“Erwin Olaf”: Gallery Kong holds the first solo exhibition of Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf in Korea. The international award-winning photographer exploits his experience as a successful commercial photographer and creates his own distinctive style. Through his photos, Olaf explores social problems of the day such as isolation and hidden racial discrimination. He shows two most recent series “The Keyholes” and “Dawn and Dusk” that involve different mediums such as installation, photographs and films to maximize the viewing experience and convey his messages. The exhibition continues through Oct. 21 at Gallery Kong in Samcheong-dong, Seoul.For more information, visit www.gallerykong.com or call (02) 738-7776.
|“Keyhole 6” by Erwin Olaf (Gallery Kong)|
“Inside Out”: Kia’s renowned chief designer Peter Schreyer shows his other artistic side through some 60 pieces that offer glimpses of his sources of inspiration for automobile design and his life. His solo art exhibition at Gallery Hyundai Gangnam features paintings with jets and pilots reflecting his “fascination with speed and motion” and abstract paintings that represent memories and experiences in his life as well as sculptures and installation work. The exhibition continues through Nov. 2 at Gallery Hyundai Gangnam in southern Seoul. For more information, call (02) 519-0800.
“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 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. 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.
“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 until 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 100 Years of the Koreans in Japan”: The Northeast Asian History Foundation and Seoul Museum of History have together organized a special event highlighting the last 100 years of ethnic Koreans in Japan. At the exhibition, some 449 items related to the lives of ethnic Koreans in Japan are on display. The Zainichi community has been extremely enthusiastic in supporting their home country throughout the years, according to the Northeast Asian History Foundation. They donated 54.1 billion won ($48 million) for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, established Shinhan Bank in 1982, and those from Jeju donated over 4 million mandarin orange seedlings to the island in the ‘70s. The exhibition includes their living items, uniform of the legendary Zainichi baseball player Jang Hun, and the ID cards and documents of the early Zainichi people from the 1910s. “The 100 Years of the Koreans in Japan” runs until Oct. 17 at Seoul Museum of History in Seoul. For more information, visit www.historyfoundation.or.kr or www.museum.seoul.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 artifacts 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- to 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 until Oct. 28 at the museum’s special exhibition gallery. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.museum.go.kr.
“Gagopa Chrysanthemum Festival”: Changwon in South Gyeongsang Province has Korea’s largest Chrysanthemum flower field, accounting for about 13 percent of the country’s chrysanthemum crop. It holds a flower festival every year to promote its flower brand “Autumn Chrysanthemum” and related products. The festival will feature a variety of programs this year from flower art exhibition, tea sampling event to food event using the flower as and ingredient. It will take place at the first port of Masan and many other places in the city including Chrysanthemum Park in Sapa-dong and Jinhaeru from Oct. 25-Nov. 4. For more information, visit festival.changwon.go.kr/gagopa, or call (055) 225-2341.
“Busan Fireworks Festival”: The fireworks festival is one of the nation’s most popular fireworks event attracting more than 1 million spectators annually in October. The Busan firework display is especially impressive as lights reflect off the sea near Gwangan Beach and color the sky above the Gwangan Bridge. A K-pop concert featuring singers TVXQ, IU, Teen Top and DJ DOC will be held prior to the event on Oct. 26 at Busan Asiad Stadium. For more information, visit www.bff.or.kr.
|Fireworks display is held at a chrysanthemum park at the previous Gagopa Chrysanthemum Festival. (Changwon City)|
“Icheon Rice Cultural Festival”: Icheon, a famous rice producing region, celebrates the harvest season and its high quality rice from Oct. 25-28. The festival hosts various activities for adults and children such as traditional Korean games and agricultural experience programs. The highlight of the festival is cooking rice in a giant traditional Korean iron pot for 2,000 people. Visitors can eat a bowl of rice for 2,000 won. It will also hold a rice-cooking competition that will select the best rice to cook through a tournament competition throughout the festival. For more information, call (031) 644-4125 or visit www.ricefestival.or.kr.
“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.
|Jarasum International Jazz Festival|
“Dr. Dre’s Doctor’s Advocates Korea Tour”: Legendary rapper and producer Dr. Dre will be performing live at the Bexco building in Busan on Nov. 2 and at the Kintex center in Ilsan on Nov. 3. Dr. Dre is well known for being the founder of Aftermath Records and for helping launch the careers of other rap icons like Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent. The concert will also feature the hip-hop artists the Game, Slaughterhouse, the Dogg Pound and E-40. Tickets range from 99,000 won to 154,000 won. For reservations, call 1544-1555 or visit www.interpark.com.
“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.
