“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, call (02) 725-3394-5 or visit www.gmmfs.com.
“That Girl, Yu Gwan-sun”: The National Gugak Center in Seoul presents a musical for kids “That Girl, Yu Gwan-sun” for three days from Aug. 15 at Umyeon Hall at the center located in Yangjae-dong, southern Seoul. The musical portrays the dramatic life of Yu Gwan-sun (1902-1920), an independence fighter during the Japanese colonial occupation and how she became a brave and highly patriotic figure with a help of her teachers at her school, offering a lesson to children. Tickets are 10,000 won and 20,000 won. Call (02) 580-3300 or visit www.gugak.go.kr for more information.
“2012 SAC Youth Concert”: Seoul Arts Center presents a series of orchestral concerts from Aug. 11 to 26 at its concert hall. Six concerts will be performed by six different local orchestras including Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra on Aug. 11, Prime Philharmonic Orchestra on Aug. 12, Wonju Philharmonic Orchestra on Aug. 18 and the Korean Symphony Orchestra on Aug. 19. All the concerts will have pianist Cho Jae-hyek as a host to offer the audience a deeper understanding on classical music. Tickets are 10,000 won for teenagers and 15,000 won for adults. For more information, call (02) 580-1300 or visit www.sacticket.co.kr.
|Korean Symphony Orchestra (SAC)|
“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.
Theater / dance
“The Hidden House”: Based on the life of young Holocaust victim Anne Frank (1929-1945) and her diary entries, local theater troupe Banana Moon Project’s play “The Hidden House” focuses on her relationship with Peter van Pels, a teenage boy who became romantically involved with Anne while hiding in the secret annex. Anne and Peter’s family members went into hiding in the secret rooms of an office building in Amsterdam, after the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1940. The Jewish group was caught after two years in hiding and sent to concentration camps. Both Anne and Peter did not survive. The play follows Anne and Peter’s years in the annex, including how they enter into a romance and end up losing each other in the end. Tickets cost 20,000 won. Audience must be over 12 years of age. For more information, call (02) 1599-7838.
|A scene from the play “The Hidden House” (Banana Moon Project)|
“Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks”: Celebrating the 40th anniversary of her debut, veteran actress Go Doo-shim returns to the stage as a passionate dancer. A Korean adaptation of American playwright Richard Alfieri’s 2001 play of the same title, the play begins as past-middle-age Lily Harrington (Go) receives her first visit from her private dance instructor Michael Minetti (Ji Hyun-jun). She has been living alone in an expensive, gulf-front condo in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, ever since her husband’s death a number of years before. Michael visits Lily once a week, for six weeks. The two, who come from very different backgrounds, dance the swing, tango, waltz, foxtrot, Cha-Cha and contemporary dance while gradually sharing their fears and secrets of their difficult past. “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” runs until Sept. 2 at Doosan Art Center in central Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 70,000 won. For tickets and inquiries, call 1588-0688.
“Bungee-Jump”: “Bungee-Jump,” a musical adaptation of filmmaker Kim Dai-seung’s 2001 unusual romance “Bungee Jumping of Their Own,” is to be staged next month. The 2001 film deftly linked the themes of magic, the curse of first love, reincarnation and homosexuality. The show, which tells the story of a man who lost his first love to a car accident in the 1980s, is directed by Adrian Osmond, who previously orchestrated the Korean production of “Sweeney Todd.” American Broadway composer Will Aronson is taking charge of music. The show promises a one-of-a-kind musical theater experience this summer. “Bungee-Jump” opens on July 14 and runs until Sept. 2 at Blue Square’s Samsung Card Hall in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 80,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
“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 dealing with 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 live 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.
“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 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” 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.
“Seoul International Ballet Festival”: The Korea Ballet Association is hosting the 2012 Seoul International Ballet Festival. Dancers from renowned ballet companies, including the Innsbruck Tanz Company and Korea’s Universal Ballet Company will be featured during the upcoming event. Up-and-coming dancers from all over the world ― including Izmir National Ballet’s Burcu Olguner, and Portuguese Contemporary Ballet Company’s Patricia Henriques ― will also perform for the festival’s “Young Star Classic” gala program. The event runs from Aug. 23 to Sept. 1 at the Arko Arts Theater in Seoul. For more information, call (02) 538-0505 or visit www.koreaballet.or.kr.
“Goesan Red Pepper Festival”: The 2012 Goesan Red Pepper Festival will be held during the red pepper harvest season in Goesan, North Chungcheong Province, from Aug. 30-Sept.2. The festival will offer various programs including pepper-picking and bare hand fishing contest, and a cooking contest using Goesan red peppers. A variety of cultural programs such as children’s play, music concerts, B-boy dance and traditional performances will be held at different venues in Goesan county including the Sports Complex, Mini Football Field and Culture and Sports Center. Launched in 2001, the festival promotes the quality and excellence of red pepper produced in Goesan, known as the major red pepper production area in Korea. The festival starts on Aug. 30 and ends on Sept. 2. For more information, visit festival.goesan.go.kr or call (043) 830-3461.
|Participants in the 2009 Red Pepper Festival (Goesan County Office)|
“Hansan Daecheop Festival”: A heroic sea battle during the Hideyoshi invasion of Korea more than four centuries ago will be reenacted from Aug. 14-18 in the waters off Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province. In the Hansan Daecheop, or Great Battle of Hansan, Korean naval ships led by Adm. Yi Sun-shin destroyed an invading Japanese armada. Over 100 ships will take part in the re-enactment, which will be the highlight of the commemorative Hansan Daecheop Festival. For more information call 055-644-5222 or go to www.hsdf.or.kr.
