“Walking in Sinsa-dong 1” by Julian Opie (Courtesy of the artist and Kukje Gallery)
“Julian Opie”: Kukje Gallery presents a solo exhibition of Julian Opie featuring some of his new works portraying the lifestyles of pedestrians in Seoul. The new works, results of his observations of people walking by on the streets of the capital city, will reveal his signature style of depicting people in color and outlining them prominently in black. The works on display are paintings, sculptures and pieces made using light-emitting diodes. The exhibition runs from Feb. 13 to March 23 at Kukje Gallery in Samcheong-ro, Jongno, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 735-8449.
“An Sung-ha Solo Exhibition”: Artist An Sung-ha, well-known for hyper-realistic paintings, presents new works at his solo exhibition at Gana Art Center in Pyeongchang-dong, Seoul, until Feb. 16. The artist, who paints ordinary objects around him such as cigarettes and candy, has taken up a new object for the exhibition -- wine corks. In his finely detailed paintings, stained wine corks sit in a transparent glass vessel, through which the artist attempts to express guilty pleasures of modern people. For more information, call (02) 3217-0036.
“Park Soo-keun Retrospective”: As this year marks the centennial of artist Park Soo-keun, a retrospective seeks to revive public interest in the master painter. The exhibition is being held at the Gana Insa Art Center in Insa-dong, a major tourist destination lined with antique shops in Seoul, from Jan. 17 to March 16. The retrospective will feature about 120 works by Park, including 90 oil paintings, watercolor paintings and 30 sketches on loan from private collectors. Its focus is on unveiling works of his that haven’t been shown in previous exhibitions. For more information, call (02) 720-1020, or visit www.ganaart.com
“Rewriting the Landscape: China and India”: The exhibition at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, presents how contemporary artists in China and India perceive social and natural landscapes, featuring work by prominent artists from two of the fastest-emerging contemporary art markets. Participating artists include Indian artists Gulammohmmed Sheikh and Achutan Ramachandran and Chinese artists Xu Bing and Yin Xiu Zhen. The special exhibition, held in parallel with the opening of the new Seoul branch of the national art museum, offers a glimpse into social conflicts, cultural diversity in the two Asian countries and ways artists interpret these in their works. The exhibition continues through March 2 at the Gwacheon museum of the MMCA. For more information, visit www.mmca.go.kr
“Photography Tells Korea”: A touring photo exhibition brings together images that reflect Korean society at four city museums in Daejeon, Changwon, Gwangju and Seoul until April. Each exhibition features different images of Korea captured by professional photographers that shed light on the country’s society, people, history and cities. The first exhibition will continue through Feb. 26 at the Daejeon Museum of Art, followed by the exhibition at Gyeongnam Art Museum from Jan. 16 to April 16, Seoul Museum of Art from Jan. 28 to March 23 and Gwangju Art Museum from Feb. 4 to April 14. For more information, visit www.festivalofphotographyinmuseums.com
“Lim Dong-hyek Recital”: Virtuoso pianist Lim Dong-hyek will hold an 8-city recital tour, starting in Jeonju on Feb. 11. The Seoul concert will be held at Seoul Arts Center on Feb. 18. The program includes Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” from the “Suite Bergamasque”; Bach’s Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C Major, BWV 564; Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 4 (“Moonlight”); and Schubert’s Piano Sonata No. 20 in A Major, D. 959. Lim’s upcoming repertoire starkly differs from his previous programs, which have typically featured dramatic and exuberant works by composers such as Chopin, Prokofiev and Ravel. This concert is expected to mark a musical turning point for the pianist as he seeks to shed his image as a young prodigy and widen his artistic capabilities as a mature musician. Ticket prices range from 30,000 won-100,000 won. For more information, call 1577-1555 or (02) 580-1300.
