“Red Poetry”: Local theater troupe Theater Company Gorae is presenting “Red Poetry,” a play that deftly links the controversial suicide of actress Jang Ja-yeon in 2009 to the stories of elderly women who were forced to be sex slaves for the Japanese military during World War II. The play is being told from the perspective of fictional character Dong-ju (played by Kim Dong-wan), a reporter who is deeply disturbed by the sudden death of a popular actress, a stand-in for the late Jang. The story unfolds as he goes to the next world through a mistake by the angel of death, and meets up with the actress as well as the former sex slaves who still seek an apology from Japan. “Red Poetry” runs from March 22 to March 31 at Daehangno Art Theater in Seoul’s Daehangno district. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/goraetheatre
|A promotional image of the play “Red Poetry” (Theater Company Gorae)|
“Festival Bo:m”: Festival Bo:m, an annual avant-garde visual and performing arts festival, is having its seventh edition this year. A total of 26 cutting-edge works from Korea and abroad will be featured at a number of venues in Seoul. One of the highlights is Italian theater director’s controversial work “On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God,” which deals with a devoted son who repeatedly clears up his ill father’s mess and washes him. Other notable works include French artist Jerome Bel and Zurich-based company Theater HORA’s “Disabled Theater,” which features actors with learning disabilities; and local artist Chung Hee-young’s film “Stranger,” in which the filmmaker revisits her childhood home and meets up with those living there today. The festival funs from March 22 to April 18. For more information, visit www.festivalbom.org
“Those Days”: Late folk rock singer Kim Kwang-seok’s (1964-1996) music is being made into a musical. The piece, titled “Those Days,” features a total of 30 songs written by the late artist, while telling the story of the country’s president’s daughter, who goes missing on the day of the 20th anniversary of Korea-China diplomatic relations. It features popular musical and TV actors Yoo Jun-sang and Oh Man-seok, as well as actresses Kim Jeong-hwa and Bang Jin-ui. The show runs from April 4 to June 30 at Daehangno Musical Center in Hyehwa-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 55,000 won to 99,000 won. For more information, call (070) 7016-2470.
“Sweet, Come to Me Stealthily”: Korea’s first original musical, “Sweet, Come to Me Stealthily,” is being revived with newly arranged music this month. The show premiered at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in 1966, starring popular singer Patti Kim. The musical is based on Korean novel “Baebijang-jeon,” which takes place on Jeju Island during the late Joseon period (1392-1910). It tells the story of a courtesan who tries to seduce the island’s new minister. Musical actress Kim Sun-young, who starred as the beautiful yet unhappy empress in last year’s hit “Elisabeth,” stars as Aerang, the driven and ambitious courtesan, in the upcoming show. “Sweet, Come to Me Stealthily” runs from Feb. 19 to March 31 at the newly renovated CJ Towol Theater of Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul. Tickets range from 44,000 won to 99,000 won. For information, call 1588-0688.
“Rebecca”: German-language musical “Rebecca,” based on Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel of the same title, is being staged as a Korean adaptation in Seoul this month. It is written by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay, who also wrote the musicals “Elisabeth” and “Mozart!” ― both of which enjoyed much popularity in Korea last year. The original novel was also made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940 as the director’s first American project. The gothic tale is about an aristocratic widower and his memory of his dead wife, which keeps haunting him and his new bride. “Rebecca” runs at LG Arts Center in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
“Shear Madness”: The Korean adaptation of the popular German play “Shear Madness” is back for its second run in Seoul. The play is one of the longest-running ones in the world, premiering back in 1963. The play takes place in a hair salon, which is owned by a gay hairdresser named George. After George and his flirty assistant Suji welcome two customers, one a wealthy housewife and the other an antique dealer, the landlady of the shop is murdered upstairs. The audience is asked to participate in the process of solving the crime, trying to figure out who is the murderer among the four characters in the salon. “Shear Madness” is currently on an open run at Daehangno Culture Space Feeling 2 in Hyehwa-dong, Seoul. All tickets cost 30,000 won. For more information, call (02) 744-4334.
