“Orpheus and Eurydice”: Kim Yong-geol Dance Theater presents its original creative repertory “Orpheus and Eurydice” from July 28 to 29 at Gangdong Arts Center in Seoul. The troupe is led by former Opera de Paris dancer Kim Yong-geol, who now teaches at the Korean National University of Arts. An original piece entirely choreographed by Kim, the show tells the famous tragic love story of Orpheus and his wife Eurydice from the ancient Greek myth. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 440-0500.
“Romeo and Juliet”: Universal Ballet Company is presenting “Romeo & Juliet” choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan from July 7-14 at the Seoul Arts Center. MacMillan’s “Romeo and Juliet,” famous for its theatrical elements, has never been staged by a Korean troupe before. The UBC’s principal ballerina Ahn Ji-eun is paired up with British-born freelance dancer Robert Tewsley, who previously worked as a principal dancer for the Stuttgart Ballet, the Royal Ballet and the New York City Ballet. The ballet company will collaborate with Gangnam Symphony Orchestra led by Paul Connelly. Tickets are 10,000 won-100,000 won. For more information or ticket reservation, call (02) 580-1300 or visit www.sacticket.co.kr.
“Giselle by American Ballet Theater”: The American Ballet Theater, one of the prestigious ballet companies in the world, will stage “Giselle” at the Seoul Arts Center on July 18-22. The ballet troupe will feature a Korean ballerina Seo Hee as its title role. Seo, now an ABT member, made her Metropolitan Opera House debut in “Romeo and Juliet” in 2009, impressing the audience with her excellent technique as well as her delicate portrayal of the role. Tickets range from 16,500 won to 400,000 won. For more information, call (02) 598-3119 or visit www.thehent.com.
|A scene from ABT’s “Giselle” (The H Entertainment)|
“Donghae Horizon Festival”: The beach festival held by the east coast city of Donghae offers a variety of summer activities.
The city, famous for long stretches of beaches, will offer sports activities as well as B-boy dance performances and rock concerts. A special concert with famous singers including Bobby Kim will open the festival.
Other events held during the festival period include a Korean beef tasting event, a photo exhibition and cultural performances by local students and artists. The festival runs from July 31 to Aug. 5 at Mangsang Beach in Donghae, Gangwon Province. For more information, call (033) 531-1020.
|Beachgoers at a previous Donghae Horizon Festival. (Donghae City)|
“Hamyang Wild Ginseng Festival”: Hamyang in South Gyeongsang Province holds a wild ginseng festival from July 26-30. The county is historically known as the area where wild ginseng can often be found and has a ginseng plantation. The festival will feature a variety of hands-on activities including harvesting and cooking ginseng and making crafts using natural materials.
The festival will also showcase a variety of wild ginseng as well as other medicinal herbs.
Music concerts are also held throughout the five-day festival period.
For more information, visit sansam.hygn.go.kr or call (055) 960-5174.
“Hwang River Leisure and Sports Festival”: Hapcheon in South Gyeongsang Province holds a festival featuring a variety of fun sports activities ranging from a water marathon and catching fish with your hands to a volleyball contest. The 2012 Hwang River Leisure and Sports Festival will take place July 28-29 at Hapcheon Hwang River Leports Park in line with other local festivals including the Hapcheon Hope Village Festival, which presents a variety of local food and agriculture products. With its fun sports events, the festival has recently become popular among foreign residents in Korea. The festival’s water marathon consists of three courses -- 2K, 5K and 10K -- and offers the best photo opportunities.
For more information, call (055) 930-3877.
“Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival”: Buyeo in South Chungcheong Province holds the annual lotus festival from July 26-29 at Seodong Park. Buyeo is the old capital of the ancient Korean kingdom Baekjae. The 10th festival will hold craft-making events with lotus flowers such as face painting, lotus soap making and making lotus flowers with paper.
The festival will also feature performances of local arts groups as well as traditional Korean music throughout.