“Opera Cosi fan Tutte”: A local production of Mozart’s romantic comedy opera, “Cosi fan Tutte,” will be staged at the Sejong Center for Performing Arts on Feb. 11-12, just in time for Valentine’s Day. It is a tale of two young lads testing their love ties by attempting to seduce each another’s lover. The cast includes many of Korea’s up-and-coming opera singers, such as sopranos Chung Kot-nim, Park Myeong-sook, Shin Jae-ehun, mezzo soprano Han Seung-hee, tenors Simon Kang, Kang Hoon and baritones Noh Dae-san and Lim Hee-sung. Ticket prices range from 60,000 won to 150,000 won, with a 20 percent discount offered for students. For more information, call (02) 532-1725.
“Scottish Chamber Orchestra”: Led by rising star conductor Robin Ticciati, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra will be coming to Korea and performing with pianist Maria Joao Pires, who received raving reviews for her collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra in 2013. The program opens with Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides,” Schumann’s piano concerto featuring soloist Maria Joao Pires and concludes with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. The concert is on Feb. 23 at Seongnam Arts Center. Tickets are priced at 80,000 won for the R section and 40,000 won for the A section. For more information, call (031) 783-8000.
London Symphony Orchestra (Vincero)
“London Symphony Orchestra”: For the ninth time, London Symphony Orchestra will be playing in Korea, this time with conductor Daniel Harding. It will hold two concerts at Seoul Arts Center on March 10 and 11. The first concert will feature works by Mussorgsky, Stravinsky and Schubert. For the second one, the orchestra will play Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with soloist Kim Sun-wook, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan.” Ticket prices range from 60,000 won-300,000 won. For more information, call (02) 599-5743.
“Evgeny Kissin Recital”: Child prodigy-turned-master pianist Evgeny Kissin will perform at Seoul Arts Center on March 30, presenting Schubert’s Piano Sonata No. 17 in D Major, Scriabin’s Sonata No. 2 in G Sharp Minor and “Four Sea Interludes” from Benjamin Britten’s “Peter Grimes.” As the story goes, the pianist, whose nickname is Genya, started to play the piano at age 2 after hearing his sister play the instrument. He started his professional musical training at 6, entering the Gnessin State Musical College for Gifted Children, made a debut featuring Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor with the Ulyanovsk Symphony Orchestra, and became an international sensation at 12 when he played and recorded Chopin piano concertos with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. Kissin is also famous for obliging concertgoers, with his 2006 and 2008 concerts finishing after 11 p.m. because of dozens of encore performances. For more information, call 1544-1555 or (02) 580-1300.
“The Avril Lavigne Tour in Seoul”: The internationally renowned Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne will put on a concert in Seoul in February as part of the rocker’s world tour. Lavigne first entered the music scene in 2002 with her debut album “Let Go,” which included her smash hit singles “Complicated” and “Sk8ter Boy.” The album went multiplatinum in a number of countries including the U.S. and the U.K. Lavigne has since sold more than 30 million albums and more than 50 million singles worldwide. In November, the musician released her eponymous fifth studio album featuring lead track “Here’s to Never Growing Up.” Lavigne will perform her solo concert at the Olympic Hall in Seoul on Feb. 19. Tickets prices range from 99,000 won to 121,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Brown Eyed Soul 4th Album Anniversary Concert”: The four-member R&B ensemble of Brown Eyed Soul will hold two solo concerts in Seoul to commemorate the group’s comeback and their latest release, “Thank Your Soul.” The album was released in December to mark the 10th anniversary since Brown Eyed Soul’s debut. The quintet released its first album, “Soul Free,” in September 2003, and is one of the few local R&B groups that pride themselves on their American-style approach to soul music. The upcoming Brown Eyed Soul concerts will be held at Olympic Stadium in Seoul on Feb. 22 and 23. Tickets prices range from 88,000 won to 132,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Rhythm Power Concentration”: The popular hip-hop trio Rhythm Power, composed of Gee Goo-in, Hang Zoo and Boi B, will be putting on its first solo concert in celebration of the group’s upcoming comeback album, which is scheduled to be released on Jan. 23. After making their start in the local underground hip-hop scene, the three rappers of Rhythm Power landed a record deal and became a part of the Amoeba Culture family -- home to a number of the nation’s hottest hip-hop acts including Dynamic Duo, Primary and Zion.T -- and released their eponymous album in 2010. Rhythm Power will perform the group’s first solo concert at the Yes24 Muv Hall on Jan. 25. Tickets are 33,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