“La Bayadere”: The Korean National Ballet is presenting “La Bayadere,” a 1877 piece choreographed by Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus. Set in India, the ballet first features a passionate romance between temple dancer Nikita and young warrior Solor. The piece eventually turns into a tragedy as the High Brahmin, who has fallen for Nikita, and Gamzatthi, the ruler’s daughter who is desperate to marry Solor, make plans to break them apart. “La Bayadere” runs from April 9 to 14 at Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 80,000 won to 5,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
|The official poster of Korean National Ballet’s “La Bayadere” (KNB)|
“Heterotopia”: Dresden-based dance troupe The Forsythe Company is visiting Korea next month with their 2006 work “Heterotopia.” The dance company was founded by American dancer and choreographer William Forsythe in 2005 in Germany. The title of the piece is derived from French philosopher Michel Foucault’s essay “Des Espaces Autres,” which uses the term “Heterotopia” to describe places and “spaces of otherness,” which are “neither here nor there,” such as the moment one sees himself in the mirror. The dance is said to explore the theme of language and its translation, as well as the meaning of theater as a space. The show runs from April 10-14 at Seongnam Arts Center in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. All tickets cost 110,000 won. For more information, call (031) 783-8000.
“Kim Joo Won Marguerite & Armand”: Freelance dancer Kim Joo-won, who used to dance for the Korean National Ballet as a principal, is holding her first show since leaving her position at the troupe last year. She is presenting “Marguerite & Armand,” a 1963 ballet danced to Franz Liszt’s piano sonata in B Minor. Choreographed by famed artist Fredrick Ashton, the piece was inspired by the 19th-century writer Alexandre Dumas’ “La Dame aux Camelias.” The show runs from April 5-7 at LG Art Center in southern Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
“Ulsan Whale Festival”: Ulsan, a habitat for whales, holds an annual whale-themed festival from April 25-28 at Jangsaengpohang Port and Taehwagang River. Visitors can go whale watching, see demonstrations of traditional whaling and more. The festival also holds entertainment activities such as a whale-themed parade and folk games for family visitors. For more information, call (052) 276-8476.
|The Ulsan Whale Festival runs boat rides for visitors to watch whales swimming in waters off Ulsan. (Yonhap News)|
“Jinhae Gunhangje Festival”: Korea’s largest cherry blossom festival will be held from April 1-10 in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang Province. The annual festival, started in 1963, attracts millions of tourists every year. The highlight of the festival is the cherry blossom tree-lined streets. Various spots of varying lengths in Jinhae, including Jangboksan Park, Anmin Street and the Naval Academy campus, offer visitors a chance to appreciate the rows of beautiful cherry blossom trees. The festival also hosts events such as street concerts, a cherry blossom photo exhibition and a navy band parade. For more information, visit gunhang.changwon.go.kr.
“Uljin Snow Crab and Red Snow Crab Festival”: Snow crab, or “daegye,” is a specialty of Uljin, a coastal county in North Gyeongsang Province located some 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul. Festival programs include free tastings of snow crab dishes, ship tours and a cooking demonstration. The festival runs from March 28 to April 3 at Hupo Port, Uljin, North Gyeongsang Province. For more information, call (054) 789-6852 or visit ujcrab.uljin.go.kr.
“Gwangyang International Maehwa Festival”: Gwangyang, home to many Chinese apricot trees, called maehwa in Korean, hosts the annual maehwa festival in Seomjin village, South Jeolla Province. Visitors to the festival, taking place March 23-31, will get the chance to enjoy various music and dance performances while surrounded by maehwa trees. Along with the festival, the city government runs a city tour to Gwangyang and various hands-on experiences for tourists. For more information, visit www.gwangyang.go.kr/gymaehwa.
