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Theater

“Park Wan-suh: Read by Actors”: Four of the celebrated late author Park Wan-suh’s literary works are currently being staged as theatrical plays in Daehangno, Seoul. The four featured novellas ― “For Solitude,” “Mother and Daughter Tea Time,” “You and the Eight Hats” and “The Pasqueflower of the Combative Days” ― are recited in their entirety by one actor throughout the show, while the other actors and actresses act out what’s happening in the narrative at the same time. The short stories are being performed separately by each day of the week ―“For Solitude” is being performed only on Tuesdays, “Mother and Daughter Tea Time” on Wednesdays, “You and the Eight Hats” on Thursdays and “The Pasqueflower of the Combative Days” on Fridays. There are no shows on Monday and the weekends. The show runs until Jan. 20 at Sundol Theater in Daehangno, Seoul. Tickets cost 10,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 766-3226. 
A scene from “Park Wan-suh: Read by Actors” (Sundol Theater)
A scene from “Park Wan-suh: Read by Actors” (Sundol Theater)

“Roly Poly”: Girl group T-ara’s 2011 retro-heavy hit single “Roly Poly” is back ― only this time as a stage musical with the same nostalgic flash of the 1970s and ‘80s. Three members of the girl group ― Jiyeon, Hyomin and Soyeon ― star as reckless teenagers in Korea’s 1980s in the upcoming musical “Roly Poly,” teamed up with older-generation heavyweights including popular musical actress Park Hae-mi and “Nagasu” star singer Jang Hye-jin. The show features four middle-aged high school friends who reunite at a friend’s funeral and reminisce about their good old days as school girls. The musical numbers include Stevie Wonder’s 1969 song “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday,” Madonna’s 1984 hit “Like a Virgin,” the Carpenters’ 1970 song “Close to You” and T-ara’s “Roly Poly,” whose music video concept was the basis of the show. The show runs from Jan. 13 to Feb. 25 at Seongnam Arts Center’s Opera House. Tickets range from 77,000 won to 110,000 won. For tickets and information, call 1577-3363.

“God of Carnage”: The Korean adaptation of celebrated French playwright Yasmina Reza’s black comedy “God of Carnage” is being staged in Seoul for the second time. The play begins as two pairs of middle-class parents meet to discuss why one couple’s child broke the front teeth of the other couple’s child. Though both parties try to remain “civilized” and “well-mannered” in the beginning of the meeting, they end up becoming childish and end up physically attacking each other while drunk. The film adaptation of the play, directed by Roman Polanski and starring Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster, opened in theaters in the U.S. two weeks ago. The show runs until Feb. 12 at Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul. For tickets and information, call (02) 1544-1555.

“Guess How Much I Love You”: The Korean adaptation of “Guess How Much I Love You,” a musical based on the children’s book of the same title by British writer Sam McBratney, is being staged once again in Seoul. The show premiered in Korea in January at Wonderspace Triangle Theater in Daehangno, Seoul, and was staged in more than eight venues nationwide, including KBS Ulsan Hall and MBC Art Hall in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province. A story of two hares telling how much they love each other, the simple tale offers both life lessons and touching insights for both grownups and children. The show runs until Feb. 26 at Dongyang Art Hall in southern Seoul, near Sinsa subway station line no. 3. Tickets cost 30,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 6711-1400.

“200 Pound Beauty”: Former girl group S.E.S. member Bada stars as an obese singer who turns into a beauty by receiving a series of plastic surgeries, in the musical adaptation of the famous 2006 romantic comedy film of the same title. The show, which was first premiered in local theaters in 2008, also started its Japanese tour in October. Telling the story of Han-byul, the former overweight lip-sync vocalist who becomes a popular singer after getting a plastic surgery-makeover, the show delves into the theme of self worth and universal desire for affection. KARA member Park Gyu-ri shares the role with Bada.

The show runs until Feb. 5 of next year at Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul. For tickets and information, call (02) 1544-1555.

“Musical Winter Sonata”: Based on KBS’ 2002 mega hit drama series of the same name, “Musical Winter Sonata” is a heart-wrenching love story. Using the beautiful winter scenery of Chuncheon, Gangwon Province as a sentimental background, the show tells the story of two people unable to let go of their first loves. The TV version received an enthusiastic reception both home and abroad, especially in Japan. The musical is directed by Yoon Suk-ho, who directed the TV series, while Oh Eun-hee composed the music. The show runs until March 18, at Myungbo Art Hall in central Seoul. Tickets cost 50,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 1544-1555, or (070) 7019-6707.

Exhibitions

“Orchid and Bamboo”: Hakgojae Gallery in Sogyeok-dong, central Seoul, is showcasing orchid and bamboo paintings and writings by two late Joseon-era/modern artists ― Gim Eung-won (1855-1921) and Gim Gyu-jin (1868-1933), in hope to make New Year “as fragrant as orchid scent and peaceful as the wind bamboo creates.” The exhibition features 34 works by the two, including one which they worked together on. The exhibition runs through Feb. 19 at Hakgojae Gallery in Sogyeok-dong, central Seoul. For more information, call (02) 720-1524~6 or visit www.hakgojae.com. 
“Mukrando,” an orchid painting by Soho Gim Eung-won. (Hakgojae Gallery)
“Mukrando,” an orchid painting by Soho Gim Eung-won. (Hakgojae Gallery)

“David LaChapelle in Seoul”: Celebrated photographer David LaChapelle’s most comprehensive solo exhibition in Asia is under way at Seoul Arts Center’s Hangaram Design Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. It features over 200 of his signature celebrity and fashion photos as well as his latest works that weigh more on purely artistic and critical values, but retain their wit and daring. The exhibition runs through Feb. 26. Tickets range from 6,000 won to 13,000 won. For more information, call (02) 566-0835 or visit www.dicseoul.com.

“Access to Life”: Eight renowned photographers from the Magnum Photos agency, including Steve McCurry took before and after photos of people with HIV/AIDS who were saved from the brink of death thanks to timely treatment. The project, a collaboration between the New York-based photography cooperative and Global Fund, showcases 550 photos and nine documentary films. It runs through March 4 at Seoul Arts Center’s Hangaram Art Museum in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 5,000 won to 10,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2277-2438 or visit www.theglobalfund.org/accesstolife.

“Photography of Limb Eung Sik”: The exhibition reveals 200 photographs taken by the late photographer Limb Eung-sik, who brought significant change to the art of photography in Korea. Some articles Limb left behind, including his cameras, letters and books, are also on display. The exhibits not only show Limb’s life and career, but also the process of development of Korean photography and even reflect the nation’s history. It runs through Feb. 21 at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Deoksugung, in central Seoul. Tickets range from 2,000 won to 5,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2188-6114 or visit www.moca.go.kr.

“Tell Me Tell Me: Australian and Korean Art 1976-2011”: The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, is holding a cultural exchange exhibition with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Taking the year 1976, when important Korean artists visited Australia with their works for the Biennale of Sydney, as the starting point, the exhibition introduces 130 works by key contemporary Korean and Australian artists. The exhibition runs through Feb. 19, 2012. Admission is 5,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2188-6114 or visit www.moca.go.kr.

“Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life”: The exhibition shows the complexity, resilience, and vulnerability of the human body by displaying more than 200 pieces of plastinated human bodies. Divided into four sections, the show presents the human life cycle and aging ― from prenatal development to old age ― by displaying a remarkable collection ranging from plastinated embryos to findings on geographic clusters around the world where the oldest living people live. The exhibition is held as open run at The War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 6,000 won to 15,000 won. For more information, call (02) 541-6235 or visit www.bodyworlds.kr.