“Eyes of Dawn”: Lee Won Kuk Ballet is showcasing its original drama ballet based on MBC’s mega-hit 1991 drama of the same title. The piece tells the story of two young men and a woman who live through the Japanese colonial period and the Korean War. Lee Won-kuk will dance the role of Dae-chi, one of the three main characters. The character gets drafted to the Japanese military during World War II, and eventually becomes a communist partisan. The role of Yeo-ok, the love interest of Dae-chi and the other male character Ha-rim, will be shared by dancers Choi So-bin, Choi Ye-won and Lee Young-jin. “Eyes of Dawn” runs from Oct. 26-27 at Nowon Arts Center in northern Seoul. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 30,000 won. For more information, call (02) 951-3355.
|A scene from Lee Won-kuk Ballet’s original ballet “Eyes of Dawn” (Lee Won Kuk Ballet)|
“Prince Hodong”: Korea National Ballet stages “Prince Hodong,” an original work based on Korean traditional tale “Princess Nakrang and Prince Hodong,” from Nov. 10-11 at the National Theater of Korea in Jangchung-dong, Seoul. Based on the Korean cultural text, the ballet depicts war, love, betrayal and death. The show was performed in Italy last year as the opener for the San Carlo Dance Festival. For more information, call (02) 587-6181 or visit www.kballet.org.
“Seoul International Dance Festival”: The 15th annual SIDance, or Seoul International Dance Festival, runs until Oct. 20. 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 naked 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 the 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 won to 270,000 won. For more information, call (070) 7124-1740 or visit www.uac.co.kr.
“Carmen”: The Korea National Opera is performing Bizet’s “Carmen” at the Seoul Art Center Opera House from Oct. 18 through 21 to mark its 50th anniversary. The tragic love story between passionate gypsy Carmen and soldier Don Jose was picked as the most want-to-see opera by the KNO survey last year. Paul-mile Fourny, art director of Opera de Metz, will be directing the scene while Benjamin Pionnier, art director for Slovenian National Opera, will conduct the Korean Symphony. World-class mezzo soprano Kate Aldrich will perform as Carmen alongside Jean-Pierre Furant playing Don Jose. Tickets are priced between 10,000 won and 150,000 won. For more information, visit www.interpark.com, www.clubbalcony.com or www.sacticket.com
|A scene from Carmen (Korea National Opera)|
“Huimang Concert”: Top violinist Kang Dong-suk is holding a concert on Oct. 22, 8 p.m. at the Seoul Art Center Concert Hall. The concert will also take place at Busan Cultural Center on Oct. 17; at May 18 Memorial Center in Gwangju on Oct. 20; and at Donggu Arts and Sports Center in Daegu on Oct. 21. Kang will be performing with the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra led by Theodore Kuchar. The program includes Smetana’s “Vltana” from “ma Vlast”; Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy”; and Dvorak’s Symphony No.9 “From the New World.’” All proceeds from the charity event will be used to support underprivileged children in rural areas. Tickets are available through www.sacticket.co.kr; www.interpark.com; www.ticketlink.com; www.auction.co.kr; www.yes24.co.kr or www.clubbalcony.com.
“The Barber of Seville”: The Gloria Opera Company is staging Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” at the Seoul Art Center Opera House from Oct. 26-28. Vocalists from Palazzo La Scala, including soprano Patrizia Cigna as Rosina and Alessandro Luciano as Count Almaviva, will be performing while internationally acclaimed conductor Stefano Seghedoni will lead Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Director Antonio Petris will join Gloria’s chief director Yang Soo-wha in producing the event. Tickets are priced between 20,000 won and 220,000 won. For more information, call (02) 543-2351.
“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.
“Unhyeongung Romance”: Local theater troupe Taru is staging a gugak musical called “Unhyeongung Romance.” The piece tells the story of Jin Chae-seon, Joseon’s famous 19th-century female pansori artist, who is said to have impressed Daewongun, the father of Emperor Gojong. The piece is based on the writer’s imagination that the young Chae-seon fell in love with young Gojong before he took to the throne. Unhyeongung refers to a Korean royal residence where young Gojong lived until age 12 with his father Daewongun. “Unhyeongung Romance” runs from Oct. 18-21 at Naru Arts Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 6481-1213.
|A promotional image of upcoming gugak musical “Unhyeongung Romance” (Bananamoon Project)|
“Phantom of the Opera”: Tickets are available for the upcoming run of the world’s beloved musical, “Phantom of the Opera.” The show opens on Dec. 7 at Blue Square’s Samsung Electronics Hall in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the musical tells the story of the beautiful soprano Christine, and a mysterious, disfigured musical genius who becomes obsessed with her. Australian actress Claire Lyon will play Christine, while veteran Broadway actor Brad Little will perform as the Phantom. The show was first staged in Korea in 2001, and its last Korean run was in 2010 in Daegu. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 160,000 won, and a 15 percent discount is available for those who have seen the show in Korea in the past. For more information, visit www.phantomoftheopera.co.kr or call 1577-3363.
“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.