“A Tale of Two Cities”: A Korean adaptation of Broadway musical “A Tale of Two Cities,” based on Charles Dickens’ 1859 novel of the same title, is currently being staged in Seoul. The show is set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, and tells the story of French peasantry demoralized by the aristocracy. It received the 2009 Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for outstanding new musical. Korea’s musical star Ryu Jeong-han is playing its protagonist Sydney Carton, a shrewd young Englishman who suffers unrequited love for a married woman. “A Tale of Two Cities” runs until Oct. 7 at Chungmu Art Hall in central Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2230-6601.
|A scene from musical “A Tale of Two Cities” (Companyda)|
“Aida”: Korea’s Seensee Company once again presents the Korean adaptation of Elton John and Tim Rice’s musical “Aida.” The show was first staged in Seoul in 2005, and its second run was held in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, in 2010. Based on Giuseppe Verdi’s Italian-language opera of the same title, the show tells the story of Aida, Nubia’s princess who gets taken into slavery in Egypt. She soon gets attention from Radames, captain of the Egyptian army, who is expected to succeed to the country’s throne after the Pharaoh’s death. For the 2005 run, idol-star-turned-musical actress Ock Ju-hyun starred as the beautiful and captivating Aida. This year, actress Cha Ji-yeon and pop singer Sonya are sharing the lead role. “Aida” runs from Dec. 2 to April 28, 2013, at D-Cube Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
“Hedwig”: The Korean adaptation of John Cameron Mitchell’s rock musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” is being staged for its seventh run. The musical, which tells the story of an East German transgender singer, has been performed in Korea a total of 1,256 times since its opening run in April 2005. For the current run, actor Oh Man-seok, who was cast in the leading role in the 2005 run, once again takes the lead role. Actor Park Gun-hyung, who recently made his TV appearance in MBC drama “I Do, I Do,” is sharing the role with Oh. “Hedwig” runs until Oct. 21 at KT&G Sangsang Art Hall in southern Seoul. Tickets cost 55,000 won to 66,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
“Chicago”: Veteran singer and musical star Insooni (“Cats”) and heavyweight musical actress Choi Jung-won (“Mamma 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 also conducts 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.
“Seoul International Dance Festival”: SIDance, or Seoul International Dance Festival, is kicking off its 15th edition on Oct 5. This year’s edition features world-acclaimed choreographers including Akram Khan, Stephen Petronio, Susanne Linke, Saburo Teshigawara and Wayne McGregor. This year, French-Canadian choreographer Daniel Leveille is showcasing a piece that will be performed by nude dancers. Other featured troupes include Compagnie 7273 from Switzerland and Dada von Bzdulow Theatre from Poland. For tickets and information, visit www.sidance.org.
“Swan Lake”: Internationally acclaimed ballet company Mariinsky Ballet will be in Korea to stage Tchaikovsky classic “Swan Lake.” The famous ballet tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse. She tries to break the curse with her love interest prince Siegfried, but fails as the prince gets tricked by the sorcerer. The Russian troupe was founded in the 18th century and is now considered one of the world’s greatest ballet companies. The show runs from Nov. 12-13 at Sejong Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 to 270,000 won. For more information, call (070) 7124-1740 or visit www.uac.co.kr.
“GlobalGathering 2012”: Internationally acclaimed DJ David Guetta, Orbital and the Bloody Beetroots are just a few the many DJs who will be spinning at GlobalGathering 2012, an annual dance music festival by Angel Music Group, the company behind Godskitchen and a key player in the international festival scene. This festival will be held Oct. 5-6 at Caribbean Bay with tickets ranging from 110,000 won to 154,000 won. For more information, call (02)3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
|Poster for GlobalGathering 2012 featuring internationally acclaimed DJ David Guetta, to be held Oct. 5 – 6 at Caribbean Bay (Julie Jackson/The Korea Herald)|
“Jarasum International Jazz Festival”: The 9th Annual Jarasum International Jazz Festival is scheduled to take place on Jara Island and in downtown of Gapyeong County, Gyeonggi Province, from Oct. 12-14. The festival will feature professional jazz bands including The Jimmy Cobb, Larry Coryell, Joey DeFrancesco All Star Trio, Duke Ellington Orchestra, South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, jazz guitarist John Scofield and many others. A three-day pass is 60,000 won. For more information, visit jarasumjazz.com or call (031) 581-2813~4.