“Kang Yo-bae exhibition”: When viewing Kang Yo-bae’s landscape paintings of Jeju island, one can stop trying to understand the art and just let the works touch their hearts. The 61-year-old native of Jeju is a landscape painter who has been portraying the island for more than two decades. He returns to Seoul with 40 landscape paintings and 10 sketches in the new exhibition at Hakgojae Gallery. The exhibition runs from March 27-April 21. For more information, call (02) 720-1524~6.
“Love Actually”: The warm spring breeze and flowers put people in a good mood and perhaps evoke thoughts of spring romance. Fittingly, a love-themed art exhibition opened at Seoul Museum on March 14, a romantic day celebrated in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea when men give presents to women in return for what they received on Valentine’s Day. The museum has combined romantic movies and art under the theme of love at the new exhibition “Love Actually.” It presents six themes of love such as new love, pure love, everlasting love, passionate love and past love with movies that best represent each theme with matching artwork. The exhibition, which runs through June 16, also runs a free movie screening of the movies every Saturday. The movie schedule is available at www.seoulmuseum.org. For more information, call (02) 395-0100.
“Diplopia”: In Han Sung-pil’s photographs, two different worlds coexist in one place, leaving viewers looking hard to distinguish which images are real, and which are manipulated. His solo exhibition at Arario Gallery in Seoul presents around 20 pieces including photographs and video installations that constantly have viewers questioning whether what they are seeing is real. The exhibition includes his works made as part of his photographic “Faade Project,” which focuses on the image shown from the screen set up around old buildings under restoration. The exhibition runs through April 7. For more information, call (02) 541-5701.
“Peranakan World: Cross-cultural Art from Singapore and the Straits”: The National Museum of Korea is holding an exhibition about Peranakan, loosely translated as “local-born” in the Malay language. They are the descendants of Southeast Asians and “outsiders” in Singapore. About 230 items showing the lives of the affluent and hybrid culture of the Peranakan in Southeast Asia are displayed Tuesdays through Sundays until May 19. A docent program is offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. while a “conversation with the curator” will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. For more information, call (02) 2077-9000.
|Bead work slippers are on display at “The Peranakan World: Cross-cultural Art from Singapore and the Straits” exhibition held at the National Museum of Korea. (National Museum of Korea)|
“Seoul Nostalgia ― A retrospective photographic exhibition of Kim Han-yong”: The Seoul Museum of History is holding an exhibition of noted photographer Kim Han-yong, who photographed ordinary Seoulites’ lives after the Korean War (1950-1953). Kim, who started his career as a photographer for a newspaper, later worked in the advertising industry. On view are 160 panoramic pictures of Seoul in the post-war period alongside 60 of the most famous advertisement pictures Kim took or collected. The curators replicated Kim’s photograph studio inside the hall, where people can see portraits of top celebrities of the time. The exhibition is held through May 5, from Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, call (02) 724-0154.
