballet. The show runs from March 8 to 12 at Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. For more information, visit www.universalballet.com
“The 50th Anniversary of Yook Wansoon Modern Dance Festival”: In celebration of the 50th anniversary of modern dancer and scholar Yook Wan-soon, a special dance festival will be held in Seoul. Born in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, Yook majored in physical education at Ewha Womans University and studied contemporary dance at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After retuning to Seoul, she had her first solo performance at the National Theater of Korea, the first American-style contemporary dance performance ever showcased in the country. Yook continued giving performances in Seoul and the U.S. until 1972; she turned to academia and choreography thereafter. The upcoming festival consists of performances by the Korea National Ballet, Seoul Ballet Theater, the National Dance Company of Korea, and Seoul Performing Arts Company, as well as academic forums about modern dance and its development in Korea. The festival runs from Dec. 25 to Jan 27. at different venues in Seoul, including Arko Arts Theater and Myeongdong Theater. For more information, call (02) 325-5702.Theater
“Rebecca”: German-language musical “Rebecca,” based on Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel of the same title, is being staged as a Korean adaptation in Seoul this month. It is written by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay, who also wrote the musicals “Elisabeth” and “Mozart!” ― both of which enjoyed much popularity in Korea last year. The original novel was also made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940 as the director’s first American project. The gothic tale is about an aristocratic widower and his memory of his dead wife, which keeps haunting him and his new bride. “Rebecca” opens at LG Arts Center in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul, on Jan. 12. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 130, 000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
|Poster of upcoming musical “Rebecca” (EMK Musical Company)|
“Miss Julie”: Swedish playwright August Strindberg’s 1888 naturalistic play “Miss Julie” is being staged as a musical by a Korea’s Street Theater Troupe. The show takes place in the summer of 1874, and tells the story of Miss Julie, a young noble woman, who secretly attends a party hosted by her servants. She is tired of the strict social mores of her noble family and flirts with one of the servants named Jean. Eventually, she is asked to run away with him. The show runs from Dec. 20 to Jan. 6 at the Guerilla Theater in Daehangno, Seoul. Ticket prices range from 15,000 won to 30,000 won. For more information, call (02) 763-1268.
“Assassins”: Film and theater actor Hwang Jeong-min (“Happiness,” “Dancing Queen”) is making his debut as a musical director this month. The show is the Korean adaptation of American musical “Assassins.” The five-time Tony Award winner features the real-life men and women who attempted to assassinate U.S. presidents. The figures include John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, and Sara Jane Moore, who attempted to assassinate President Ford. Hwang stars as Charles Guiteau, President James Garfield’s assassin, in his own show. “Assassins” runs from Nov. 20 to Feb. 3 of next year at Doosan Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 80,000 won. For more information, call (02) 744-4033.
“Aida”: Korea’s Seensee Company once again presents the Korean adaptation of Elton John and Tim Rice’s musical “Aida.” The show was first staged in Seoul in 2005, and its second run was held in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, in 2010. Based on Giuseppe Verdi’s Italian-language opera of the same title, the show tells the story of Aida, Nubia’s princess who is taken into slavery in Egypt. She soon gets attention from Radames, captain of the Egyptian army, who is expected to ascend to the throne after the Pharaoh’s death. For the 2005 run, idol star-turned-musical actress Ok Ju-hyun starred as the beautiful and captivating Aida. This year, actress Cha Ji-yeon and pop singer Sonya are sharing the lead role. “Aida” runs from Dec. 2 to April 28, 2013, at D-Cube Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
“Thursday Romance”: Veteran actor and actress Jo Jae-hyun and Bae Jong-ok, who have mostly worked in TV and film, are co-starring in a theater production this winter. The play, titled “Thursday Romance,” tells the story of ex-lovers in their 50s who remain friends for many years. They’ve been through almost everything together as friends, except marriage and kids. In the show, Bae plays Yeon-ok, a retired journalist who used to write about international issues and conflicts, while actor Jo plays Jeong-min, a respected scholar of history. The plot of the play develops as Jeong-min one day suggests he and Yeon-ok have “weekly discussion sessions” every Thursday, talking about different themes each week; the themes include courage, history, death, the act of writing, and memories. As the two talk about the given themes each week, they rediscover feelings for each other, as well as their misunderstandings and mistakes in the past. “Thursday Romance” runs until Feb. 11 at Jayu Theater of Seoul Arts Center. Tickets range from 35,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300.
