“Manga Realities: Exploring the Art of Japanese Comics Today”: Artsonje Center, a private art museum which usually presents contemporary conceptual art, has opened its space for a show on Japanese comics. The exhibition attempts a 3-D realization of the comics by adding whimsical props and installations that look like they just popped out of the comic books. It makes the case for why and how manga should be viewed as art. The exhibition runs until Sunday at Artsonje Center in Hwa-dong, central Seoul. Tickets are 1,500 won for students and 3,000 won for adults. For more information, call (02) 733-8945 or visit www.artsonje.org/asc.
“World Stars in Contemporary Art”: If you want to see the big picture in terms of contemporary art, this exhibition would be a good choice. While blockbuster exhibitions usually focus on a single artist or group, the exhibition showcases 200 works by 185 world-renowned artists ― from pop art creator Andy Warhol to leader of the younger generation Damien Hirst ― offering an overview of contemporary art. The exhibits are works exclusively designed for Parkett, an acclaimed Zurich-based art magazine. The exhibition runs through Feb. 25 at Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 4,000 won to 8,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300 or visit www.sacticket.co.kr.
“Delpire & Cie”: Though the name might not immediately ring any bells like other Magnum members, Robert Delpire is a powerful figure without whom photographic history cannot be properly discussed. The 82-year-old photographer, publisher and director of exhibitions, films and campaigns has a lot of clout over not only his fellow photographers but also in other cultural realms. The exhibition displays 185 photos by 52 significant photographers who were either friends of Delpire or those who became known in the field with help from Delpire, 150 photobooks and four movies produced by Delpire. The exhibition runs through Feb. 27 at Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 5,000 won to 10,000 won. For more information, call (02) 710-0762 or visit www.delpirekorea.co.kr.
“Chang Ucchin Retrospective Exhibition”: Chang Ucchin was one of the most renowned modern artists in Korea. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of his death, Gallery Hyundai and Chang Ucchin Foundation are holding the artist’s large-scale retrospective exhibition. It covers the artists’ whole career from the 1940s to 1990. Chang created simple paintings, reminiscent of those by little children, but seems to have known exactly which buttons to push to move viewers ― crack them up, send them lost in childhood reminiscence or even make them burst into tears. The exhibition runs until Feb. 27 at Gallery Hyundai in Sagan-dong, central Seoul. Tickets are 2,000 won for teenagers and 3,000 for adults. The gallery is closed Mondays. For more information, call (02) 2287-3500 or visit www.galleryhyundai.com.
“The Half Moon” by Chang Ucchin whose exhibition runs through Feb. 27 at Gallery Hyundai in Sagandong, central Seoul. (Gallery Hyundai)
“Passion and Solitude: Picasso and Modern Art”: More than 120 paintings, drawings and sculptures by 39 European artists from the late 19th and early 20th centuries are on display. The exhibits were brought to Asia for the first time from the Albertina in Vienna. Wandering around four exhibition rooms packed with colorful and passionate works, visitors often come across familiar paintings and names as the artist list includes well-known masters like Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Marc Chagall and Amedeo Modigliani. The exhibition runs through March 1 at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Deoksugung, in central Seoul. Tickets are 3,000 won for children, 7,000 won for teenagers and 9,000 won for adults. For details, call (02) 752-3002 or visit www.moca.go.kr.
“Special Exhibition of Chateau de Versailles”: A rare opportunity to see some of The Palace of Versailles’ precious treasures in Seoul. The exhibition features 84 works of art and relics which span 200 years of the palace’s history from the 17th century to the late 18th century, including portraits of the royal family and Marie-Antoinette’s golden tableware. The portraits of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI, which are on display as well, are France’s national treasures. The exhibition runs through March 6 at Hangaram Art Museum at Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 5,000 won to 13,000 won. For more information, call (02) 325-1077 or visit www.versailles2010.co.kr.
