“Love Actually”: The warm spring breeze and flowers put people in a good mood and perhaps evoke thoughts of spring romance. Fittingly, a love-themed art exhibition opened at Seoul Museum on March 14, a romantic day celebrated in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea when men give presents to women in return for what they received on Valentine’s Day. The museum has combined romantic movies and art under the theme of love at the new exhibition “Love Actually.” It presents six themes of love such as new love, pure love, everlasting love, passionate love and past love with movies that best represent each theme with matching artwork. The exhibition, which runs through June 16, also runs a free movie screening of the movies every Saturday. The movie schedule is available at www.seoulmuseum.org. For more information, call (02) 395-0100.
|“Candy Series c.03” by Koo Seong-youn (Seoul Museum)|
“Diplopia”: In Han Sung-pil’s photographs, two different worlds coexist in one place, leaving viewers looking hard to distinguish which images are real, and which are manipulated. His solo exhibition at Arario Gallery in Seoul presents around 20 pieces including photographs and video installations that constantly have viewers questioning whether what they are seeing is real. The exhibition includes his works made as part of his photographic “Faade Project,” which focuses on the image shown from the screen set up around old buildings under restoration. The exhibition runs through April 7. For more information, call (02) 541-5701.
“Seoul Nostalgia ― A retrospective photographic exhibition of Kim Ha-yong”: The Seoul Museum of History is holding an exhibition of noted photographer Kim Han-yong, who photographed ordinary Seoulites’ lives after the Korean War (1950-1953). Kim, who started his career as a photographer for a newspaper, later worked in the advertising industry. On view are 160 panoramic pictures of Seoul in the post-war period alongside 60 of the most famous advertisement pictures Kim took or collected. The curators replicated Kim’s photograph studio inside the hall, where people can see portraits of top celebrities of the time. The exhibition is held through May 5, from Tuesday through Sunday. For more information call (02) 724-0154.
“A Great Mission of the 20th-Century Comics”: Artsonje Center holds an exhibition with a focus on modern Korean comic books. The comic books are categorized into six periods of the 20th century reflecting the social and political changes of each period. The exhibition includes the first Korean cartoons of Lee Do-young, published in 1909, and popular cartoons in the 1970s such as “Robot Taekwon V” and “Dokgo Tak.” The first part of the exhibition focusing on the developing period of Korean comics from 1970 to 1979 closes on March 17. The second exhibition that sheds light on the early period from 1945 to 1961 will run from March 21 to April 7 at the Lounge of Artsonje Center in Jongno, Seoul. Opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (02) 733-8945.
“The Jeju National Museum”: The museum is holding a “Jeju Culture in the Airport” event at Jeju International Airport every Friday from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. at the departure terminal on the third floor. The event is designed to promote Jeju’s local culture through activities such as making one’s own calendar, pop-up cards or mobile phone charms about their stay in Jeju, making knots, and painting pottery and magnets. There is also an exhibition of old maps, paintings and other items. For more information, call (064) 720-8107.
“Gentle Disturbance”: The new exhibition at the Nam June Paik Art Center sheds light on Paik’s political and ideological side, as well as his attempts to bring about various social and political changes in the 1960s and 1970s. The exhibition features some of Paik’s artworks with political content such as the 1977 “Guadalcanal Requiem,” and the sensational nude performance “Opera Sextronique” created in 1967. Ten contemporary Korean and foreign artists pay tribute to Paik’s legacy of challenging the social order through their own socially conscious works. The “Gentle Disturbance” continues through June 30 on the first floor of the center and “Tireless Refrain” runs through June 16 on the second floor. For more information, call (031) 201-8500.Festivals
“Jinhae Gunhangje Festival”: Korea’s largest cherry blossom festival will be held from April 1-10 in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang Province. The annual festival, started in 1963, attracts millions of tourists every year. The highlight of the festival is the cherry blossom tree-lined streets. Various spots of varying lengths in Jinhae including Jangboksan Park, Anmin Street and the Naval Academy campus offer visitors a chance to appreciate the rows of beautiful cherry blossom trees. The festival also hosts events such as street concerts, a cherry blossom photo exhibition and a navy band parade. For more information, visit gunhang.changwon.go.kr.
|Cherry blossoms in full bloom (Yonhap News)|
“Uljin Snow Crab and Red Snow Crab Festival”: Snow crab, or “daegye,” is a specialty of Uljin, a coastal county in North Gyeongsang Province located some 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul. Festival programs include free tastings of snow crab dishes, ship tours and a cooking demonstration. The festival runs from March 28 to April 3 at Hupo Port, Uljin, North Gyeongsang Province. For more information, call (054) 789-6852 or visit ujcrab.uljin.go.kr.