“Michael Bolton Concert in Seoul”: Pop star Michael Bolton holds two concerts in Busan and in Seoul on Oct. 15 and 17, respectively, as part of his world tour. Bolton gained huge popularity in Korea in the ’80s and ’90s with his songs “Love is a Wonderful Thing,” “How am I Supposed to Live Without You,” “When a Man Loves a Woman” and many others. The 59-year-old singer will perform at Jamsil Gymnastic Stadium in Seoul and at BEXCO Auditorium in Busan. Tickets for the Seoul concert are from 66,000 won to 180,000 won while tickets for the Busan show are priced at 140,000 won and 180,000 won. For more information, call (02) 407-2589 or 1544-1555 for reservations.
“Norah Jones Live in Seoul”: American singer/songwriter Norah Jones, who rose to stardom with her hit song “Don’t Know Why,” will hold a Seoul concert on Nov. 17 at Jamsil Indoor Stadium. Jones launched her solo music career with the release of the critically acclaimed album “Come Away with Me,” a fusion of jazz, pop and country music. This album sold more than 26 million copies and earned Jones five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist. Her fifth studio album, “Little Broken Hearts,” was released on April 27. Tickets range from 99,000 won to 165,000 won. For more information, call (02)3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“The 7th Seoul International Media Art Biennale”: Seoul Museum of Art holds a new media art festival, which explores the convergence of media technologies and contemporary art. With the theme “Spell on You” this year, the exhibition aims to expose the current social and political contexts through diverse media. In its seventh edition, the media art festival has positioned itself as one of the leading media art exhibitions in the world, garnering attention from outside the country. The exhibition is held at the Seoul Museum of Art and Digital Media City center in Sangam-dong, Seoul, till Nov. 4. Admission is free and guided tours are offered at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. every day except during the Chuseok holiday period. For more information, visit www.mediacityseoul.kr.
“Deoksugung Project”: The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea and Deoksugung Office of the Cultural Heritage Administration launched the Deoksugung Project with 12 contemporary artists who presented their own interpretations of royal history in the forms of installation, sculpture, video and performance throughout the Deoksugung grounds.
The artworks will be installed inside the palace buildings, and the Deoksugung office allows visitors to step inside the buildings during the festival which runs till Dec. 12.
The entrance fee to Deoksugung is free for elementary, middle and high school students and 1,000 won for adults. Guided tours on the Deoksugung grounds will be offered at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. every day. For more information, call (02) 2188-6000, or visit www.moca.go.kr.
“To Breathe”: Kukje Gallery presents the latest documentary and installations of the New York-based Korean artist Kim Sooja. The exhibition, which continues through Oct. 10, will feature about 10 works by Kim including the new documentary film “Thread Routes” and a video installation “Mumbai: A Laundry Field.” Well known as a multi-performer who combines performances, video and installations, Kim is expected to show life, culture and history of specific places around the world through everyday objects or activities such as thread and laundry. For more information, call (02) 3210-9885.
“Dung-seob, Go to Renaissance!”: Seoul Museum, a private museum founded by pharmacy business magnate and art collector Ahn Byung-gwang, holds its inaugural exhibition focusing on Korea’s modern painters such as Lee Jung-seob, Han Mook and Park Ko-suk from Sept. 29-Nov. 21. The exhibition sheds light on painters who were active in the 1950s to 1970s and contributed to the cultural renaissance in Korea. Along with the special exhibition, another exhibition featuring some top names such as abstract painter Yoo Young-guk, media artist Paik Nam June and painter Chun Kyung-ja will be held throughout the year. Seoul Museum is located in Buam-dong, northern Seoul. For more information, call (02) 395-0100 or visit www.seoulmuseum.org.
|“The Experience of Fliehkraft” by Till Nowak (Seoul Museum of Art)|
“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 those by other artists who share Paik’s artistic goals that shed light on Paik’s philosophy of combining 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, call (031) 201-8571 or visit njpartcenter.kr.
“The Civilization of Maya”: Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Korea’s diplomatic relations with both Mexico and Guatemala, the National Museum of Korea is holding a special exhibition featuring some 200 relics from the Mayan civilization. The exhibition features a number of spiritual ornaments and statues. One of the shell ornaments from 7th or 8th century Guatemala symbolizes the god of death, and has a face that resembles a skull. An earthenware statue from 11th-15th century Mexico, on the other hand, is of the god of the sun. The Mayans called the god “Kin,” which meant day, time and the sun. The statue of the god wears a necklace decorated with five dots, which symbolize the center of the universe and the four directions: east, west, north and south.“The Civilization of Maya” runs from Sept. 4 to Oct. 28 at the museum’s special exhibition gallery. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.museum.go.kr.