“An Inconvenient Truth”: Too much honesty can make people uncomfortable. But artist Ahn Chang-hong is not afraid of putting people at unease. In fact, he seems to enjoy revealing the ultimate truth by showing humans in their naked state, sometimes adding grotesque details such as bugs and rats to the backdrop. His solo exhibition is packed with large-scale nude paintings which are shocking in the realistic way they are depicted and because of their use of regular people rather than professional models. The exhibition runs through March 6 at Gana Art Center in Pyeongchang-dong, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 3217-1093 or visit www.ganaart.com.
“Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams”: The exhibition features home appliances designed by the legendary industrial designer Rams ― well-known for his influence on Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of Industrial Design at Apple. All 400 exhibits appear timeless and chic, fitting in anywhere, anytime. Rams created many best-selling designs throughout his 40-year-career at Braun and Vitsoe. The 77-year-old retired from Braun in 1997 and received the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2007 for achievements in the area of design. The exhibition runs through March 20 at Daelim Contemporary Art Museum in Tongui-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 1,000 won to 5,000 won. For more information, call (02) 720-0667 or visit www.daelimmuseum.org.
“Happy Mom Concert”: Conductor Gum Nan-se and the Emotion Quartet will kick off the four-time concert series “Happy Mom Concert” on Feb. 22 at the Dream Forest Arts Center’s Concert Hall in northern Seoul, to help pregnant women and their unborn babies develop emotional intelligence together. Tickets are 5,000 won. The program includes Elgar’s “Salut d’Amour,” “Dvorak’s “Humoresque,” and Ennio Morricone’s “Gabriel’s oboe.” The remaining three concerts will be held on May 31, Aug. 30 and Nov. 29. For more information, call (02) 2289-5401~8.
“休 (Hu)man Concert”: The Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra, led by conductor Kim Dae-jin, is to hold a concert series from Feb. 23 at the Onnuri Arts Hall, to help the audience “get a rest” with music. The title has been coined from the Chinese letter “休” (to rest) and “Human.” The February program will feature march songs with the collaboration of oboist Lee Yoon-jeong. The remaining concerts will be held once in each even month. For more information, visit www.artsuwon.or.kr.
“El Sistema II”: The Caracas Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and conductor Christian Vasquez are to stage Saint Saens Symphony No. 3 and Shostakovich Symphony No. 10 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall on March 27. El Sistema refers to a music education program in Venezuela dedicated to teaching juvenile delinquents and children from low-income households to play musical instruments. Its director and founder Jose Antonio Abreu received the 10th Seoul Peace Prize last year. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. For details, call 1577-5266.
“Andras Schiff Piano Recital”: Andras Schiff, a Hungarian-born British classical pianist, will hold his recital on Feb. 23 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall to perform Beethoven Sonata No. 30, 31 and 32 without an intermission. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call (02) 541-3183.
Pianist Andras Schiff is to hold a recital on Feb. 23 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall. (Mast Media)
“Tenor Francisco Araiza Opera Concert”: Mexican operatic tenor Francisco Araiza is to have his first recital in Korea on Feb. 26 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall. Considered as one the best interpreters in the lyric repertory, Araiza will sing Mozart’s “Idomeneo,” Weber’s “Freischutz,” Puccini’s “Turandot” aria “Nessun dorma” and more. Tickets range from 77,000 won to 165,000 won. For details, call (02) 6377-1250.
“Maksim Mrvica Korea Tour”: Young Croatian pianist Maksim Mrvica is to have his first concert in Korea at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall on March 6, in Changwon on March 4, in Daegu on March 5, and in Daejeon on March 8. The program includes Tchaikovsky’s “Dumka,” Skrjavin’s “Etude Patetique” and “Flight of the Bumblebee.” Tickets range from 44,000 won to 110,000 won in Seoul and to 99,000 won in other cities. For details, call (02) 6377-1250.