“Gwangyang International Maehwa Festival”: Gwangyang, home to many Chinese apricot trees, called maehwa in Korean, hosts the annual maehwa festival in Seomjin village, South Jeolla Province. Visitors to the festival, taking place March 23-31, will get the chance to enjoy various music and dance performances while surrounded by maehwa trees. Along with the festival, the city government runs a city tour to Gwangyang and various hands-on experiences for tourists. For more information, visit www.gwangyang.go.kr/gymaehwa.Classical music
“Maestro Series”: The KBS Symphony Orchestra will perform Beethoven’s “Leonore Overture No.3” and piano concerto No. 4 in G Major; and Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30” at the Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall on March 21 at 8 p.m. The orchestra will be led by Iranian conductor Alexander Rahbari and feature pianist Boris Berman. Rahbari is famous for collaborations with Herbert von Karajan and for having led numerous internationally famous orchestras including the Czech Philharmonic, the Stockholm Philharmonic and the Berlin Symphony. Tickets are priced between 20,000 won and 60,000 won. Tickets are available at www.interpark.com; www.sacticket.co.kr and www.auction.co.kr. For more information call (02) 6099-7400.
“Israel in Egypt”: The Seoul Metropolitan Chorus is staging Handel’s oratorio “Israel in Egypt” at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts Chamber Hall on March 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. with G-Philharmonic Orchestra. The oratorio is based on the biblical story of Israelis’ exodus from Egypt. Handel did not hire a lyricist but instead edited the Bible and excerpts from the Psalms for the piece himself. For a better understanding of the Baroque music, the choir is holding a lecture on March 5 at 7:30 p.m. at its practice room at Sejong Center. Tickets are priced between 10,000 won and 30,000 won and booking is available at www.sejongpac.or.kr or www.interpark.com. For more information, call (02) 399-1777.
“Falstaff”: The Korea National Opera is staging Verdi’s comic opera, “Falstaff” at Seoul Arts Center Opera Hall on March 21-24 at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. on the weekend. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Henry IV,” the opera follows noblemen’s retaliation against old and chubby knight Falstaff’s pranks on villagers. Austrian director Helmut Lohner will lead the stage with Julian Kovatchevo conducting the Korean Symphony Orchestra. Noted baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore will play Falstaff alongside the double cast of Leo Han. Tickets are priced between 10,000 won and 150,000 won and tickets are available at www.interpark.com, www.yes24.com and www.sacticket.co.kr.
|Richard Yongjae O’Neill (Credia)|
“My Way”: Noted violist Richard Yongjae O’Neill is holding a recital, “My Way,” at the Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul on March 31 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The repertoire will be taken from seven of his solo albums. Among the program are Clarke’s Sonata for Viola and Piano, Schubert’s “Winterreise,” Offenbach’s “Les Larmes du Jacqueline,” Brugmller’s “Nocturne” and Vitali’s “Chaconne.” Seats are priced from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. Tickets are available at wwwlclubbalcony.co.kr. For more information call (02) 741-1523.Theater
“Festival Bo:m”: Festival Bo:m, an annual avant-garde visual and performing arts festival, is having its seventh edition this year. A total of 26 cutting-edge works from Korea and abroad will be featured at a number of venues in Seoul. One of the highlights is Italian theater director’s controversial work “On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God,” which deals with a devoted son who repeatedly clears up his ill father’s mess and washes him. Other notable works include French artist Jerome Bel and Zurich-based company Theater HORA’s “Disabled Theater,” which features actors with learning disabilities; and local artist Chung Hee-young’s film “Stranger,” in which the filmmaker revisits her childhood home and meets up with those living there today. The festival funs from March 22 to April 18. For more information, visit www.festivalbom.org
|A scene from Japanese artist Hirata Oriza’s “Sayonara,” one of the works featured at this year’s Festival Bo:m. (Festival Bo:m)|
“Those Days”: Late folk rock singer Kim Kwang-seok’s (1964-1996) music is being made into a musical. The piece, titled “Those Days,” features a total of 30 songs written by the late artist, while telling the story of the country’s president’s daughter, who goes missing on the day of the 20th anniversary of Korea-China diplomatic relations. It features popular musical and TV actors Yoo Jun-sang and Oh Man-seok, as well as actresses Kim Jeong-hwa and Bang Jin-ui. The show runs from April 4 to June 30 at Daehangno Musical Center in Hyehwa-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 55,000 won to 99,000 won. For more information, call (070) 7016-2470.
