“Unite all Originals Live with Snoop Dogg”: Snoop Dogg will perform in Seoul for the first time this month. After a trip to Jamaica last year, the rapper revealed his conversion to the Rastafarian movement and announced his rebirth under the name Snoop Lion. The rapper was previously known for his violent lyrics, but shifted his gears from hip-hop to reggae following his conversion. Snoop Lion will perform live at the Olympic Park Soccer Stadium on May 4, along with special guests 2NE1. Ticket prices for the show range from 55,000 won to 88,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Seoul Jazz Festival 2013”: The annual Seoul Jazz Festival is a two-day event featuring jazz and jazz-inspired acts from around the world. This year’s festival will feature more than 25 local and international headliners, including the Ramsey Lewis Electric Band with special guest Philip Bailey, Mika, Damien Rice, Kings of Convenience, the Parov Stellar Band, the Roy Hargrove Quintet. Bands from the local music scene include Chung Won-young, La Ventana with 10cm, and Sungio Jung Band with Sunny Kim. The festival runs May 17-18 in Seoul Olympic Park at the 88 Grass Field, the Gymnastics Stadium and the Waterfront Stage. A one-day pass to the festival is 121,000 won and a two-day pass is 194,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Seoul Jazz Festival 2013”
“Jason Mraz Live in Seoul”: One of the most loved American pop singers in Korea, Jason Mraz is returning to Seoul to host his sixth concert. The singer, who started his career playing in coffeehouses, released his first commercial debut album “Waiting for My Rocket to Come” in 2002. After the release of his second album, “Mr. A-Z,” three years later, Mraz’s popularity skyrocketed. Last year Mraz released his fourth studio album “Love is a Four Letter Word,” featuring the lead acoustic ballad “I Won’t Give Up.” Mraz will perform live in Seoul once again on May 17 at Jamsil Sports Complex starting at 6:30 p.m. The concert will also feature guest performers Roy Kim, IDIOTAPE and Joe Brooks. Ticket prices for the upcoming performance range from 110,000 won to 132,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Hello: Cho Yong-pil”: The legendary 63-year-old Cho Yong-pil has returned to the music scene after 10 years, with a comeback that splashed headlines. Cho is considered one of the most influential and iconic Korean singers of all time. Cho first debuted as a musician in 1968, performing for the U.S. Army with his country band Atkins. His single “Come Back to Busan Port,” which was released in 1975, helped launch his career. Five years later he released his first album titled “The Woman Outside the Window” and later became the first Korean pop singer ever to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The versatile singer will begin his “Hello” nationwide tour with three concert performances in Seoul from May 31 to June 2 at the Gymnastics Stadium at Olympic Park. Ticket prices for the show range from 77,000 won to 154,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Kafka on the Shore”: Famed Japanese writer Haruki Murakami’s 2002 novel “Kafka on the Shore” is being staged as a play in Seoul. A production by American director Frank Galati, the show premiered in Chicago in 2008, and had a successful Japanese run in 2012. Based on Murakami’s literary blend of magical realism and suspenseful plot, the play follows its 15-year-old protagonist Kafka who runs away from his father’s home to escape an Oedipal curse. “Kafka on the Shore” runs from May 4 to June 16 at DongSoong Art Center in Seoul. For more information, call (02) 764-1008.
A scene from “Les Miserables”(Les Miserables Korea, Inc.)
“Les Miserables”: The all-Korean production of Cameron Mackintosh’s legendary musical “Les Miserables” is being performed in Seoul. Based on 19th-century French writer Victor Hugo’s timeless novel of the same title, the musical tells the story of Jean Valjean ― a hapless French peasant who serves 19 years in prison for stealing a piece of bread for his starving family in turbulent 19th-century France. After being released, he manages to assume a new identity and becomes mayor of a town. While trying to avoid being recaptured by Javert, a police inspector, he agrees to take care of Cosette, the illegitimate daughter of Fantine ― a sick, abused prostitute who had to sell her hair and teeth to make a living. “Les Miserables” is currently on an open run at Blue Square’s Samsung Electronics Hall in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 90,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555 or visit www.lesmis.co.kr.
“Jesus Christ Superstar”: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” is being staged in Seoul, with top musical stars Park Eun-tae, Yoon Do-hyun and Michael Lee in the leading roles. Based on the Gospels’ accounts of the last week of Jesus’ life, the rock opera features political and personal conflicts between Jesus and Judas. “Jesus Christ Superstar” runs from April 26 to June 9 at Charlotte Theater in Jamsil, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call 1577-3363.