For more information, call (041) 830-2921. Classical Music
“2012 Aramnuri Symphonic Series Concert 2 -- Choi Soo-yeol & TIMF Ensemble”: The second part of Goyang Aramnuri’s project on Beethoven and Brahms symphonies this year will be held on July 21 with the Tongyeong International Music Festival Ensemble led by conductor Choi Soo-yeol. The TIMF ensemble will perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 61 with violinist Kim Jae-young, a member of NOVUS Quartet and emerging solo violinist. The ensemble will also perform Brahm’s Symphony No. 1 in C minor and Beethoven’s Overture to “The Creatures of Prometheus.” Tickets range from 20,000 won to 40,000 won. For more information and ticket reservations, call 1577-7766 or visit www.artgy.or.kr.
|Conductor Choi Soo-yeol (Goyang Aram Nuri)|
“Great Mountains International Music Festival & School”: The Great Mountains Festival, now in its ninth run, will kick off July 21 and will run through Aug. 11 at the Alpensia Resort in Gangwon Province. The festival will focus on the inseparable relationship between music and dance. To highlight its theme, the festival will invite two stars from the American Ballet Theater, Maxim Beloserkovsky and Irina Dvorovenko as well as Kim Joo-won, guest principal dancer for Korean National Ballet. Korean music for dance performances “Chohi and Her Imaginary Dance” and “Hang-Sang V,” both composed by Korean composer Park Young-hee, will be introduced for the first time at the festival. For more information on the festival, call (02) 725-3394-5 or visit www.gmmfs.com.
“La Boheme”: An outdoor production of Puccini’s “La Boheme” featuring two world stars ― opera diva Angela Gheorghiu and maestro Chung Myung-whun -- is coming to Seoul this summer. The opera will be staged at the Amphitheater at Yonsei University in Seoul on Aug. 28- Sept. 2. Based on Henri Murger’s novel “La Vie de Boheme,” the opera in four acts portrays young artists living in the Latin quarters in Paris in the mid-19th century. The opera mainly tells the unfortunate love story between young poet Rodolfo and Mimi, which ends with Mimi’s tragic death. In addition Gheorghiu, and other famous European opera singers such as Fiorenza Cedolines, Vittorio Grigolo and Marcello Giordani will play the title roles. Tickets range from 30,000 to 570,000 won. Call 1544-1555 or 1544-6399, for reservation.
“Salon Concert Namsan”: A small concert for gugak, or traditional Korean music, is currently being held every Monday and Tuesday evening at Seoul Namsan Traditional Theater near Mount Nam, Seoul. It runs through July 31. Featuring the country’s famous gugak musicians, the concert takes place in a hanok room, a part of the theater that fits only 20 audience members. The concert is a reenactment of Joseon’s pungnyu culture or the cultural events appreciated by Joseon’s high society. The audience will get the chance to talk to gugak musicians while drinking tea after the concert. Tickets are 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2261-0511~2 or visit sngad.sejongpac.or.kr.Pop Music
“Jamiroquai Korea Concert”: Jamiroquai, one of the world’s most famous acid jazz bands, is returning to dazzle Korean fans. For the first time in four years, the band will hold a concert on Aug. 22 at the Jamsil Gymnasium in Seoul. For its Korean stopover, the “Audi Live 2012 ― Jamiroquai Korea Concert,” the band will perform with brass, percussion and keyboard instruments to create a perfect dance floor during the hot summer, which would entice the fans, the band’s promoter Access Entertainment said. Ticket prices are 110,000 won and 132,000 won. For reservation, visit ticket.interpark.com or call 1544-1555. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488.
“Marketa Irglova Live in Seoul”: Marketa Irglova, Czech singer songwriter who rose to fame from movie “Once” holds her first solo concert in Seoul on Aug. 15 at AX Korea in Seoul. In 2010, Irglova with her ex-lover and music companion Glen Hansard, mesmerized Korean fans with their dramatic songs. The two starred in the critically acclaimed film as struggling musicians in Dublin and fell in love during the film’s shoot. The song they sang together “Falling Slowly” in the film won an Academy Award. Tickets are 77,000 won-88,000 won. For more information, (02) 3143-5156.