“Seoul Philharmonic Masterpiece Series I”: The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra is to hold its first 2011 Masterpiece Series concert with Finnish conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall on Feb. 24. While the Masterpiece concert series focuses on the beauty of orchestral music, the Saraste-led concert’s program includes Sibelius “Pohjola’s Daughter,” Prokofiev “Romeo & Juliet” and Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 60,000 won. For details, call 1588-1210.
“Fourplay 20th Anniversary Live in Seoul”: Contemporary jazz quartet Fourplay, consisting of keyboardist Bob James, bassist Nathan East, guitarist Chuck Loeb and drummer Harvey Mason, will have their 20th anniversary concert on March 2 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall. The program includes songs from their latest album “Let’s Touch the Sky.” Tickets range from 55,000 won to 132,000 won. For details, call (02) 941-1150.
“Eric Clapton World Tour 2011”: Legendary British guitarist and singer/songwriter Eric Clapton is set to stage his third concert in Korea at the Olympic Park Gymnastics Gymnasium (Jamsil Arena) on Feb. 20. The blues-rock pioneer will be gracing the stage in Seoul as part of his on-going World Tour in support of his 19th studio album “Clapton.” Tickets range from 180,000 won to 77,000 won. For more information, call Interpark (02) 1544-1555 or visit http://ticket.interpark.com.
“Iron Maiden Live in Seoul”: Rock band Iron Maiden are to make their first ever visit to Korea. The concert will take place at the Olympic Gymnasium No. 1 on March 10, as part of The Final Frontier World Tour. The legendary rockers will be arriving in their specially customized Boeing 757 airliner Ed Force One which, will be transporting the band, crew and their entire 10 ton stage production 50,000 miles around the globe and piloted by lead singer Bruce Dickinson. For more information, visit www.ticket.interpark.com or call (02) 1544-1555.
“Kiss of the Spider Woman”: Based on Argentine writer Manuel Puig’s script “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” director Lee Gi-na and four male actors are to present a uniquely Korean drama of a male couple locked in a prison cell. Politically revolutionary Valentin and gay Molina, who has been convicted for having sex with a minor, have nerve-breaking arguments but fall in love after all. Actor Jung Sung-hwa and Park Eun-tae have been cast as Molina. The drama will run through April 24 at the Daehangno Art One Theater. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 50,000 won. For details, call (02) 764-8760.
“University of Laughs”: The hit play from last year by theater venture group Yeongeukyeoljeon is to run at COEX Arts Hall in Seoul from March 11 as an open run. Based on the popular Japanese novel by Koki Mitani, the piece depicts a seven-day confrontation between an inspector trying to ban comic plays and a scriptwriter who values humor above all in his works, and the friendship that later develops between the two. Tickets run from 20,000 to 40,000 won. For details, call (02) 766-6007.
“Mom”: This 2009 original stage drama starring veteran television actress Kang Bu-ja and Chun Mi-sun as a mother and daughter coming to grips with years of estrangement has moved many of its audience ― which has topped 130,000 ― to tears. The two take a three-day trip to a rural province where they try to make amends for the past. The show is to run in Changwon on Feb. 19-20 and in Jinju on Feb. 26-27. For more information on tickets, call Ticketpark on (02) 1544-1555 or (02) 333-7203.
“Art”: When an art lover buys what is in essence a pure white painting for a fortune, his best friend goes ballistic and a third friend gets stuck in the middle. Questions about the meaning of strange modern art and strange modern friendships ― and how they are sometimes not all that different ― fly thick in the limelight. This local adaptation will run until March 31 2011 at Daehagno Art Madang in Seoul. For details call Aga Theater Company (02)764-8760 or Interpark (02) 1544-1555.