“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 daughter of a Korean president 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.
“Hwangmae Mountain Royal Azalea Festival”: Hapcheon, a rural city in South Gyeongsang Province, holds the annual royal azalea festival at Hwangmae Mountain from May 14-24. The highest peak of the Sobaek mountain range, the mountain has a field of royal azaleas at 800-900 meters that start to blossom in the beginning of May. This captivating seasonal beauty attracts thousands of visitors to the mountain every year. A variety of activities will add more fun to the sightseeing including music concerts, a treasure hunt and photo competition. For more information, call (055) 934-1411 or visit, hmfestival.hc.go.kr.
Azalea field in Hwangmae Mountain (Hancheon District Office)
“The 18th Hadong Tea Festival”: Hadong, one of the largest green tea production sites in Korea, holds an annual tea festival that invites visitors to take part in the tea-making process and other entertainment activities. Historically, Hadong has been well known for its fertile land and favorable climate for producing the nation’s top-quality green tea. The festival runs various programs such as tea tasting events, tea leaf picking and tea ceremonies. It also offers walking tours from the tea plantation site to nearby travel sites that offer beautiful scenery. Traditional Korean performances will open the event on May 17, followed by other music performances, street music concerts and a tea symposium throughout the festival period until May 19. For more information, call (055) 880-2377 or visit festival.hadong.go.kr.
“2013 Suncheon Bay Garden Expo”: Suncheon in South Jeolla Province will provide visitors with countless opportunities to experience nature at its finest at the 2013 Suncheon Garden Expo Korea. The Expo, held for the first time in Korea, displays beautifully designed gardens that also stand as examples of green development. The expo site stretches to the city’s iconic natural wetland, Suncheon Bay. The expo runs until Oct. 20. The admission for adults is 16,000 won (13,000 won for a group); 12,000 won for teenagers (10,000 won for a group) and 8,000 won for children (6,000 won for a group). For more information, visit www.2013expo.or.kr.
“Slant Rhymes”: Kukje Gallery is holding a group exhibition of young artists with experimental ideas. The exhibition curated by independent curator Kim Hyun-jin shows creative artworks by seven artists including Lee Mi-yeon’s pencil drawings of images from press photographs of natural disasters; and Moon Young-min’s paintings of a man in a suit bowing, which examine the irony of bowing during a memorial service for ancestors and the Western suit the main is wearing. Also, video works by Cha Jeamin reveal the artist’s unique perspectives on today’s Korean society. The exhibition runs through June 16 at Kukje Gallery in Jongno, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 735-8449.
“Contemporary Age”: Gana Art Gallery is holding a group exhibition of 50 well-known Korean artists it has sponsored since its opening in 1973. The exhibition that marks the 30th anniversary of the gallery presents recent works of the established artists such as an abstract painting by Yoon Myung-ro, a pine tree photograph by Bae Bien-u, Sa Suk-won’s new work “Mr. Vincent” and a portrait painting of Hwang Jae-hyung. The exhibition runs through June 9 at Gana Art Gallery in Pyeongchang-dong, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 720-1020.
“Opulence: Treasures of Korean Traditional Craft”: Opulent artifacts of ancient Korea are on display at the Samsung Museum of Art, Leeum. The museum gathered 65 pieces of crafts from national museums in Korea and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to show the extravagance and opulence that dominated the high society of the Three Kingdoms Period (57-668), Unified Silla (668-935) and Goryeo (918-1392). Among the artifacts on exhibit are nine national treasures and 14 treasures. The artifacts are not only beautiful treasures, but are also invaluable historical pieces that offer glimpses into ancient Korean society. The exhibition runs through June 2 at the Samsung Museum of Art, Leeum in Hannam-dong, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 2014-6900.
“20130117” by Moon Young-min (Kukje Gallery)
“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 free screenings of movies every Saturday. The movie schedule is available at www.seoulmuseum.org. For more information, call (02) 395-0100.
“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. Docent programs are offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. while a “conversation with the curator” will be held Wednesdays at 7 p.m. For more information, call (02) 2077-9000.
“Giselle”: Korean National Ballet is staging the 19th-century French classical ballet “Giselle.” The ballet tells the story of a young peasant girl named Giselle, who is betrayed by her noble lover. Upon finding out in the first act that he had already been engaged to a noble woman, she dies. She appears as a ghost in the second act, and tries to protect her lover from other vengeful female ghosts. KNB’s principal dancers ― Kim Ji-young, Park Seul-ki, Lee Eun-won ― are sharing the leading role as Giselle. “Giselle” runs from May 2 to 5 at Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul. For more information, call (02) 2230-6601.