“Jisan Valley Rock Festival”: The annual Jisan Valley Rock Festival kicks off July 27-29 at Jisan Valley Ski Resort south of Seoul. It has already announced its headliners Radiohead and the Stone Roses. Also planning to take to the stage are Busker Busker, Beady Eye, Elvis Costello and the Imposters, James Blake, Nell, Apollo18, the Black Skirts and Hollow Jan. Tickets run at 250,000 won for a 3-day pass and 150,000 won for a 1-day pass at the gate. Starting May 30, there will be 1,000 one-day tickets available for 130,000 won. Official internet booking starts on June 5 and three-day tickets are 225,000 won while one-day tickets are 140,000 won. For more information, visit www.valleyrockfestival.com or call 1566-2226 or 1577-3363.
“Ultra Music Festival”: The electronic music festival is planning to stage six festivals worldwide this year on four continents, with the show to hit Seoul’s Jamsil Sports Complex Stadium on Aug. 3 and 4. Coming to Seoul are Skrillex, Steve Aoki, Tiesto, Carlox&Friends, John Digweed, Yousef, Jon Rundell, Sidney Samson, Elioriso, Shut Da Mouth, Freak Houze, Tokyo Big Boy, Chuckie, the Crystal Method, Ken Ishii, DJ Koo, Sander Kleinenberg and more to be announced. A Friday pass is 93,500 won while tickets for Saturday are priced at 112,200 won. A two-day combo is currently available for 153,000 won. Tickets on the day of the event are 110,000 won for Friday, 132,000 won for Saturday, and 180,000 won for both days. For more information, visit www.umfworldwide.com.Theater
“Hairspray”: Broadway musical “Hairspray” is returning for its third run in Seoul. Having premiered in Seoul in 2007, the musical had another successful run in 2009. ”Hairspray“ has won a total of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical in 2003, since it first opened in Broadway in 2002. It takes place in the early 1960s, and tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, an overweight yet optimistic teenager who dreams of becoming a star dancer by appearing on a dance-themed TV show. The role of Tracy is shared by rising musical star Oh So-yeon (Next to Normal, Lovers in Paris) and Kim Min-young, who appeared as the dowdy girl in filmmaker Kang Hyung-chul’s retro flick “Sunny.” “Hairspray” runs until Aug. 5 at Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 90,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2230-6601.
“Heotang”: Filmmaker and theater director Jang Jin is staging his 1995 play “Heotang,” meaning “labor in vain,” for the third time. The plot of the play develops as two male prisoners, who have been living comfortably in their unusual jail cell, greet a third member in the shared room. She turns out to be a young pregnant woman, who has lost most of her memory and suffers a minor speech disorder stemming from what seems like severe trauma. Unlike the two male prisoners, however, it is revealed that she used to know why she was being sent to the jail before losing her memory. Yearning for freedom and truth, one of the two men tries to get the troubled woman’s memory back by doing a therapy-like role-play. “Heotang” runs until Sept. 2 at Dongsung Art Center in Daehangno, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 747-5885.
“Chicago”: Veteran singer and musical star Insooni (Cats) and heavyweight musical actress Choi Jung-won (Mama Mia, Guys and Dolls) are returning as Velma Kelly, the vaudevillian and murderess in “Chicago.” First opened in 1975, the “celebrity criminal” musical, which delves into the corruption of the authorities surrounding a murder case and a cabaret singer in Chicago in the 1920s, is Broadway’s fourth-longest-running show. The Seoul production’s music is directed by popular conductor and actress Kolleen Park, who will also conduct a 14-member band that performs llive along with the cast. ”Chicago” runs until Oct. 7 at the D-Cube Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 110,000 won. For tickets and more information, call 1544-1555.