“Goyang International Music Festival”: The Goyang Cultural Foundation in Goyang is holding a classical music festival in October featuring world-renowned musicians from Oct. 6- Nov. 17. The list of artists includes violinists Chung Kyung-wha and Gidon Kremer, and Korean bass Youn Kwang-chul, one of the most accomplished Wagner specialists in the German opera scene. Also taking the stage during the festival is the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra led by Yuri Simonov, the Sejong Soloists with Vladimir Feltsman, the Haydn Piano Trio from Austria, and piano duo AMAL. For more information, call 1577-7766 or visit www.artgy.or.kr.
“Mariinsky Theater Orchestra”: The Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, led by conductor Valery Gergiev, will perform at Seoul Arts Center on Nov. 6-7. The orchestra, in the first concert, will perform Shostakovich’s Concerto for Piano and Trumpet and String Orchestra No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 35 in collaboration with Korean pianist Son Yeol-eum. On the second day, the St. Petersburg-based orchestra will perform Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 10 with pianist Cho Sung-jin. Tickets range from 70,000 won to 270,000 won. For more information, call (02) 541-3183.
|Mariinsky Theater Orchestra (Mast Media)|
“Yundi Piano Recital in Seoul”: Star Chinese pianist Yundi Li returns to Korea with Beethoven sonatas on Oct. 31 at Seoul Arts Center. Yundi rose to fame after he won the first prize at the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 2000. He was 18 then. Chopin’s compositions have been his signature pieces but now the 30-year-old pianist brings his favorite Beethoven sonatas including “Moonlight,” “Pathetique” and “Appassionata.” Tickets are 50,000 won to 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 541-3183.
“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. 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 a chance to talk to gugak musicians while drinking tea after the concert. Tickets are 50,000 won. The concerts run through Nov. 27. For more information, call (02) 2261-0511~2 or visit sngad.sejongpac.or.kr.
“Gangnam Festival”: Gangnam district office is holding the annual Gangnam Festival which features fashion shows by young designers, a marathon and a K-pop concert. The festival will take place from Oct. 2-7 throughout the Gangnam area including COEX and Yeongdong Boulevard. The festival will kick off with the 10th International Peace Marathon on Oct. 3, followed by Gangnam Fashion Festival featuring fashion shows by both famous and aspiring designers from Oct. 4-6 and a K-pop concert by Girls’ Generation, Super Junior and TVXQ on Oct. 7 in Yeongdong Boulevard, Samseong-dong. Side events include sales event at department stores and shopping malls in Gangnam that offer discounts of up to 60 percent.
|Models pose at a previous Gangnam Festival. (Gangnam District Office)|
“Oktoberfest”: German Village in Namhae, South Gyeongsang Province, will hold the 2012 Oktoberfest from Oct. 2-3.
Home to Koreans who have returned to their homeland after spending many years as migrant workers in Germany, the German Village will celebrate the biggest festival in Germany and attract tourists to the settlement serving signature festival food including beer and sausages.
The two-day festival will feature a beer-drinking competition, German folk dance and yodeling performances as well as Korean dance performance. It will also display the history of nurses and miners who went to Germany in the 1960s and 1970s. For more information, call (055) 867-2709 or visit tour.namhae.go.kr/04festival/11_01.asp.
“Baekje Cultural Festival”: This festival, one of the oldest cultural festivals in the country, highlights the golden days of the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C.- 660 A.D.), an ancient Korean kingdom located in the southwestern part of the Korean Peninsula. Baekje was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, together with Goguryeo and Silla. The theme of this year’s festival is “The Resurrection of Great Baekje.” The festival will present nearly 100 events, including parades, a memorial ceremony for the four great kings of Baekje, folk games, exhibitions, and traditional Korean music and mask dance performances. The festival will take place in Buyeo, Gongju and Nonsan in South Chungcheong Province from Sept. 29-Oct.7.
For more information, visit the festival’s website at www.baekje.org or call (041) 830-2921~2928.
“Andong International Mask Dance Festival”: The Andong International Mask Dance Festival will be held from Sept. 28-Oct. 7 on the main stage in Andong and Hahoe Village. The theme of this year’s festival is “The Festival of Adorable Devils.”
From old times, the mask dance has been used to indirectly criticize the ruling “yangban” class. The yangban, or ruling elite of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), were often criticized and condemned by the common people but since direct criticism of the yangban was strictly forbidden, the common people satirized the yangban from behind masks.
Visitors to Hahoe Village, one of the two South Korean villages recently added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, can see the villages’ Confucian cultural legacy.
For more information, call (054) 841-6397~8 or visit the website www.maskdance.com.