A scene from Korea National Ballet’s “Giselle” (KNB)
“Dancing Scarecrow”: Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theater is presenting “Dancing Scarecrow,” a fusion dance with an engaging story about people living in a rural town. The piece is being staged in celebration of the month of May, which is considered as “family month” in Korea. The comical piece about rural farmers trying to keep their town from urbanization features traditional Korean dances along with other genres. The show welcomes all ages, its organizers said. “Dancing Scarecrow” runs from May 1 to 5 at Sejong Center in central Seoul. For more information, call (02) 399-1114.
“Shimchung”: Korea’s Universal Ballet Company is staging its original work “Shimchung” in May. Based on the classic Korean folktale, the ballet tells the story of a young woman named Shim-chung who volunteers to sacrifice herself to the sea god in a desperate attempt to restore the sight of her blind father. The piece premiered in 1986 in Seoul, and is considered one of Korea’s most successful ballets. “Shimchung” runs from May 9 to 12 at the National Theater of Korea. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
“Gangdong Spring Dance Festival”: Seoul’s Gangdong Arts Center is holding its annual festival featuring a total of 19 works in diverse genres, including ballet, modern, and traditional Korean dance. The festival celebrates its second edition this year, featuring the work of more than 45 local dance companies. Some of the notable performances include Kook Soo-ho’s Didim Dance Company’s traditional Korean dance “The Grand Concert of Drums” choreographed in 1985. Dancers carry and play a number of large traditional drums as they dance. The second Gangdong Spring Dance Festival runs from April 21 to May 19. For more information, call (02) 440-0500 or visit www.gdf.gangdongarts.or.kr.
“Mischa Maisky Bach Cello Suite Recital”: Latvia-native cellist Mischa Maisky will perform Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite Nos. 1, 3 and 5 out of the suite’s six pieces at Seoul Arts Center on May 6 at 8 p.m. Going solo due to the last-minute cancellation by his musical partner, pianist Martha Argerich, Maisky is expected to render the romantic side of Bach, whose music he has performed at more than 100 concerts. Tickets are priced between 40,000 won and 120,000 won. Reservations are available at www.interpark.com and www.clubbalcony.co.kr. For more information, call 1577-5266.
Mischa Maisky will perform Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite Nos. 1, 3 and 5 at Seoul Arts Center on May 6 at 8 p.m. (Credia)
“Wanderer Trio”: French piano ensemble Wanderer Trio is holding a recital at the Goyang Aramnuri Haydn Hall in Gyeonggi Province on May 10 at 8 p.m. The trio will feature Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D Major “Ghost,” Schubert’s Notturno in E Flat Major Op. 148 and Saint-Saens’ Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 92. The ensemble shot to fame when it won the International ARD Competition in 1988 and has performed at internationally renowned concert halls around the world. Tickets are priced from 30,000 won to 60,000 won and reservation is available at www.artgy.or.kr. For more information, call 1577-7766.
“2013 Korea Opera Festival”: From May 4 through June 9, a series of famous operas will be staged as part of the 2013 Korea Opera Festival held by renowned Korean opera groups at the Seoul Arts Center Opera Theater and Shinsegae outdoor plaza. From May 10-12 “La Traviata” by Chosun Opera Company will be staged, followed by “La Forza del Destino” by the Seoul Opera Ensemble on May 17-19. The Noble Art Opera will feature “Rigoletto” on May 24-26 followed by the Korea Opera’s “Sohn Yang-won” on May 31-June 2 and the Korea National Opera’s “Tcheo Yong” on June 8-9. Ticket prices range from 10,000 won to 200,000 won. Reservations can be made at www.sacticket.co.kr. For more information call (02) 580-1300.
“Maestro Series”: The KBS Symphony Orchestra will feature Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104 and Glazunov’s Symphony No. 5 in B Minor, Op. 55 at the Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall on May 10 at 8 p.m. The orchestra will be led by Kees Bakles, who had formerly conducted the Malaysia Philharmonic Orchestra. Cellist Jing Zhao, winner of the 2005 Munich ARD International Music Competition, will also perform. Tickets are priced between 20,000 won and 50,000 won, with booking available at www.sacticket.co.kr. For more information, call (02) 6099-7409.