“Phantom of the Opera”: Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the world’s beloved musical “Phantom of the Opera” tells the story of the beautiful soprano Christine and a mysterious, disfigured musical genius who becomes obsessed with her. Australian actress Claire Lyon plays Christine, while veteran Broadway actor Brad Little performs as the Phantom. The show was first staged in Korea in 2001, and its last Korean run was in 2010 in Daegu. The show is currently on its run at Blue Square’s Samsung Electronics Hall in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 160,000 won. For more information, visit www.phantomoftheopera.co.kr or call 1577-3363.Festivals
“Gojedo International Penguin Swimming Festival”: The winter swimming festival will host a swimming contest, a chance to catch flatfish and a treasure hunt on the Deokpo Beach, Goje, in South Gyeongsang Province on Jan. 12. Visitors will also enjoy special performances by a Korean traditional percussion band and take part in photo contests and an exhibition. Registration runs until Jan. 10 for a fee of 10,000 won. For more information, call (055)-639-6864 or visit http://geojedopenguin.co.kr.
|Participants run into the water at a previous Gojedo International Penguin Swimming Festival. (Yonhap News)|
“Mt. Taebaek Snow Festival”: Taebaek City Government holds the 20th snow festival from Jan. 25 - Feb.3 that will display ice sculptures and light decorations throughout the city. The festival will feature fun activities for family members to enjoy such as snowball fights, ice sliding and snow-themed crafts. More programs are planned at the Mt. Taebaek National Park, including an ice sculpture exhibition, a winter photo exhibition and a snow light show. For more information, visit http://festival.taebaek.go.kr.
“Pocheon Dongjangkun Festival”: The annual winter festival in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, hosts various family winter activities such as trout ice fishing, sledding and kite flying in Baekun Valley. The festival will exhibit ice sculptures and hold a light show that will make beautiful reflections on the sculptures. Traditional Korean snacks such as baked potatoes and sweet potatoes with red bean soup will be served to visitors. The festival runs from Dec. 29-Jan. 27. For more information, call (031) 535-7242, or visit www.dongjangkun.co.kr.
“PyeongChang Trout Festival”: Pyeongchang, host city of the 2018 Winter Olympics, is also famous for the annual traditional ice fishing festival, which takes place in Jinbu-myeon from Dec. 22-Feb. 3, 2013. The festival offers a variety of programs including ice fishing for trout, catching trout with bare hands, and many winter sports activities such as sledding and skating. Visitors can also try unique vehicles such as ice bicycles and sleigh trains. Fishing costs 13,000 won; fishing at tents 20,000 won; sled, ice bike and skates rentals 6,000 won. For more information, visit festival700.or.kr or call (033) 336-4000.Exhibitions
“Luna and Her Thousand Reflections”: The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea holds a retrospective of the veteran Korean artist Lim Choong-sup at the Gwacheon Museum until Feb. 24. Lim, a pioneer of installation art in the Korean art world presents a total of 70 artworks at the Gwancheon Museum including the artist’s major works and new installation works. It offers a great opportunity for visitors to see how the first generation artist used various methods to create installations that have shaped the course of experimental art in the country.
|“Wol In Cheon Ji 2012” by Lim Choong-sup (NMOCA)|
“Transcending Vision: American Impressionism 1870-1940”: A large collection of American Impressionist paintings are on exhibit for the first time in Korea. The exhibition presents 130 paintings that highlight unique characteristics of American Impressionism, the mainstream style in American art from the late 19th century to the beginning of World War II. The exhibition of 130 artworks by 90 artists on loan from Bank of America also marks the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Korea and the U.S. The exhibition continues through March 29 at Seoul Arts Center. Tickets are 12,000 won for adults, 8,000 won for teenagers, 5,000 won for elementary school students and 4,000 won for pre-school children. For more information, call (02) 501-6976.
“Pine Tree: Looking Ahead 1,000 Years”: The Seoul Museum presents 20 ink-and-brush paintings of pine trees by Korean Oriental painter Moon Bong-sun. Pine trees represent some of the key Confucian values that have been cherished by Koreans for centuries such as dignity, integrity and fidelity. Moon portrays the significance of pine trees in the Korean mentality through subtle nuances of ink and brush strokes. Titled with the old expression “Dokyacheongcheong” that describes an integrity that resists outside influences, a straight, solid pine tree drawn with bold and quick brush strokes becomes a symbol of Confucian values. The exhibition “Pine Tree: Looking Ahead 1,000 Years” continues through Feb. 17, 2013, at Seoul Museum in Buam-dong, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 395-0238.
“Last Princess Deokhye”: A special exhibition at the National Palace Museum of Korea, “Last Princess Deokhye,” running through Jan. 27, highlights the tragic life of the last princess of Joseon (1392-1910) and looks into the lifestyles of upper-class women of that time. Some 108 items including Deokhye’s clothes and other belongings are displayed for the first time ― 63 of them are on loan from the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum in Japan and 16 from Kyushu National Museum, also in Japan, while others were collected from different places in Korea. The exhibition organizers expect that through Deokhye’s keepsakes, visitors will also be able to learn the lifestyle of infants, youths and young women in the early 20th century. Admission is free of charge. The exhibition is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is closed every Monday. For more information, call (02) 3701-7641.