Scottish rock band Travis to perform live at the Olympic Hall at the Seoul Olympic Park on March 25 (Travis Facebook)
“Travis Live in Seoul”: Scottish rock band Travis is making its return to Korea, putting on its first solo concert in Seoul in five years. Led by Fran Healy on vocals, Travis formed in the early 1990s in Glasgow and made a name for itself as one of the most well-respected musical acts from the U.K. Although Travis has always seemed to float below the radar when it comes to the most iconic rock bands, the rockers are still often credited with having influenced iconic British bands such as Coldplay and Keane. Travis will perform its upcoming solo concert at the Olympic Hall at the Seoul Olympic Park on March 25. Tickets range from 70,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com
A scene from “La Bayadere” (KNB)
“La Bayadere”: The Korean National Ballet is presenting “La Bayadere,” an 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 Nikiya and young warrior Solor. It eventually turns into a tragedy as the High Brahmin, who has fallen for Nikiya, and Gamzatthi, the ruler’s daughter who is desperate to marry Solor, make plans to break them apart. “La Bayadere” is the first performance the troupe is presenting after welcoming its new artistic director and famed ballerina Kang Sue-jin. The show will be staged in Seoul in March; finalized dates and casting will be announced later. For inquires, call (02) 587-6181.
“Full Moon” by Pina Bausch: It’s been almost five years since Germany’s legendary choreographer Pina Bausch died, but her works are still as popular as ever. Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal is returning to Seoul this year with her 2006 work “Vollmond (Full Moon).” The troupe last performed in Korea in 2010. The dance is well known for using a giant rock and deep water that take up a large part of the stage, while its themes include the celebration of life as well as its dangers and joys. “Full Moon” runs from March 28-31 at LG Arts Center in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won-120,000 won. For more information, visit www.lgart.com
“Thank You!: The 30th Anniversary Special Gala”: Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Korea’s Universal Ballet Company presents a special gala in February. Titled “Thank You!” the program consists of scenes from some of the troupe’s most successful repertoires including “Giselle,” “La Bayadere,” “Onegin,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Don Quixote.” Along with the company’s principal dancers, including Hwang Hye-min and Uhm Jae-yong, prominent Korean-born dancers who dance for overseas troupes -- Seo Hee of the American Ballet Theatre and Kang Hyo-jung of the Stuttgart Ballet -- will visit Seoul to join the gala. “Thank You!: The 30th Anniversary Special Gala” runs from Feb. 21-23 at Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. For more information, visit www.universalballet.com
A promotional image of “Still Life” (Bananamoon Project)
“Still Life” (Jeongmulhwa): Award-winning Japanese playwright of Korean descent Miri Yu’s early work “Still Life” will be performed in the Korean language in Seoul this month. The play revolves around five high school girls who form a literary club to share their thoughts about life, writing and friendship. One of the girls, Nanako, constantly thinks about the meaning of death and the afterlife. Yu wrote the play when she was in her early 20s and directed the stage production herself. “Still Life” runs from Feb. 14 to March 16 at Daehangno Arts Theater in Seoul. All tickets cost 25,000 won. For more information, call (02) 764-7462.
“Jersey Boys”: The original Broadway production of “Jersey Boys,” a jukebox musical that features the story of the 1960s rock ‘n’ roll group The Four Seasons, is currently being performed in Seoul. Featured songs include some of the greatest hits by the group and its members, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “My Eyes Adored You” and “Rag Doll.” “Jersey Boys” runs until March 23 at Samsung Card Hall at the Blue Square in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 80,000 won to 140,000 won. For tickets and information, call 1544-1555, or (02) 541-3184.
