By Lee Woo-young
  • Published : Oct 25, 2013 - 20:00
  • Updated : Nov 29, 2013 - 19:50


A flock of wild geese land on a lakeside in the western town of Seosan, South Chungcheong Province on the west coast in Korea. Thousands of migratory birds fly to Korea’s west coast for winter. (Yonhap News)
“Gunsan International Migratory Bird Festival”: The scene in which thousands of migratory birds dancing in groups will stretch in the well-conserved vast mudflats and reed fields in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province during the 10th Gunsan International Migratory Bird Festival from Nov. 22-24. The festival offers a rare chance to observe more than 50 kinds of winter migratory birds at the bird-watching corridor built on the embankment of the Geum River. The festival features hands-on programs such as craft-making sessions for children. For more information, call (063) 454-5680, or visit

“Ten Million Chrysanthemum Festival”: Iksan, North Jeolla Province, invites visitors to one of the biggest chrysanthemum festivals in Korea. The festival will present more than 120,000 flower arrangements which will be on exhibit in the 35,000-square-meter garden at Iksan Central Park and Iksan Jewelry Museum from Oct. 25 to Nov. 3. For more information, call (063) 859-5797, or visit

“Icheon Rice Cultural Festival”: Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, is famous for its high-quality rice that was once served to Korea’s royalty. The festival, to be held Oct. 30-Nov. 3 at Seolbong Park in Incheon, will include a reenactment of the parade that transported rice to Hanseong, Joseon’s capital, for presentation to the king, a huge rice cauldron that is capable of cooking rice for hundreds of people, and a straw craft contest. Traditional music, dance and folk drama performances will entertain visitors, who will also have the chance to buy newly harvested Icheon rice. For more information, call (031) 644-4125 or visit


“The Birth of Jesus Christ” by Kim Ki-chang (Seoul Museum)
“Jesus and Deaf Lamb”: One of the most famous biblical scenes ― baby Jesus in the arms of Mary surrounded by wise men from the East ― doesn’t feature the usual Western biblical representation in the late artist Woonbo Kim Ki-chang’s Jesus paintings. At a thatched-roof house, home for commoners in the Joseon period (1392-1910), Jesus appears as a happy child in the arms of Mary, wearing a rainbow-striped jeogori ― the traditional Korean jacket for children. The Eastern wise men worshipping the newborn are dressed in official robes of Joseon ministers. Such paintings interpreting Jesus through Korean culture are on view at Seoul Museum’s “Jesus and Deaf Lamb” exhibition that marks the centennial birthday of the artist Kim Ki-chang (1914-2001) at Seoul Museum in Buam-dong, Jongno, Seoul until Jan. 19, 2014. For more information, (02) 395-0100 or visit

“Waiting Room”: Wooden utility poles cut through a gallery space from one end to the other in a new exhibition of Brazilian artist Carlito Carvalhosa in Seoul. The poles, each measuring 8-12 meters long, pierce through the gallery walls at Kukje Gallery in Jongno and extend to the bottom of the floor while supporting other poles delicately placed one on top of another. The position of wooden poles in a white cube triggers questions among viewers as his past works did by transforming everyday materials and familiar space into unfamiliar things. The exhibition is on view at Kukje Gallery’s K3 in Jongno, Seoul, until Nov. 12. For more information, call (02) 735-8449.

“Video Vintage”: An extensive video art collection is on exhibit at the Gwacheon Museum of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. A total of 72 video works that date from the early 1960s to 1980s examine the birth of video art, its expansion into other media in art and connection with the television era. Highlights include “Button Happening” by Nam June Paik, “The New Wave” by Fred Barzyk, “The Eternal Frame” by ANT FARM and T.R. Uthco. The exhibition continues through Dec. 31. For more information, visit

“The Sleep of Reason”: British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman hold their first exhibition in Seoul at SongEun Art Space in Apgujeong until Dec. 7. The artists, known for some gruesome images in their artworks, have brought major pieces for the exhibition, including 19th-century portraits of wealthy men and women retouched by the artists to make their faces look as if they are decomposing. “Unhappy Feet” features innumerable miniatures of penguins that turn into predators and kill whales, polar bears and walruses in the South Pole. The adorable penguins in the movie “Happy Feet” are transformed with bloodstains around their mouths, preparing to attack a polar bear. For more information, call (02) 3448-0100.