“DREAM”: The National Theater of Korea’s KB Haneul Youth Theater will stage family show “DREAM” through Feb. 25. Based on the story “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” the non-verbal show depicts a transformation of Pinocchio from marionette to human, with lyrical music and sophisticated stage art. Part of the Haneul Youth Theater’s dome-shaped ceiling can open for natural lighting. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 30,000 won. The performance time schedule varies day to day and there is no show Mondays. For details, call (02) 3477-2513 and for tickets, call 1544-1555.
“The 19th Daegwallyeong Snow Festival”: “Daegwallyeong Snow Festival,” one of the largest snow festivals in the nation, will be held from Feb. 12 to Feb. 20 at Hwenggyeri in Pyeongchang Country in Gangwon province. The events include exhibitions of large-scale ice sculpture works, experience programs at a snow tunnel, traditional cookie and soap making and folk games. Experience programs are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and exhibitions are open until 10 p.m. For more information, call (033) 336-6112.
“Gwanghwamun Younga”: Based on 33 songs by late composer Lee Young-hoon, this jukebox musical will run from March 20 to April 10 at the Grand Theater of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Rock musician Yoon Do-hyun has been double cast with actor Song Chang-eui as the main character, Sang-hun of the past. Powerful vocalist Lisa Chung has been cast for Yeoju, while actors Kim Moo-yeol and Lim Byung-geun will play Hyeon-woo. Actor Park Jeong-hwan will play Sang-hun of the present. Three charactors Sang-hun, his brother Hyeon-woo and Yeo-ju tell a story of their love triangle, interwined with protests for democracy in Korea in the 1980s. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 130,000 won. For details, call 1666-8662.
“Billy Elliot”: Based on the Academy Award-nominated film of the same name written by Lee Hall, the musical version of “Billy Elliot” will be staged through Feb. 27 at the LG Art Center as the first non-English production in Asia. Set during the coal miners’ strike of 1984-85 in a working class northern English town, a young boy Billy pursues his dream in secret to become a ballet dancer . Tickets cost from 50,000 to 130,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3446-9630.
“While you were sleeping”: In this homegrown comedic musical set on Christmas Eve a paraplegic patient disappears from a charity hospital in Seoul. The mystery plot is centered on the search for the missing patient by a rag tag group of volunteers working tirelessly to get to the bottom of the disappearance. With more than 1700 performances throughout its run since debuting in 2005, the musical has become one of Daehangno’s must-see holiday shows. It runs at the Daehagno Art Madang in Seoul through Feb. 28. For details, call (02) 501-7888.
“Aida”: The Korean adaptation of hit musical “Aida” runs through March 27 at the Seongnam Art Center Opera House. The local version will star Ok Joo-hyeon, Kim Woo-hyeong, and Jung Seon-ah. The popular two act musical is based on Giuseppe Verdi’s Italian-language opera by the same name, the scenario of which was written by Auguste Mariette. The musical was produced by Disney Theatrical, with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang. The musical originated from a children’s storybook version of Verdi’s opera written by the soprano Leontyne Price. For details call (02) 02 577-1987.
“Giselle”: The Korea National Ballet Company will stage the 19th century French classical ballet “Giselle” at the Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater from Feb. 24 to Feb. 27. The ballet company invited French choreographer Patrice Bart, first ballet master and associate director of dance at the Paris Opra Ballet, to help dancers present French classical ballet. Tickets range from 100,000 won to 5,000 won. Groups of more than 20 people can get a 30 percent discount and students under 19 will get a 50 percent discount. For tickets, call (02) 580-1300.
“Varekai”: Canadian troupe Cirque du Soleil will perform “Varekai” from April 6 to May 29 at the tent of the Big Top Theater in Jamsil Sports Complex in southern Seoul. The show is about a story of Icarus from Greek mythology. The tickets went on sale on Jan. 20 on the Interpark website at ticket.interpark.com/global. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 220,000 won. The 220,000-won “Tapis Rouge” ticket includes a VIP lounge service and souvenirs such as a program book and CD. For more information, call (02) 541-6235 or visit www.varekai.co.kr.