“Seoul Note”: In memory of late actor Park Gwang-jeong, who died of lung cancer in 2008, a group of actors and actresses are staging another run of “Seoul Note,” which was the last play Park performed in before his death. A local adaptation of Japanese playwright Orija Hirata’s “Tokyo Note,” the small-scale, slow-paced play takes place in gloomy present-day Seoul, while an imaginary World War III is happening in Europe. Popular actor Kwon Hae-hyo and recent box-office hit “Unbowed” star Park Won-sang appear in the play. The show runs until Feb. 12 at Daehangno Jeongbo Theater in Daehangno, Seoul. Tickets cost 25,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 762-0010.
|A scene from play “Seoul Note” (Eda Entertainment)|
“Without You”: Based on musical star Anthony Rapp’s best-selling memoir of the same title, the musical “Without You” brings to life Rapp’s turbulent personal journey in the late 1990s. Rapp, best known for the role of Mark in Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award-and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Rent,” plays himself in the upcoming musical in Seoul. The show chronicles Rapp’s making of “Rent,” especially after Larson’s sudden death from a heart attack just a day before the premiere. The show also deals with Rapp’s struggle with his sexual orientation. He came out as a bisexual in 1992, and has been openly involved with LGBT activism. The show runs from Feb. 10 to March 4 SangSang Art Hall in Daechi-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 44,000 won to 66,000 won. For more information, call (02) 1544-1681.
“Elisabeth”: After welcoming the local adaptations of Czech musical “Hamlet” and London’s West End musical “Zorro“ recently, Korea’s theater scene is seeing the arrival of another European show, this time about the real-life 19th-century legendary Austrian Empress Elisabeth (1837-1898). Starring former girl group FIN.K.L. member-turned-musical actress Ok Ju-hyun, actor Song Chang-ui and K-pop group JYJ member and rising musical star Kim Jun-su, the musical portrays the life and death of the beautiful yet unhappy empress who is constantly seduced by the spirit of death. “Elisabeth” runs at Blue Square Samsung Electronics Hall in Seoul from Feb. 9 to May 13. For tickets and information, call (02) 6391-6333 or visit www.musicalelisabeth.com
“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.
“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.
“Springfield”: Currently living and working in Atlanta, Moon Ji-ha is one of few female South Korean artists recognized in the U.S. Living in a cultural melting pot, her interest naturally centered on identity issues. About 30 of her recent works can be found at her solo exhibition underway at Arario Gallery in Sogyeok-dong, Seoul. She found inspiration from both cultures she was exposed to ― badges from junk shops all over the U.S. and lovebird images from her parent’s old bedding. The exhibition runs through March 11. For more information, call (02) 723-6190 or visit www.arariogallery.com.
|“Swoosh 2011” by Moon Ji-ha. (Arario Gallery)|
“Earth from Above ― It’s My Home”: French aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand reminds us of what we have been missing out on through photos of different landscapes that are so mystical that they seem almost fictional. At the exhibition here currently under way at Seoul Museum of Art in Seosomun-dong, central Seoul, the photographer showcases 220 breathtaking photos of the Earth captured from above. The exhibition runs through March 15. Tickets range from 6,000-10,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3789-8697 or visit seoulmoa.seoul.go.kr.
“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), hoping 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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“Seoul Live Music Festa”: A wide variety of popular independent Korean bands will perform on Feb. 25 at six different live music clubs ― Rolling Hall, SoundHolic, Queen Live Hall, Bbang, Evans Lounge, Club Crack ― located near Hongik University in Seogyo-dong, central Seoul. A total of 24 independent bands such as TransFiction, Icycider, Toxic and Gate Flowers will participate in the event. Both online and walk-in ticket purchases are available. One ticket will cover all the performances held at the six different clubs. Admission is 20,000 won. For tickets, go to www.yes24.com, www.auction.co.kr or www.interpark.com. For more information, call 1330.