“Wedding Rituals”: The National Folk Museum is holding an exhibition about the wedding customs of five Asian countries ― Korea, China, Japan, Nepal and Vietnam ― at its special exhibition hall through Feb. 11, 2013. A total of 863 wedding-related items collected from 11 tribes in China, eight in Nepal and seven in Vietnam as well as Korea and Japan will be displayed alongside explanations of different cultural rituals in the preparation, execution and celebration of the wedding. The exhibited items include proposal letters, invitations to the wedding, restorations of bridal chambers, wedding dresses, wedding photos and others. The exhibition is free of charge. The museum is closed on Tuesdays. For more information, call (02) 3704-3114.Classic music
“Great Series”: The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra is kicking off its Great Series marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner on Jan. 25 at the Seoul Arts Center led by Chung Myung-whun. The program will feature “Tannhauser,” “Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde” and an orchestral excerpt from “Ring.” Tickets are priced from 10,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information call 1588-1210.
|Great Series (SPO)|
“New Year Gala Concert”: Maestro Zubin Mehta will lead the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in a New Year Gala Concert on Jan. 5-6 at the Seoul Arts Center. On Jan. 5, the internationally acclaimed orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Ouverture Leonore 3 in C Major Op. 72b, Korsakov’s Spanish Capriccio Op. 34, a Strauss waltz and others. On the second day, a Brahms piece will be performed in place of the Strauss waltz. Mehta rose to international fame in 1954 when he won the Liverpool International Conducting Competition and led the Vienna, Berlin and Israel philharmonic orchestras. Mehta is an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera; Bavarian State Opera and Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien and is an honorary conductor of the philharmonic orchestras of Vienna, Munich, Los Angeles, Bavarian State. Ticket prices range from 50,000 won to 380,000 won. Tickets are available at www.sacticket.co.kr and www.interpark.com. For more information visit www.sensmanagment.com
“Bregenzer Festival in Megabox”: Cinema network Megabox is screening Verdi’s “Aida” staged at the “Bregenzer Festival” at four of its branches ― COEX, Central, Mokdong and KINTEX. The Bregenzer Festival is a performing arts festival which is held every July and August in Bregenz, Austria, and its floating stage with 7,000 seats is the location of opera or musical performances on the shores of Lake Constance. Aida, staged in 2009 and 2010, was one of the most popular performances of all time, drawing more than 400,000 people. The film came in a digital cinema package providing high-resolution images with Korean subtitles. Tickets are priced between 25,000 won and 30,000 won. For more information call 1544-0070 or visit www.megabox.co.kr.
“Chicago Symphony Orchestra”: The 120-year-old Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Riccardo Muti will perform in Korea for the first time on Feb 6-7 at the Seoul Arts Center. The program includes Stravinsky’s Divertimento from “The Fairy Kiss,” Brahms’ Symphony No. 2, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 “Italian.” The orchestra was named the top U.S. orchestra by the Gramophone magazine and Muti has been at the helm of the orchestra since 2010. Tickets are priced from 70,000 won to 360,000 won. Tickets are available at ticket.interpark.com, www.clubbalcony.com and www.sacticket.co.kr. For more information, visit www.superseries.kr or follow the Twitter account, @hyundaicard.Pop music
“Soul Play: Brown Eyed Soul”: Soul and R&B group Brown Eyed Soul is holding its third concert titled “Soul Play.” The four-member group came back after a two-year break with the release of its third album and will be touring in seven cities in Korea including Seoul from Feb. 15-16 at the Olympic Park Gymnastics Stadium starting at 8 p.m. on the first day and 6 p.m. on the second day. Tickets range from 88,000 won to 132,000 won. For more information, call (02) 515-5880 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Baek Z-young Live Tour 2013”: Female pop and ballad singer Baek Ji-young will meet the fans and present various performances at her concert, “Baek Z-young Live Tour 2013.” The 36-year-old singer debuted in 1999 and rose to stardom with “Dash.” In 2011, Baek won the Best Female Solo Artist Award from the 13th Mnet Asian Music Awards. The upcoming concert will also include the special “Sexynology” stage, which will reveal Baek’s enticing voice and dance. The concert will be held twice on Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m at the Jamsil Indoor Gymnasium. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Adam Lambert Live in Seoul”: The theatrical American Idol star Adam Lambert will be performing for the first time in Korea. Lambert was the runner-up on the eighth season of the audition program and later released his debut album in 2009 titled “For Your Entertainment.” He has been nominated for a Grammy Award for the Best Male Vocal Performance and in March 2012, released his second studio album, “Tresspassing,” which reached the No. 1 spot on the U.S. Billboard Top 200 chart. The solo concert will be held on Feb. 17 at the Uniqlo AX Stadium at 7 p.m. Tickets will go on sale in January with tickets costing 119,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
|Members of the indie duo 10cm, Kwon Jung-yeol (left) and Yoon Cheol-jong (right). (10cm)|
“10cm: Fine Thank You and You?”: The acoustic indie duo band 10 cm will be putting on a solo concert promoting their recently released second album, “Fine Thank You and You?” The duo debuted in 2010 with the title track “Good Night,” and has made a name for themselves thanks to the unique acoustic sounds of the band’s vocals and percussion. 10 cm won “This Year’s Discovery Award” at the 2010 Mnet Asian Music Awards and the “Best Pop Single Award” at the Korean Music Awards a year later. The “Fine Thank You and You?” performance will be held in the Gymnastics Stadium at the Seoul Olympic Park on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. Tickets range from 55,000 won to 77,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.