“Madame Butterfly”: For the first time in 21 years, the Korea Opera Group will present “Madame Butterfly,” one of the three best-known Puccini operas, from June 24-26 at the Grand Theater of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, after it showcased the popular piece there in October 1990. Premiered at the Teatro alla Scala in 1904, the opera is a staple in the operatic repertoire of companies around the world. This time in Seoul, Italian director Maurizio di Mattia has produced a powerful interpretation. Japanese traditional costumes have been delivered from Japan to lend greater authenticity to the production. The show will feature an impressive cast, including Korean soprano Giulia Lee and Japanese soprano Ando Fumico in the role of Cio-Cio San, and tenor Alessandro Liberatore and Ha Suk-bae performing Pinkerton. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 270,000 won. For details, call (02) 587-1950~2.
“2011 Ditto Festival”: Male-chamber ensemble Ditto, led by violist Richard Yongjae O’Neill, is to hold its annual summer festival from June 22-July 3 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall and Hoam Art Hall. Highlights of the festival will include Ditto and Parker Quartet’s duo recital on June 25 at the SAC at 2 p.m. The duo program will feature Debbusy’s String Quartet in g minor Op.10, Brahms’ String Sextet in G Major Op.36 and Mendelssohn’s String Octet in E flat Op.20. Another noticeable concert will be a duo recital by pianist Lim Dong-hyek and violinist Shin Hyun-su on July 3 at the SAC at 2 p.m. Both the two artists won the prestigious Long-thibaud International Competition -- pianist Lim in 2001 and violinist Shin in 2008. Their program will include Chopin’s Nocturne, Sarasate’s Faust Fantasy and Prokofiev’s Toccata. Ditto’s recital will wrap up the festival on July 3 at 8 p.m. at the SAC. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, visit www.dittofest.com or www.clubbalcony.com.
“Seoul Philharmonic Explorer Series II”: French conductor Ludovic Morlot and violinist Kang Hae-sun will collaborate with The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra for its “Explorer Series II” on Ibert, Manoury and Mussorgsky on June 23 at 8 p.m. at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall. The series aims to broaden the repertoire of the Korean classical music scene by exploring less touched upon classical pieces. The program includes Ibert’s “Escales,” Manoury’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, “Synapse” and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” arranged by Ravel. Kang and the SPO’s Manoury “Synapse” will be Asian premiere. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call 1588-1210.
“2011 Korea Opera Festival”: Local opera companies are to present two original Korean operas at this year’s Korea Opera Festival. Production skills of Korean opera companies have made great progress in recent years, festival organizers said. Five opera companies are to participate in the event which will kick off on June 23 and run through July 24 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater and Towel Theater. The two original Korean operas to be showcased are “Nongae” and “When the Buckwheat Blooms.” The others to be staged are “I Puritani” by the Gloria Opera Company, “Tosca” by the Beseto Opera Company and “Siegfried” for children by the Korea National Opera. Tickets during the Korea Opera Festival will range from 10,000 won to 150,000 won. For more information, call (02) 586-5282.
A scene from opera “Nongae” (Korea National Opera)
“No Reply Concert: Golden Age”: No Reply will be “the first Hongdae scene band” to hold a solo concert at the large-scale, 3,500-seat Olympic Hall in Olympic Park in Seoul on July 16, according to concert organizer Mint Paper. Their 2009 debut album “Road” was praised for its refined sensibilities. They followed up with the EP album “Tune Your Mind” in late 2009 and the second studio album “Dream” in late 2010. The band has also been releasing digital singles, including popular song “Propose Day,” since 2008. The band’s composer and keyboardist Kwon Soon-gwan said the concert will be fun and dynamic with visual effects. Tickets range from 55,000 won to 77,000 won. For tickets, visit ticket.yes24.com or call 1544-6399. For details, visit www.mintpaper.com.
“Yeohaeng Sketch Concert”: The original team of Yeohaeng Sketch will hold concerts from June 24-26 at the Grand Hall of Yonsei University. The eight-member folk group, now active only with two members -- Jo Byeong-seok and Nam Jun-bong -- was formed in 1989 with still-popular-song “Byeori Jindane” (A Star is Falling). Consisting of male and female college student singers, the vocal group was known for mixing music with nature sounds such as water running through a valley in the 1990s. To celebrate a brief reunion of the group at the concerts, singer Kim Jang-hoon, Kim Hyun-chul and Han Dong-joon will join the show as guests. For more information, call (02) 6292-9370.
“Linkin Park Live in Seoul”: U.S. rock band Linkin Park, whose concerts in Korea completely sold out in 2003 and 2007, are to visit again to hold a live concert at the Olympic Park Gymnastics Stadium on Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. Ticketing opened on May 19 at ticket.interpark.com. With record-breaking sales of its debut album “Hybrid Theory” in 2000, the band’s musical style has kept evolving over the past 10 years. The upcoming concert is to promote their 2010 album “A Thousand Suns.” Tickets range from 99,000 won to 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488.
“2011 Jisan Valley Rock Festival”: The nation’s largest-scale festival takes place from July 29 to July 31 at Jisan Forest Resort in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province. The rock festival began in 2009 and reached 70,000 revelers in 2010. The lineup announced so far includes Suede, The Chemical Brothers, Arctic Monkeys, Incubus, Deli Spice, Jaurim, and 10 cm. Korean singer Kim Wan-sun and male group DJ DOC have been also added to the fourth line-up. The online ticket purchase, which offers a 10 percent discount, is currently open at valleyrockfestival.mnet.com. One-day passes are 110,000 won and three-day passes 220,000 won, if purchased on-the-spot. Teenagers will get 20 percent discount for only one-day ticket. For more information, visit valleyrockfestival.mnet.com.
Korean pop group DJ DOC who will participate in Jisan Valley Rock Festival (Mnet)
“Boryeong Mud Festival”: The Boryeong Mud Festival is one of the largest festivals in Korea, attracting a large number of international visitors. This year, it will take place from July 16 to July 24 at Daecheon Beach area in Boryeong, South Chungcheong Province. Immersed in both the mud and the festival’s great atmosphere, visitors can try mud wrestling, mud sliding and even swimming in the mud mega tub. In the evening, music and fireworks will spice up the party atmosphere the beach. Other programs include local specialties exhibition and sale and a yacht parade. For more information, visit www.mudfestival.or.kr or call (041) 930-3820.
“World Taekwondo Culture Expo”: The Taekwondo Culture Expo will be held from July 8-13 in Muju and Jeonju in North Jeolla Province. The programs not only include taekwondo competitions of movement, sparring and aerobics but taekwondo performances, cultural activities and sightseeing in Muju, Buan and Jeonju. The festival aims to give international taekwondo practitioners a chance to learn more about the culture of North Jeolla Province and Korea. Korean cultural experience programs include Korean dish making, Jeonju bibimbap tasting, traditional village visits, Korean folk games, rice cake making, wish paper flying and trying samulnori, or traditional percussion quartet. For more information, visit www.wtcexpo.net.
“Daegu International Musical Festival”: The Daegu International Musical Festival, or DIMF, is the only exclusive international musical festival held in the central city of Daegu. The event will kick off on June 18 and run through July 11, featuring seven invitational works and the premieres of 11 original Korean musicals. For the opening, the Daegu Opera House will showcase a musical version of Puccini’s “Turandot” on June 19. The festival will be held at the Opera House and other venues in the city. For more information, call (053) 622-1945 or visit dimf.or.kr.
“K-pop Cover Dance Festival”: The Visit Korea Year Committee has kicked off the 2011 K-pop cover dance festival at www.coverdance.org. The committee will conduct an online preliminary competition until July 24. Applicants around the world can submit their K-pop cover dance video to the webpage. In countries where the registered videos get the most hits and “recommended” button clicks, the committee will run a second round competition by September. The finalists will be invited by the committee to visit Korea and compete on Oct. 3 in Gyeongju where the Korean Wave Dream Concert will be held on the same day. The final winners can join K-pop stars on stage at the Korean Wave Dream Concert. For more information, visit www.coverdance.org.
Poster of the 14th Boryeong Mud Festival (Boryeong City)
“The American Art: Masterpieces of Everyday Life from the Whitney Museum of American Art”: To present an overall view of U.S. contemporary art of the early 20th century, the National Museum of Contemporary Art is exhibiting 87 artworks from the Whitney Museum of American Art’s major collections. It will feature diverse genres from paintings, photos to installations by 47 U.S. artists including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Jeff Koons, Jasper Jones, Edward Hopper and Richard Estes. The exhibition runs through Sept. 25 at MOCA’s Deoksugung museum in central Seoul. Admission is 12,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2188-6000 or visit www.moca.go.kr.
“Green Coca-Cola Bottles” by Andy Warhol at the exhibition “The American Art: Masterpieces of Everyday Life from the Whitney Museum of American Art” (MOCA)
“Dream and Reality: Masterpieces from Muse d’Orsay”: Including Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpiece “La Nuit Etoile, Arles,” the show introduces 134 artworks by great 19th century French artists such as Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne and Paul Gauguin, from Muse d’Orsay in France. The exhibition runs through Sept. 25 at Seoul Arts Center’s Hangaram Art Museum in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 5,000 won to 12,000 won. For more information, call (02) 325-1077~8 or visit www.orsay2011.co.kr
“Aggregation 2007-2011”: Chun Kwang-young, one of South Korea’s best-selling artists, is holding a solo exhibition at Gallery Hyundai Gangnam Space in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul. He will be showcasing his signature series, “Aggregation,” which he began in the 1990s. He used pages from old books and numerous triangular Styrofoam blocks to create three dimensional artworks, even on canvas. The exhibition runs through June 30. For more information, call (02) 519-0800 or visit www.galleryhyundai.com.
“Korean Rhapsody: A Montage of History and Memory”: Korea’s restless modern history unfolds at Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Hannam-dong, southern Seoul, in the form of paintings, photographs, installations and media works. The exhibition displays 80 historical documents and artworks that reflect crucial moments in Korea’s painful but dynamic past. While staying within the theme, the exhibits are of very high quality, created by renowned local and foreign artists. The exhibition runs through Aug. 21. Tickets range from 4,000 won to 7,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2014-6900 or visit www.leeum.org.
“Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney’s Classic Fairy Tales”: Organized by the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, the exhibition offers more than 600 drawings, original animations, concept artworks, figures, props and music notes from Walt Disney. The exhibition is divided into nine parts ― “Three Little Pigs,” “The Ugly Duckling,” “Mickey and the Beanstalk,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Princess and the Frog” and “Tangled.” It runs through Sept. 25 at Seoul Arts Center’s Hangaram Design Museum in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. For details, visit www.DCTexhibition.com.
“Flying Lesson”: The nation’s three top ballerinas ― Kim Ji-young, Kim Se-yeon and Lim Hye-kyung ― will hold a contemporary ballet show from July 22-23 at Seoul Arts Center’s Towol Theater in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Casey Herd, Jozef Varga and Rubi Pronk, three ballet dancers from the Dutch National Ballet, will join them as partners. The lineup includes “Minos,” “The Grey Room,” “Drink Me, Eat Me” and “Flying Lesson.” Tickets range from 10,000 won to 70,000 won. For more information, call (02) 6900-3900 or visit www.ligarthall.com.
A scene from the dance “The Grey Room” (LIG ART HALL)
#“Critics’ Choice 2011”: Monthly magazine Dance Forum holds the Dance Festival for the Critics’ Choice of Young Artists 2011 at Hankuk Performing Arts Center in Daehangno, central Seoul from July 7 to 14. It will present nine shows by eight young dancers which were well-received by critics this year. The lineup includes Kim Dong-kyu’s “sinful thought” and Kim Bo-ram’s THUCH Season 2 “Reality.” Admission is 20,000 won. For more information, call (02) 745-0004 or visit www.danceforum.com.
“The 1st Ballet Festival Korea”: Korea’s leading ballet troupes gathered together to better promote the dance in the country. Korea National Ballet opened the festival with “Swan Lake” on June 12 at Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater and 11 more performances by ballet troupes such as Seoul Ballet Theater, Universal Ballet Theater and Gwangju City Ballet are following. The festival runs through June 28 at venues nationwide. For more information, call (02) 587-6181 or visit www.kballet.org.
“Miso”: Translated as “beautiful smile,” the musical “Miso” offers a compact presentation of everything Korean culture first-timers could wish for. It blends ten different kinds of traditional dances, five traditional games and a wedding ritual into the main story line based on a well-known folktale, “The Tale of Chunhyang.” There are very few spoken lines throughout the whole performance, making it ideal for audiences of diverse nationalities. “Miso” is showing as an open run at Chongdong Theater in Jeong-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 751-1500 or visit www.koreamiso.com.
“Kim Hong-do”: The National Theater of Korea will stage “Kim Hong-do,” an original musical including Korean traditional music, songs and dance, as the new “National Brand” performance from July 8-16 at NTOK’s Haeoreum Theater in Jangchung-dong, central Seoul. It is a fantasy story about two young men’s journey into the paintings by the legendary Joseon-period painter Kim Hong-do. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 70,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2280-4115~6 or visit www.ntok.go.kr.
A scene from musical “Kim Hong-do” (NTOK)
“Fellas of Wind”: Through music and conversations in an eatery in Osaka, the play depicts the eventful lives of Korean-Japanese living in Japan, who are regarded as outsiders in both countries. It is directed by Kim Su-jin, a member of the performance troupe Shinjuku Ryozanpaku, who is known for her works that portray the lives of Korean Japanese. The play runs through July 2 at Doosan Art Center’s Space 111 in Yeonji-dong, central Seoul. Admission is 30,000 won. For more information, call (02) 708-5001 or visit www.doosanartcenter.com.
“Spring Awakening”: “Spring Awakening,” which premiered on Broadway in 2006 and recorded a hit in 2009 in Korea, has started its second run. Based in 1891 Germany, the musical tells a story about teenagers who struggle to live a life in a world ruled by adults. It runs through Sept. 4 at Doosan Art Center in Yeonji-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 60,000 won. For more information, call (02) 744-4334 or visit www.springawakening.co.kr or www.doosanartcenter.com.
“Jekyll & Hyde”: Based on the novel “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, the musical “Jekyll & Hyde” runs through August at Charlotte Theater in Jamsil-dong, southern Seoul. It is one of the most popular musicals in Seoul, and has produced many musical stars like Cho Seung-woo. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information call 1644-0078.
“Audition”: The musical portrays the friendship, love and hope of an unknown rock band. The whole show is like a live concert with the band playing all the music. The musical is steadily becoming more popular since its premiere in 2007 and a decision was made earlier this year to turn it into a movie. Moon Hee-jun, former leader of the popular 90’s K-pop group H.O.T., plays Jun-cheol, the band’s leader. The musical runs through July 24 at Art One Theater in Daehangno, central Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 762-0010 or visit www.e-eda.com.