“The Script Live in Seoul”: The Irish alternative rock band “The Script” first formed nearly 12 years ago, but didn’t hit international fame until they released their first studio album “The Script” in 2008. The break-out album went multiplatinum, selling more than half a million copies worldwide and included the hit singles “We Cry,” “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” and “Breakeven.” The group has since released two other studio albums, including their latest album titled “#3,” which was released last year. The Script will be performing its live show at the Uniqlo-AX Hall on March 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets for the show are 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Psy Concert Happening”: The man that infected the world with his notorious horse dance will be returning to Seoul in an event that is sure to draw the attention of fans around the globe. Psy rose to international superstardom with the release of his comedic single “Gangnam Style” along with its signature dance moves. The song’s music video is the most-watched video clip on YouTube with more than 1.4 billion views. The rapper has announced that he will be revealing his much-anticipated “Gangnam Style” follow-up single at his upcoming solo concert that will be held at the Sangam Seoul World Cup Stadium on April 13. Tickets for the show range in price from 55,000 won to 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
|Psy will be unveiling his highly anticipated “Gangnam Style” follow-up single at his upcoming solo concert “Happening” on April 13 at the Sangam Seoul World Cup Stadium.|
“Zedd in Seoul”: The young Russian-German DJ and music producer Zedd is a classically trained musician who began playing the piano at age 4 and the drums later on. In 2002, when Zedd was just 12 years old, he joined the heavy metal rock band trio Dioramic and began composing and producing music. However, in 2009, he discovered the world of house music after hearing the French electronic duo Justice. This led Zedd to the path of DJing and producing electronica music and he released his debut house album titled “Clarity” last year, making his mark as a budding DJ. Zedd will be spinning live in Seoul at the Walkerhill Hotel’s Walkerhill Theater on April 6. Tickets for the show are 44,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Julio Iglesias”: Legendary Latin sensation Julio Iglesias, who has 80 albums to his name, has sold more than 300 million copies worldwide, will perform in Seoul. In 1983 the Guinness Book of Records awarded him the only Diamond Disc it has ever issued for selling the most records in the most languages, 20 in total. Iglesias will be singing live at the Gymnastics Stadium at Seoul Olympic Park on April 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets for the show range from 90,000 won to 220,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“SAC Symphony Festival”: Seoul Arts Center is holding its annual Symphony Festival at its Concert Hall from April 1 to 17 at 8 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. on Sundays. Noted orchestras from around the country including Ulsan, Seoul, Cheongju, Wonju, Changwon, Bucheon, Incheon, Daejeon, Busan, Jeonju and Suwon philharmonic as well as Gangnam, KBS and Korean symphony orchestras perform music by Bruckner, Brahms, Verdi, Berlioz, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and others. Tickets are priced at 10,000 won-30,000 won but packages are offered giving 15-40 percent discount for bundles of 4-16 concerts. Tickets are available at www.sacticket.co.kr. For more information, visit www.sac.co.kr or call (02) 580-1300.
“J.S. Bach’s Six Cello Suites”: Cellist Yang Sung-won is holding a recital featuring Bach’s six suites for cello on April 21 at 4 p.m. at LG Arts Center. Yang is said to have studied the manuscript of Bach’s second wife, Anna Magdalena, one of the oldest available, and three others to research what seems to be the closest to the original Bach scores. Internationally acclaimed music critic David Ledbetter will give a brief introduction about the world of Bach before the 3 1/2-hour concert. Tickets are priced between 30,000 won and 70,000 won with a 20 percent discount for students. For reservations and information, call (02) 2005-0114 or visit www.lgart.com.
|Cellist Yang Sung-won will perform J.S. Bach’s six cello suites at LG Arts Center. (LG Arts Center)|
“Falstaff”: The Korea National Opera is staging Verdi’s comic opera “Falstaff” at Seoul Arts Center Opera Hall until March 24 at 3 p.m. on the weekend. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Henry IV,” the opera follows noblemen’s retaliation against chubby old knight Falstaff’s pranks on villagers. Austrian director Helmut Lohner will lead the stage with Julian Kovatchevo conducting the Korean Symphony Orchestra. Noted baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore will play Falstaff alongside the double cast of Leo Han. Tickets are priced between 10,000 won and 150,000 won, and tickets are available at www.interpark.com, www.yes24.com and www.sacticket.co.kr.
“My Way”: Noted violist Richard Yongjae O’Neill is holding a recital, “My Way,” at Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul on March 31 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The repertoire will be taken from seven of his solo albums. The program includes Clarke’s Sonata for Viola and Piano, Schubert’s “Winterreise,” Offenbach’s “Les Larmes du Jacqueline,” Brugmller’s “Nocturne” and Vitali’s “Chaconne.” Seats are priced from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. Tickets are available at www.clubbalcony.co.kr. For more information, call (02) 741-1523.