“Sweet, Come to Me Stealthily”: Korea’s first original musical, “Sweet, Come to Me Stealthily,” is being revived with newly arranged music this month. The show premiered at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in 1966, starring popular singer Patti Kim. The musical is based on Korean novel “Baebijang-jeon,” which takes place on Jeju Island during the late Joseon period (1392-1910). It tells the story of a courtesan who tries to seduce the island’s new minister. Musical actress Kim Sun-young, who starred as the beautiful yet unhappy empress in last year’s hit “Elisabeth,” stars as Aerang, the driven and ambitious courtesan, in the upcoming show. “Sweet, Come to Me Stealthily” runs from Feb. 19 to March 31 at the newly renovated CJ Towol Theater of Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul. Tickets range from 44,000 won to 99,000 won. For information, call 1588-0688.
“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.
“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 ones 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.
“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.Dance
“Heterotopia”: Dresden-based dance troupe The Forsythe Company is visiting Korea next month with their 2006 work “Heterotopia.” The dance company was founded by American dancer and choreographer William Forsythe in 2005 in Germany. The title of the piece is derived from French philosopher Michel Foucault’s essay “Des Espaces Autres,” which uses the term “Heterotopia” to describe places and “spaces of otherness,” which are “neither here nor there,” such as the moment one sees himself in the mirror. The dance is said to explore the theme of language and its translation, as well as the meaning of theater as a space. The show runs from April 10-14 at Seongnam Arts Center in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. All tickets cost 110,000 won. For more information, call (031) 783-8000.
|A scene from The Forsythe Company’s “Heterotopia” (Seongnam Arts Center)|
“Kim Joo Won Marguerite & Armand”: Freelance dancer Kim Joo-won, who used to dance for the Korean National Ballet as a principal, is holding her first show since leaving her position at the troupe last year. She is presenting “Marguerite & Armand,” a 1963 ballet danced to Franz Liszt’s piano sonata in B Minor. Choreographed by famed artist Fredrick Ashton, the piece was inspired by the 19th-century writer Alexandre Dumas’ “La Dame aux Camelias.” The show runs from April 5-7 at LG Art Center in southern Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.Pop music
“Shinhwa 15th Anniversary Concert”: The country’s longest-running boy band Shinhwa is celebrating 15 years together with a special anniversary concert. The six-member group first debuted in 1998 and they have since released more than 10 albums and made a name for themselves as one of the nation’s most successful music acts. The group came back to the music scene last year after a four-year hiatus with the album “Return.” “Shinhwa 15th Anniversary Concert” will be held in the Gymnastics Stadium at Seoul Olympic Park on March 16 and 17 at 6 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively. Tickets range from 66,000 won to 143,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“The Script Live in Seoul”: The Irish alternative rock band The Script first formed nearly 12 years ago, but didn’t hit international fame until they released their self-titled debut studio album in 2008. The break-out album went multi-platinum, selling more than half a million copies worldwide and included the hit singles “We Cry,” “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” and “Breakeven.” The group has since released two other studio albums, including their latest album titled “#3,” which was released last year. The Script will be performing its live show at the Uniqlo-AX Hall on March 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets for the show are 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Zedd in Seoul”: The young Russian-German DJ and music producer Zedd is a classically trained musician who began playing the piano at age 4 and the drums later on. In 2002, when Zedd was just 12 years old, he joined the heavy metal rock band trio Dioramic and began composing and producing music. However, in 2009, he discovered the world of house music after hearing the French electronic duo Justice. This led Zedd to the path of DJing and producing electronica music. He released his debut house album titled “Clarity” last year, making his mark as a budding DJ. Zedd will be spinning live in Seoul at Walkerhill Hotel’s Walkerhill Theater on April 6. Tickets for the show are 44,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
|One of the world’s best-selling artists Julio Iglesias to perform live in the Gymnastics Stadium at Seoul Olympic Park on April 9. (Julio Iglesias)|
“Julio Iglesias”: Legendary Latin sensation Julio Iglesias, who has 80 albums to his name and has sold more than 300 million copies worldwide, will perform in Seoul. In 1983 the Guinness Book of Records awarded him the only Diamond Disc it has ever issued for selling the most records in the most languages, 20 in total. Iglesias will be singing live at the Gymnastics Stadium at Seoul Olympic Park on April 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets for the show range from 90,000 won to 220,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.