Classical music

“Magdalena Kozena’s Private Musicke”: Mezzo soprano Magdalena Kozena will perform at the Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall on Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. Dubbed as the “First Lady of Classical Music” for her skillful vocals and her marriage to maestro Sir Simon Rattle, Kozena will perform a total of 18 pieces, including Vitali’s “O bei lumi,” Marini’s “Con le Stelle in Ciel” and Monteverdi’s “Si dolce e il tormento.” Kozena garnered international attention when she won the International Mozart Competition in 1995 and became a member of Vienna Volksoper. Tickets are priced between 50,000 won and 150,000 won. For more information, call (02) 599-5743. 

Poster for Jean-Guihen Queyras Cello Recital (LG Arts Center)
“Jean-Guihen Queyras Cello Recital”: Famed cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras will hold his first recital at the LG Arts Center on Nov. 13. He will perform Witold Lutoslawski’s “Sacher Variation”; Magnus Lindberg’s “Stroke”; Kurtag’s “Jelek II Op. 5b,” “Arnyak,” “Az hit,” “Pilinszky Janos: Gerard de Nerval” and “In memoriam Aczel Gyorgy”; Bach’s Suite for Cello No. 3 in C major; and Kodaly’s Sonata for Solo Cello Op. 8. Queyras has previously performed with the internationally acclaimed Paris, Philadelphia, Netherlands Philharmonic and Tokyo Symphony orchestras and has released several recordings on Bach, Elgar, Haydn and others. Tickets are priced from 40,000 won to 80,000 won and reservations can be made at For more information, call (02) 2005-0114.

“Rigoletto”: “Rigoletto,” one of the most popular operas by Italian opera master Verdi, will be staged at the Seoul Arts Center Opera Theater from Nov. 22 to 24, with a star-filled cast including George Gagnidze taking the title role of Rigoletto and Elena Mosuc as Gilda. This will be the first time for both world-class singers to perform in Korea. Stefan Pop, the “new Pavarotti,” will be appearing as Duke of Mantova. Internationally acclaimed Verdi specialist Bruno Aprea will participate as the conductor leading the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra and Mario De Carlo will direct the drama. The “dream team” performed at La Scala in November last year. The opera portrays a tragedy among court jester Rigoletto, his daughter Gilda and playboy Duke of Mantoba. For more information, call (02) 542-0350.

“A Lucky Day”: Korean modernism author Hyeon Jin-geon’s short story, “A Lucky Day,” will be staged as an opera at the Goyang Aramnuri’s Aram Theater on Nov. 8-9. The story depicts a poor rickshaw driver, whose sick wife has been yearning for a good bowl of soup, and how he gets lucky out of the blue and feels happy. But at the end of the day, he faces something that he cannot believe. The opera, written by up-and-coming composer and dramatist Park Ji-wun, was picked as the best original opera by the Myeong-Dong Theater. Tenors Jeong Neung-hwa and Lee Jae-wuk, sopranos Lee Seung-hyun and Min Eun-hong will take the lead roles. For more information, call (02) 518-0154.


“Music Show Wedding”: Popular musical producer Song Seung-hwan, whose 1997 non-verbal piece “Nanta” became a global hit, has returned with another foreigner-friendly work. Titled “Wedding,” Song’s latest musical is also non-verbal; its actors and actresses sing, dance, act and play over 20 musical instruments. The one-of-a-kind performance is specifically designed to draw foreign audiences. The show is a comical theatrical portrait of an ordinary Korean wedding, where the bride’s father isn’t particularly fond of his future son-in-law. Song follows the groom’s hilarious efforts to impress his father-in-law prior to the wedding ceremony, mixed with rhythmic music and dance. “Wedding” runs until Dec. 31 at Music Show Wedding Theater in Hongdae area in Seoul. For tickets and information, call (02) 739-8288.

“Notre-Dame de Paris”: The Korean rendition of the famous French-Canadian musical “Notre-Dame de Paris” is currently being performed in Seoul. Based on French writer Victor Hugo’s popular novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame,” the musical tells of Quasimodo, a deformed hunchback who dwells within the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and falls deeply in love with a beautiful gypsy dancer, Esmeralda. Local stars Yoon Hyeong-ryeol and Hong Gwang-ho are sharing the role of Quasimodo, while Bada and Yoon Gong-ju share the role of Esmeralda. “Notre-Dame de Paris” runs until Nov. 17 at Blue Square’s Samsung Electronics Hall. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555. 