Dance

“Korean Traditional Dance Recital of Yeonhee Jung”: Different kinds of Korean traditional dance including sword dances, exorcism dances, Buddhist dances, janggu (Korean traditional drum) dances and fan dances will be staged at Theater Sung Kyun in Hyehwa-dong, central Seoul, for three months. Acclaimed dancer Jung Yeon-hee is in charge of the choreography and appears on stage as well. The performance runs every Wednesday 8 p.m. through March 28 at Theater Sung Kyun. Admission is 20,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3675-6688. 
A scene from “Korean Traditional Dance Recital of Yeonhee Jung” (Theater Sung Kyun)
A scene from “Korean Traditional Dance Recital of Yeonhee Jung” (Theater Sung Kyun)

“Legend of Flower 2”: Walkerhill presents a Korean cultural dinner show which mixes traditional dance with contemporary elements. The show tells a compelling, romantic tale revolving around two lovers. It features 248 outfits, 108 traditional props and instruments to add grandeur to four scenes ― flower, water and fire, wind, and golden earth. The five drum dance is the highlight of the performance. The show has an open run at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill’s “Walkerhill Theater” in Gwangjang-dong, eastern Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 300,000 won. For more information, call (02) 455-5000 or visit www.legendofflower.com.

“Mid-time Fantasy Dance Performance”: The National Theater of Korea holds a Korean traditional dance performance every Tuesday at 11 a.m. There are eight different repertoires including a fan dance and a dance with “jango,” a type of Korean drum. The performance is being staged as an open run at the National Theater of Korea in Jangchung-dong, central Seoul. Admission is 10,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2280-4114 or visit www.ntok.go.kr.

“Miso”: Translated as “beautiful smile,” this musical 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 storyline based on a well-known folktale, “The Tale of Chunhyang.” There are very few spoken lines throughout the 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.


Festival

“International C+Music Winter Festival 2012”: The second music festival featuring up-and-coming musicians from in and out of Korea will take place in Bucheon. The first event was held last year with organizers vowing to find new talent and stimulate international exchanges among them. The festival, featuring rock, ballad, jazz, classic and other genres of music, will be joined by Winter Color, Heritage, Moon Soo-jung, Travel Sketch, NCM and more. The festival will be held Jan. 26-28 at the Boksagol Cultural Center in Bucheon. For more information, visit www.cmusicwinter.com.

“The 107th Seoul Comic World”: The event for amateur cartoon and animation authors will be held Feb.11-12 at SETEC, southern Seoul. The first event took place in 1999. The upcoming event will provide up-and-coming cartoonists with the chance to introduce and even sell their works to visitors. Contests will be held on the sectors of illustration, storytelling and costume play. To display and sell their works, authors must send applications and works to setechno@hanmail.net ahead of the event. Tickets will cost 4,000 won with special discounts to group visitors of more than 20 people. For more information, call (02) 3142-2137 or visit www.comicw.co.kr.

“The 16th Seoul International Building Material & Decoration Fair”: The 2012 festival for construction and decoration will be held Jan. 28 through Feb. 1 at COEX, introducing works from some 20 countries around the world. Some of the themes of the fair include energy saving, urban design, art on and for public buildings, timber construction, electrical installations and prefabricated buildings. To register, applicants must download the application form at the event website. For more information, call (02) 6309-1004 or visit www.homdex.com.

“Seoul Electronic Music Festival ― SEMF 2012”: The second SEMF concert will be featuring Above & Beyond, Crystal Castles, IDIOTAPE and more on Jan. 14 at KINTEX, Ilsan. Above & Beyond is the leader of trans music who officially debuted in 2006 and currently ranked no. 5 in the world DJ chart. Crystal Castles is an electro-funk duo ranked among the Top 50 Greatest Albums of the Decade and is known for their dreamy, noisy and fashionable performance. Idiotape is the most talked about and adored artist among Korea’s electronic music fans now, featured in last and this year’s Global Gathering Korea and Justice. Tickets to the event will cost 121,000 won. For more information, call (02) 323-2838 or visit www.semf.co.kr.
Seoul Electronic Music Festival
Seoul Electronic Music Festival

Classical Music

“Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra New Year’s Concert”: Renowned Korean violinist Chung Kyung-wha, who recently completed a four-city tour last month, will return to stage on Jan. 15 to perform with her brother maestro Chung Myung-whun and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert, held at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, will stage Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy” and Mahler’s 1st symphony “Titan,” a piece that appeared on the orchestra’s second Deutsche Grammophon recording in November last year. Tickets range from 20,000 to 70,000 won. For information, call (02) 399-1114.
Maestro Chung Myung-whun of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra
Maestro Chung Myung-whun of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra

“2012 Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra & Thomanerchor”: The Gewandhaus Orchestra and Thomanerchor will visit Korea for the third time to perform Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion. The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is one of the oldest symphony orchestras in the world, named after the concert hall based in Leipzig. The Thomanerchor, or St. Thomas Choir of Leipzig, is a boys’ choir founded in 1212. At present, the choir consists of 92 boys, 9 to 18 years of age. The orchestra will be conducted by Georg Christoph Biller. Tickets to the concert, held at the Seoul Arts Center on Feb. 23, will range from 30,000 to 180,000 won. For more information, call (02) 599-5743.

“London Symphony Orchestra”: Britain’s top orchestra will be performing in Seoul for the first time in six years. The orchestra was founded in 1904 as an independent, self-governing organization, the first such orchestra in Britain. It performed its first concert on June 9 of that year, with Hans Richter conducting. The orchestra has long been considered the most extrovert of the London orchestras. Now conducted by Valery Gergiev, the concert will feature violinist Sarah Chang and pianist Denis Matsuev. Tickets to the concert, held Feb. 27-28 at the Seoul Arts Center, will range from 70,000 to 350,000 won. For more information, please call (02) 599-5743.

“Vienna Strauss Festival Orchestra New Year’s Concert”: Vienna Strauss Festival Orchestra, founded in 1978 by artistic producer Peter Guth, will perform with soprano Im Sun-hae and hold its fourth performance in Korea on Jan. 18. The orchestra performed here as recently as January this year. The orchestra has been touring throughout Europe, Asia and America with a wide range of repertoire. In the upcoming concert, the orchestra will be performing pieces by composers Johann Strauss, Joseph Lanner, Johann Strauss Vater, Vittorio Monti, Franz Lehar, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss. Tickets for the concert, held at the Seoul Arts Center, will range from 40,000 to 150,000 won. For more information, call (02) 599-5743.


Pop Music

“Il Divo Concert”: The world-famous popera group that sold over 2.5 million albums will tour Korea with a concert at the Jamsil Stadium on March 3. The four-member band is comprised of David Miller, Sebastien Izambard, Carlos Marin and Urs Buhler, who are each from a different country: the U.S., France, Spain and Switzerland. Together they create a unique musical atmosphere that has been loved by fans all over the world for the past years. Tickets to Il Divo’s concert will cost from 99,000 to 220,000 won. For more information, all (02) 407-2589. 
Popera group Il Divo
Popera group Il Divo

“The Last SG Wanna Be”: The popular three-member boy band will perform for fans in Seoul as part of a national concert tour that started off in October last year. The ballad and R&B group is a rare act in Korea, with its popularity among both the younger audience in their 20s and 30s and the older generation with many hit songs including, “La la la” and “Crime and Punishment.” The Jan. 27-28 Seoul concert will be the last encore concert, and is expected to run for 150 minutes, according to organizers. Slated for the COEX Hall D in southern Seoul, concert tickets range from 77,000 to 110,000 won. For more information, call 1566-1360.

“Halie Loren Jazz Quartet Concert”: Jazz vocalist and songwriter Halie Loren is a noticeable singer in the U.S., Japan and Europe. Her 2008 CD “They Oughta Write a Song” won the 2009 Just Plain Folks award for Best Vocal Jazz Album and subsequently received international distribution and acclaim, becoming the No. 2-selling jazz album in Japan. Halie Loren’s concert will be held at Womenhall in Yongin City on Feb. 25. Tickets cost 20,000 won. For more information, call (031) 324-8994~5.

“Beirut”: The six-member U.S. indie-rock band, which started out as a solo project of Santa Fe songwriter Zach Condon, will hold its first concert in Seoul on Jan. 25. The band, which combines indie, rock and folk elements into flowing ballads and harmonious instrumental interludes, will be performing some of its best-known tracks including “East Harlem,” “Elephant Gun,” “Nantes,” “A Sunday Smile” and “The Penalty” in its upcoming concert. Tickets to the standing concert, which will be held at Ax-Korea in central Seoul, cost 88,000 won. For more information, call (02) 6339-1232.
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