“2012 Samcheok Jeongwol Daeboreum Festival”: A festival celebrating the full moon runs through Feb. 6 at the Expo Town Plaza in Samcheok, Gangwon Province. Jeongwol Daeboreum is a ceremony held on the first full moon of the lunar calendar to bring health and luck in the coming year. The festival is composed of games and events including juldarigi (tug-of-war), yutnori (a board game played by tossing sticks) and burning daljip (a tradition of burning a bundle of twigs to bring good luck). For more information, visit www.samcheok.go.kr.
|A scene of the “2012 Samcheok Jeongwol Daeboreum Festival.” (Samcheok City)|
“The Paju Provence Light Festival”: Under the theme “A Love Story With Light,” the Grand Open Provence in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, has been decorated with some 4 million LED lamps in various shades. The festival, which opened on Nov. 19 last year, will run through April 1 at the massive park just outside of Seoul. The festival features the nation’s largest light tunnel, a “love park” with four different hearts, which is a great place for couples, and various other light-works. Organizers have been preparing for the festival for a year and three months for perfection. Tickets cost 5,000 won for adults and 3,000 won for students. For more information, call (031) 945-7547 or visit www.provence.co.kr
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
“This is Modern 3”: Universal Ballet Theater presents the third installment in the “This is Modern” series in which the dance company offers four modern dances by established choreographers. The show is composed with Jiri Kylian’s “Petite Mort” and “SECHS TANZE,” William Forsythe’s “In the Middle, Somewhat Eleated” and Ohad Naharin’s “MINUS 7.” The show will run from Feb. 18-19 at Universal Art Center in Neung-dong, eastern Seoul, from Feb. 28-29 at Parthenon Tama Cultural Center in Tokyo, from April 14-15 at The National Theater in Taipei in Taiwan. For the Seoul show, tickets range from 10,000-70,000 won. For more information, visit www.uac.co.kr.
|A scene from Universal Ballet Company’s “This is Modern 3.” (UBC)|
“Giselle”: Korea National Ballet will stage the acclaimed “Giselle,” which marked the company’s first-ever sell-out last year. The 19th century French classical ballet will be choreographed by Patrice Bart, first ballet master and associate director of dance at the Paris Opera Ballet, like last year. It will run from March 1-4 at Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 5,000-50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300 or visit www.kballet.org.
“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.
“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.
“Kim Sun-wook’s recital of Beethoven’s 32 sonatas”: Pianist Kim Sun-wook will perform Beethoven’s 32 sonatas, considered some of the greatest achievements ever composed for piano, for two years starting next month. The first stage of the planned eight recitals will be held at the LG Arts Center in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul, on March 29. The pianist, who is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London, will play the first four pieces in chronological order for his first recital at LG and will continue performing the rest at the same venue until next year. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114 or visit www.lgart.com. Tickets are 30,000-70,000 won.
|Kim Sun-wook (Vincero)|
“Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra”: The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra will perform on Feb. 21-22 under the baton of Chung Myung-whun at Seoul Arts Center. The Korean conductor will lead a program of Kodaly’s “Dances of Galanta,” Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra. This will be followed by another concert on Feb. 22 with a program of the Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with London-based pianist Kim Sun-wook and the Brahms Symphony No. 2.
The RCO is a symphony orchestra from the Netherlands, based at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and is considered one of the world’s top symphony orchestras. Tickets to the upcoming Seoul concert will range from 70,000 to 400,000 won. For more information, call 1577-5266.
“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.
“Love Songs By Steve Barakatt”: New age pianist and composer Steve Barakatt will hold a concert on March 3 at the Seoul Arts Center, under the title “Love Songs By Steve Barakatt” to celebrate both Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14 and White Day, which falls on March 14. The program will include his popular works including “The Whistler’s Song,” “Flying,” “I’m Sorry” and “Rainbow Bridge.” Vocalists Shayne, who gained fame through TV show “Star Audition: The Great Birth,” will join him on stage. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. Call 1577-5266 for more information.
|Steve Barakatt (CREDIA)|
“Bobby McFerrin Concert”: American vocalist Bobby McFerrin, best known for the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” will return to Korea for a third time. McFerrin is known for his unique musical style that features percussive vocalizations and body rhythms. He has performed with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and jazz pianist Chick Corea and conducted orchestras around the world. Tickets to the concert, which will be held on March 8 at the Olympic Park Olympic Hall, will range from 88,000 to 132,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
“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.
“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.