A promotional image of “Wicked” (Seol & Company)
“Wicked”: After playing an unhappy Austrian empress (Elisabeth) and a mysterious, obsessive housekeeper (Rebecca), musical actress Oak Ju-hyun has now been cast to play the famous green-skinned witch in Broadway musical “Wicked.” The upcoming run, featuring an all-Korean cast, is the first Korean-language edition of the musical. The musical tells the story of two very different witches in the Land of Oz ― green-skinned, struggling and often-alienated Elphaba and beautiful and popular blonde Glinda. The show is a ravishing spectacle and fantasy, mixed with a touching account of one’s experience of a difficult youth, life-changing friendship and growing up. “Wicked” will open on Nov. 22 at Charlotte Theater in Jamsil, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 140,000 won. For more information, call 1577-3363.

“Bonnie & Clyde”: Broadway musical “Bonnie & Clyde” is being staged in Seoul for the first time. The musical features the infamous love story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the well-known American robbers who traveled the central United States during the Great Depression. The show had its Broadway premiere in 2011 and won two Tony Award nominations in 2012. “Bonnie & Clyde” runs from Sept. 4 to Oct. 27 at Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call 1588-0688.


“SIDance”: The annual Seoul International Dance Festival (SIDance) is back, featuring 51 dance companies from 16 countries. The opener this year is a performance by Canadian troupe Cas Public, with its stylish variation of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” Other invited troupes include France’s Cie Heddy Maalem, Finland’s Dance Theatre Auraco and Italy’s Ambra Senatore. This year’s SIDance runs from Oct. 7 to 27 at Gangdong Arts Center, Seoul Arts Center and Goyang Aram Nuri Arts Center. For tickets and information, call (02) 3216-1185.

A scene from “This is Modern” (UBCthe)
“This is Modern”: Korea’s Universal Ballet Company is staging its contemporary dance piece “This is Modern.” The piece is a collection of three contemporary ballets: “Petit Mort” and “Six Dances” (Sechs Tanze) by Czech choreographer Jiri Kylian, and “This is Your Life” by Korean choreographer Huh Yong-soon. Compared to classical ballets, the show is said to spotlight the different dancing styles and flair of each dancer. “This is Modern” runs from Oct. 24-27 at Seoul Arts Center’s CJ Towol Theater. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300.

Pop music

“K-Hiphop Nation 2013”: The two-day hip-hop music fest will feature some of the nation’s most popular rap stars and crews including Epik High, MC Sniper, E-Sens, Swings, Leessang, Bae Chi Gi, Bumkey, San E, Geeks and many more. The local hip-hop scene exploded last month, with disses flying in every direction, as several popular rap stars, including former Supreme Team member E-Sens and Swings, decided to carry out their feuds publicly. The upcoming K-Hiphop Nation festival will be held on Oct. 26 and 27 at Jamsil Olympic Stadium. Ticket prices range from 66,000 won for a one-day pass to 99,000 won for a two-day pass. For more information, visit

“Busker Busker”: “Superstar K3” runner-up Busker Busker brewed up a storm with its second studio album. Shortly after it was released, all nine tracks were ranked Nos. 1-9 on most major online music charts. To mark the group’s follow-up album, Busker Busker has kicked off a nationwide tour starting in Daegu on Oct. 20, followed by two concert performances in Seoul on Nov. 1 and 2. Busker Busker’s upcoming Daegu show will be held at the Daegu EXCO with ticket prices listed from 77,000 won to 99,000 won. The band’s Seoul concerts will be held at the Gymnastics Stadium at Seoul Olympic Park. Ticket prices range from 77,000 won and 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit

“Parov Stelar Band”: DJ Parov Stelar, one of the musical pioneers behind the concept of mashing together new and old school music, will be returning to Seoul in the group’s first dedicated concert in Korea. Although the band has performed in Seoul on a number of occasions as part of the lineup for various jazz festivals, including the annual Seoul Jazz Festival, this time the Parov Stelar Band is bringing its brass-and-rhythm-infused electronic sounds here for a full concert. With the band’s unique style of swing-time pop and electronica, Stelar is credited as creator of the “electro swing” genre. The Parov Stelar Band will be performing on Nov. 13 in the Olympic Hall at Seoul Olympic Stadium at 8 p.m. Tickets to the show range from 99,000 won to 110,000 won. For more information, visit

The official poster for the upcoming “Sensation: Wicked Wonderland” live music and performance show on Nov. 30 at KINTEX in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province (Communique)
“Sensation: Wicked Wonderland”: “Sensation” is a live music and performance event that was first developed in Amsterdam 13 years ago. Over the years, the event, which has been referred to as “the biggest club on Earth,” grew in popularity and has been brought all over the world to more than 30 countries and been seen by millions. This year’s Sensation, themed “Wicked Wonderland,” will be held on Nov. 30 at KINTEX in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online, with prices ranging from 99,000 won to 200,000 won. VIP packages are also available. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit