“Shear Madness”: The Korean adaptation of the popular German play “Shear Madness” is back for its second run in Seoul. The play is one of the longest-running plays in the world, premiering back in 1963. The play takes place in a hair salon, which is owned by a gay hairdresser named George. After George and his flirty assistant Suji welcome two customers, one a wealthy housewife and the other an antique dealer, the landlady of the shop is murdered upstairs. The audience is asked to participate in the process of solving the crime, trying to figure out who is the murderer among the four characters in the salon. “Shear Madness” is currently on an open run at Daehangno Culture Space Feeling 2 in Hyehwa-dong, Seoul. All tickets cost 30,000 won. For more information, call (02) 744-4334.
|A scene from “Shear Madness” (Musical Heaven)|
“The Goddess is Watching”: One of the most anticipated homegrown musicals of the year, “The Goddess is Watching” is currently on its first run in Seoul. The show takes place on a remote island during the Korean War. It tells the story of six different soldiers, some belonging to the North Korean army, who end up living together on the uninhabited island after a shipwreck. The plot develops as a soldier named Soon-ho, the only member of the group who knows how to fix the ship, suffers from severe PTSD after witnessing his brother’s death in a battle. Another member of the group named Young-beom creates a story of a beautiful goddess to console Soon-ho and ease his fragile condition. The show runs until March 10 at Chungmu Art Hall in central Seoul. For tickets and information, call (02) 744-7090.
“A Performance with a Long Title”: A theatrical play is being performed in Seoul’s Daehangno district to support overseas Koreans. Titled “A Performance with a Long Title,” the play tells the story of four individuals who discover hope by revisiting their childhood dreams. Instead of purchasing tickets in advance, viewers can pay after the performance. There is no fixed price; you can pay as much as you like. The theater troupe Changjakjipdan 36.5 is donating part of the profits to an NGO that is dedicated to supporting ethnic Koreans living in foreign countries. The show runs until Feb. 17 at Digital Seoul Culture Arts University’s Daehangno Theater in Hyehwa-dong, Seoul. For more information, call (010) 2182-3650.
“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” runs at LG Arts Center in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 130, 000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
“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, a Nubian 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.Dance
“Special Ballet Concert”: Local ballet troupe Leewonkook Ballet Company is staging a special gala performance on Saturday. The program consists of scenes from Boris Asafyev’s “Flames of Paris,” Aram Khachaturian’s “Spartacus,” Riccardo Drigo’s “The Talisman” and Joseph Mazilier and Paul Foucher’s “Paguita.” The show starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Nowon Art Center in northern Seoul. All tickets cost 10,000 won. For more information call (02) 951-3355 or visit www.nowonart.kr.
|Official poster of Leewonkook Ballet Company’s gala show (Nowon Art Center)|
“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.
“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 returning 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.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 in Seoul on 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.
|R&B soul group Brown Eyed Soul (Santamusic)|
“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 dancing. 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, “Trespassing,” 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.
“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.Classical music
“Christian Leotta Piano Recital”: Italian pianist Christian Leotta is holding a recital on Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Ilshin Hall in Hannam-dong, central Seoul. “Le Tre Maniere di Ludwig van Beethoven e l’Arte della Forma Sonata” will feature Beethoven sonatas “Hammerklavier,” “Leichte Sonate” and Sonata Op. 14, No. 2. The virtuoso is the youngest pianist ever since Daniel Barenboim to undertake a recital series encompassing the entire corpus of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas. He has performed 13 cycles around the world including in Madrid, Mexico City, Montreal, Lima, Vancouver, Venice, Quebec City and Rio de Janeiro. The event is hosted by the Italian Cultural Institute and admission is free of charge. To reserve seats, call (02) 796-0634 or email the institute at email@example.com.
|Pianist Christian Leotta (Italian Cultural Institute)|
“Kumho Art Hall Rising Stars”: Kumho Art Hall is featuring six up-and-coming Korean artists in the months of January and February. On Jan. 31 pianist Sohn Jeung-beum, a student of the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, will play Chopin, Scarlatti and Liszt. On Feb. 7, violist Shim Hyo-bi will perform Bach and Paganini. The young artist graduated from Curtis Institute of Music and toured around the U.S. as part of “Curtis on Tour.” On Feb. 14, recorder player Yeom Eun-cho, a protg of Conrad Steinman, will perform pieces of her own as well as Bach. On Feb. 21, clarinetist Kim Han will play Brahms, Schumann and Debussy. On Feb. 28, flutist Kim Se-hyun, a student of the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, will present pieces of Bach and Reinecke. Tickets are priced at 30,000 won but those who purchase them a month in advance will receive a 10,000 won discount. For reservations, call (02) 6303-1977 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Bernard Haitink and London Symphony Orchestra”: Bernard Haitink will lead the London Symphony Orchestra featuring Mozart, Beethoven, Bruckner and others at Seoul Arts Center from Feb. 28 -March 1. This will be Haitink’s first visit to Korea in 36 years. Portuguese pianist Maria Joao Pires specializing in Mozart will join the orchestra, performing Mozart and Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2. Tickets are priced between 70,000 won and 350,000 won. For more information, call (02) 599-5743.Exhibitions
“Seoul Yeonga”: Artist Sa Suk-won presents paintings based on his memories of Seoul at the exhibition at Lotte Gallery in Sogong-dong. Sa portrayed streets and alleys of the city with faces on canvas, and published the details in a newspaper series. The detailed narratives evoke similar memories of his generation. His portrayal of the city is now published in a book with the same title as the exhibition. The exhibition continues through Jan. 28 at Lotte Gallery, located on the 12th to 14th floors of Lotte Department Store in Sogong-dong. For more information, call (02) 726-4456.
“Maden Pictures 13”: Arario Gallery Cheongdam presents a photography and video exhibition as its first show of the year. Titled “Maden Pictures 13,” the exhibition shows the artwork of five young artists who use photography as a medium to convey their social and personal voices and make the viewers think about their intentions beyond the constructed images. The scenes in the photographs exhibit their own fascinating story. The exhibition runs from Jan. 15 ― March 3 at Arario Gallery Cheongdam, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 541-5701.
“Refined and Tasteful Lives of the Joseon Dynasty”: Erotic paintings by two great masters of Korean painting and paintings depicting the daily lives of people in the Joseon era will go on display from Jan. 15 to Feb. 24 at Gallery Hyundai in Jongno, Seoul. The exhibition features two complete collections of erotic paintings made by prominent painters in Korean history, Shin Yun-bok and Kim Hong-do, as well as genre paintings that are being shown to the public for the first time. The original Joseon erotic paintings, called “chunhwa” (literally meaning spring paintings), have not been shown to the public until recently, as owners are usually unknown and hesitate to disclose ownership. Admission is 5,000 won for adults and 3,000 won for children and teenagers. The second-floor exhibition featuring the erotic paintings are open to those age 19 and over. For more information, call (02) 2287-3591.
“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.
|Animal-headed rhyton(National Museum of Korea)|
“History in Glass: 3,000 Years of Glassware from the Mediterranean and West Asia”: The National Museum of Korea’s exhibition highlights the early phases of glass-making and the changing trends and patterns in its manufacture through a total of 375 pieces owned by the Hirayama Ikuo Silk Road Museum in Japan. It follows the trends of glass development and its impact on ordinary lives as well as foreign countries including Korea. The exhibition is held at the special gallery until Feb. 17, open from Tuesday to Sunday. The museum is open until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. Docent programs are available at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day. Admission is free of charge. For more information, call (02) 2077-9000 or visit www.museum.go.kr.Festivals
“Daegwallyeong Snow Festival”: The snow festival offers lots to do, including making snowmen, spinning tops and various traditional winter games, as well as exhibitions of snow and ice sculptures on the snow-covered hills of Daegwallyeong in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province, a famous winter retreat. The festival continues through Feb. 5 in Daegwalleyong. For more information, call (033) 336-6112 or visit www.snowfestival.net.
|Visitors at a previous Daegwallyeong Snow Festival (Pyeongchang County Office)|
“Mt. Taebaek Snow Festival”: Taebaek City holds the 20th snow festival from Jan. 25 to Feb. 3 that will display ice sculptures and light decorations throughout the city. The festival will feature fun activities for families to enjoy, such as snowball fights, ice skating and snow-themed crafts. More programs are planned at Taebaeksan Provincial Park, including an ice sculpture exhibition, a winter photo exhibition and a snow light show. For more information, visit 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 sport activities such as sledding and skating. Visitors can also try out unique vehicles such as ice bicycles and sleigh trains. Fishing costs 13,000 won; fishing at tents 20,000 won; and sled, ice bike and skate rentals 6,000 won. For more information, call (033) 336-4000 or visit festival700.or.kr.