“The Secret Rapture”: Actress Choo Sang-mi is returning to the stage after a five-year hiatus, with a Korean rendition of “The Secret Rapture,” a 1988 British play by David Hare. It is the first time that the play is being performed in Korea. In the show, Choo plays Isobel, who runs a small graphic design company with her boyfriend, Irwin. She is forced to reunite with her selfish sister Marion, a vice environment minister, when their father dies. The sisters are left to decide what to do with Katherine, their alcoholic and mentally unstable stepmother. “The Secret Rapture” runs from Feb. 7 to March 2 at Dongsoong Arts Center in Seoul. For more information, call 1600-8523.
“Ghost the Musical”: The Korean production of “Ghost the Musical” is being performed in Seoul. The show is an adaptation of the mega-hit 1990 romantic fantasy-thriller film “Ghost,” starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, which was also hugely popular in Korea. The musical had its world premiere in Manchester, England, in 2011, and was also performed on Broadway in 2012. The current Korean production is the first in Asia. It tells the story of Molly, a grieving young woman in danger, and the ghost of her murdered boyfriend Sam, who tries to save her with the help of a wacky psychic. The current run stars some of the most popular musical and TV stars in the country, including Joo Won, Ivy and Park Ji-yeon. “Ghost the Musical” runs until June at D-Cube Arts Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call (02) 557-1987.
“Mamma Mia!”: The global smash hit musical “Mamma Mia” is being performed in Seoul with a British cast. Based on ABBA songs including “Dancing Queen,” “Money, Money, Money” and “Thank You for the Music,” the musical is the hilarious tale of a young bride-to-be’s search for her unknown father. The show premiered in the Korean language starring an all-Korean cast in 2004. This is the first time the musical is being performed here in the English language and starring a cast from London. “Mamma Mia!” runs until March 23 at Blue Square’s Samsung Electronics Hall in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 150,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
“Wicked”: After playing an unhappy Austrian empress (Elisabeth) and a mysterious, obsessive housekeeper (Rebecca), musical actress Oak Ju-hyun is now playing the famous green-skinned witch in Broadway musical “Wicked.” The current run, featuring an all-Korean cast, is the first Korean-language version of the musical. The musical tells the story of two very different witches in the Land of Oz -- the green-skinned, struggling and often-alienated Elphaba, and the beautiful and popular blonde Glinda. The show is a ravishing spectacle and fantasy, mixed with a touching account of the difficulties of youth, life-changing friendship and growing up. “Wicked” is on an open run at Charlotte Theater in Jamsil, Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 140,000 won. For more information, call 1577-3363.
A participant at last year’s Uljin Snow Crab Festival looks at his catch. (Uljin Snow Crab Festivalthe)
“International Snow Crab Festival”: Uljin, famous for its snow crab, holds an annual crab festival just in time for the snow crab season from late winter to early spring. The International Snow Crab Festival will take place at the small port of Hupo from Feb. 28 to March 3. The festival will feature a variety of hands-on experiences such as catching crabs, removing crabs from crab nets and other activities. Various local foods will be served along with steamed snow crabs. For more information, visit http://ujcrab.uljin.go.kr
(Korean only), or call (054) 789-6851.
“Anseong Ice Fishing Festival”: The festival offers a variety of winter activities including ice fishing, ice or snow sledding and folk plays on the Gwanghyewon Reservoir in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province. Organizers have set up a small pool of fish which children can catch using child-friendly fishing tools. With its snow-covered trees, the reservoir is also a good photo zone. Food stalls provide hot food and local delicacies. The festival hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is 5,000 won per person, and it’s free for children under 6. The festival runs until March 3. For more information, call (031) 674-4528 or visit http://dmfestival.co.kr
“Sangam-dong Snow Festival”: One doesn’t have to leave Seoul to enjoy outdoor winter activities. Sangam-dong Snow Festival, taking place at Noeul Park in Sangam-dong, western Seoul, offers a variety of winter activities such as ice sledding, top-spinning and other folk games. The festival boasts a 132-meter sledding slope, the longest in Seoul. The festival’s amusement park zone offers fun rides for children, with bumper cars, snow trains and a robot carriage. Admission for sledding is 8,000 won and a ride costs from 2,000 won to 3,000 won. The package including admission and rides costs 26,000 won. It runs until Feb. 23. For more information, visit www.snowfestival.kr
or call 1566-1851.