|A scene from the musical “Chicago” (Seensee Company)|
“Wedding”: Popular musical producer Song Seung-hwan, whose 1997 non-verbal piece “Nanta” made a global hit, has made a comeback with another foreigner-friendly work. Titled “Wedding,” Song’s latest musical is also non-verbal; its actors and actresses sing, dance, act and play over 20 musical instruments. The one-of-a-kind performance is specifically designed to draw foreign theatergoers. The show is a comical theatrical portrait of an ordinary Korean wedding, where the bride’s father isn’t particularly fond of his future son-in-law. Song follows the groom’s hilarious efforts to impress his father-in-law prior to the wedding ceremony, mixed with rhythmic music and dance. The show features a number of popular folksongs of many different countries, including Japan’s “Sakura,” the old American folk piece “Yankee Doodle,” and the Scottish piece “Annie Laurie.” “Wedding” runs from June 14 to July 29 at PMC Daehangno Theater in Daehangno, Seoul. All seats are 40,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 736-8289.
“La Cage aux Folles”: Award-winning musical star Jung Sung-hwa (“Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Hero: the Musical”) is returning as a gay man in the first Korean run of the 1983 Broadway musical “La Cage aux Folles.” The six-time Tony Award-winning musical pivots around the story of gay couple Georges, who owns a nightclub called “La Cage aux Folles,” and Albin, the star drag queen of his partner’s club. Its plot develops as Jean-Michel, Georges’ son from an affair with a woman some 20 years before, gets engaged. Things get complicated as Jean-Michel wants to bring his fiance Anne and her extremely conservative parents to meet his father Georges and Albin. Jung, who previously starred as a gay character in “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” is returning as the drag queen Albin, while another musical heavyweight, Nam Kyung-ju, stars as his partner Georges. The role of Jean-Michel is being performed by K-pop band 2AM member Lee Chang-min and rising TV actor Lee Min-ho. “La Cage aux Folles” opens July 4 and runs until Sept. 4 at LG Arts Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 130,000 won. The show is restricted to those aged 13 or older. For more information, call 1566-7527.Exhibitions
“The Civilizations of Turkey: Emperors in Istanbul”: National Museum of Korea’s special exhibition, “The Civilization of Turkey: Emperors in Istanbul” offers a rare opportunity for Seoulites to see exquisite collections of Turkish relics. A total of 184 artifacts are showcased in four different sections, categorized by the time periods: The ancient Anatolian civilizations, the Greek and Roman Civilizations, the Eastern Roman Empire, and the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923). The most fascinating of the exhibits are, undoubtedly, the relics from the Ottoman Empire. The exhibition runs until Sept. 2 at the Special Exhibition Gallery of the National Museum of Korea. For more information, call (02) 2077-9000.
“Korean Art from the United States”: The National Museum of Korea’s current exhibition, “Korean Art from the United States” features a total of 86 artifacts that are currently housed in nine U.S. museums and their Korea-themed galleries, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Honolulu Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The show offers an interesting overview of how the exhibited pieces ended up on foreign soil since the late Joseon period. The exhibition runs until Aug. 5 at the National Museum’s special exhibition hall. For more information, call (02) 2077-9000.
“Finding Landscapes”: Gallery Sun Contemporary holds Kang Yu-jin’s solo exhibition until July 29, featuring paintings inspired by places the artist visited in Europe. The artist based in Germany portrays different views of landscapes and cities she observed, but all cut out in geometrical shapes with random drippings of enamel on canvas. The titles of her works are also taken after the tourist spots such as Jungfrau, Luxemburg and Pompidou Center. For more information, visit www.suncontemporary.com or call (02) 720-5789.
|“Jungfrau 1” by Kang Yu-jin (Gallery Sun Contemporary)|
“SeMA Gold 2012: Hidden Track”: The Seoul Museum of Art showcases artworks of Korean mid-career artists in their 50s and 60s as part of its generational series, which the museum started last year with emerging artists. The exhibition features about 50 works by 19 artists including drawings, photographs, installations and videos. The exhibition unfolds in the lobby of the museum with a black pavement by Hong Myung-seop intended to create a red carpet atmosphere that leads viewers to the world of artists’ hidden secrets. The exhibition continues through Aug. 26 at the museum located next to the Seoul City Hall. For more information, call (02) 2124-8924.