“Taebaek Sunflower Festival”: More than 1 million sunflowers will stretch across a vast field of Taebaek, Gangwon Province along with more than 300 kinds of wild flowers that usually grow at an altitude of around 900 meters. The sunflower festival offers a rare chance to be surrounded by sunflowers and participate in hands-on activities such as painting and photography contests and animal feeding. The festival is also a chance to take photos of beautiful scenery ranging from sunflower beds to the nearby wind power plant in Maebongsan, and the sources of the Han and Nakdong rivers. Small concerts will continue throughout the festival period to keep up the festive mood. The festival is held at Guwau Village in Taebaek, Gangwon Province till Aug. 19. For more information, visit www.sunflowerfestival.co.kr.
“Dawn Portrayed with Light”: Gana Art Gallery holds a solo exhibition by Kim Sung-ho, who presents 20 paintings depicting the dawn. Kim expresses the presence of dark and light using his signature knife strokes. Through the mixture of brightness and darkness, Kim captures the glow of a city, asphalt, and a harbor at dawn before the sunrise, while keeping the background color in dark shades. The exhibition will continue through Aug. 26 at Gana Art Gallery in Pyeongchang-dong, Seoul. For more information, visit www.ganaart.com or call (02) 720-1020.
|“Dawn-Hanriver” by Kim Sung-ho (Gana Art Gallery)|
“Whale, the Moving Island”: Lotte Gallery holds the solo photo exhibition of the famous underwater photographer Chang Nam-won at the Lotte gallery, located 12th and 14th floor of the Lotte Department Store in Sogong-dong, Seoul. The exhibition features pictures of humpback whales Chang took in the waters off Vavau Island, 1,900 kilometers away from New Zealand. Photo works include the rare moment when a whale approaches closer to a diver, and moves around, which is considered to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.The exhibition runs from Aug. 8-26. For more information, (02) 726-4456.
“Nostalgia is an extended feedback”: Nam June Paik Art Center holds a retrospective of pioneering video artist Paik Nam June until Jan. 20 next year in celebration of Paik’s 80th birthday. The exhibition features his major works as well as works by other artists who share Paik’s artistic goals that shed light on Paik’s philosophy that combines man, machine and nature. Major works displayed at the exhibition include “The Rehabilitation of Genghis Kahn,” an assemblage of a TV set, a bicycle and other materials made into a human-like form, “Marco Polo,” a human-form robot riding a car, and “Happy Hoppi,” a depiction of a Native American on a scooter wearing a glowing headdress and holding a bow and arrow. The art center is located in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province. For more information, visit njpartcenter.kr or call (031) 201-8571.
“ArtSpectrum 2012”: Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, holds a group exhibition of eight young Korean visual artists as part of its biennial ArtSpectrum project, which seeks to uncover young artists with great potential. A solo exhibition of the world-famous Swiss visual artist Pipilotti Rist is also held during the same period. The artist’s video installation “Spear to Heaven” by Rist offers a whole new level of video art to viewers. The “ArtSpectrum” and “Pipilotti Rist” exhibitions run from July 19 to Sept. 16 at Leeum in Hannam-dong, Seoul. The museum is closed on Mondays. For more information, call (02) 2014-6900 or visit www.leeum.org.
“Best Wishes, Auspicious Symbols in Chinese Art”: In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Korea-China diplomatic relations, the National Museum of Korea is holding a special exhibition featuring some 100 Chinese artifacts used to wish good fortune. The pieces have been selected from collections from different museums and private individuals.Titled “Best Wishes, Auspicious Symbols in Chinese Art,” the exhibition’s featured items include handicrafts decorated with images of Daoist immortals and auspicious animals, such as bats and dragons, with messages such as “Wealth and Honor,” “Living Ten Thousand Years” and “Prosperity of Descendants.” The messages well reflect the wishes of the ancient Chinese people, who yearned for longevity and happiness. Happiness and longevity continue to be two of the foremost wishes of the Chinese people today, according to the museum. The exhibition runs until Sept. 23 at the museum’s Chinese Art Gallery. For more information, call (02) 2077-9558.
“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.
“Pentaport Rock Festival”: Pentaport Rock Festival will take place from Aug. 10-12 at Incheon Dream Park. Passes for one to three days are available with one-day tickets at 88,000 won, two-day pass at 132,000 won and three-day pass at 165,000 won. This year’s lineup is proving to be a step in the right direction with Snow Patrol coming, along with Crystal Castles and Ash. Korean acts include Lee Seung-yeol, 10cm, Daybreak, Windy City, Urban Zakapa, Rose Motel, Hot Potato and more. For more information or to book tickets, visit www.pentaportrock.com.
|Snow Patrol (Pentaport Rock Festival)|
“Hyundai Card Super Series 17 ― Eminem”: Rapper Eminem will perform for the first time in Seoul in Aug. 19 at Jamsil Sports Complex.
The concert is a part of his “Recovery Tour” he launched after releasing his six album “Recovery.” The concert, sponsored Hyundai Card, will have Slaughterhouse for the opening stage. Slaughterhouse is a hip-hop artist with Shady Records established by Eminem. Tickets range from 110,000 won to 132,000 won. For more information, visit www.superseries.kr or Hyundai Card’s Twitter account @HyundaiCard.
“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 in the 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.