|Visitors view artworks at the Korea Galleries Art Fair in 2013. (The Korea Galleries Art Fair)|
The Korea Galleries Art Fair: This art fair, hosted by the Galleries Association of Korea, will be held from March 6 to 9 at Coex, presenting artworks of both emerging and established artists of each participating gallery. The art fair will be showcasing more artists than last year as each gallery may introduce its top five artists. Last year’s art fair allowed galleries to present three artists each. A total of 470 artists will participate in the 32nd art fair, displaying diverse styles and media ranging from painting, sculpture, print, photography and installations to media art. The art fair features high-profile artists of the Korean art scene such as Lee Ufan, Ha Chong-hyun, Kim Jong-hak, Kim Tschang-yeul, Oh Chi-gyun and Kang Ik-joong, as well as emerging talents like Moon Ji-yeon, Yoo Hyun-kyung, Heo Su-young and Kim Ji-won. For more information, visit artkorea.info.
“Kang Yo-bae Drawings: 1985-2014”: Drawings and sketches by Jejudo Island-based artist Kang Yo-bae are being showcased at Hakgojae Gallery until March 30. The art works that he has created in conte, charcoal and pastel over the past 30 years portray the landscape of Jejudo Island in rough texture. Kang has largely depicted the distinctive characteristics of the island, such as its fickle weather, clear seasonal changes and varying sea colors. The gallery is in Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 720-1524~6.
“6-8”: Artworks have escaped the spaces and hours of a regular exhibition at ArtSonje Center in Seoul’s Jongno-gu. At unlikely places, like the rear door of the formal exhibition space, a utility room and the rooftop, installation artworks are being displayed from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Finding the artworks feels like going on a treasure hunt as they are placed in inconspicuous spots, and a museum map guides viewers to each of their locations. If you don’t concentrate on the map, you might miss some of them. The exhibition is open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. until March 29. It is closed on Mondays. Admission is free. For more information, call (02) 733-8945, or visit www.artsonje.org.
Julian Opie: Kukje Gallery is presenting 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 bold colors and outlining them prominently in black. The works on display are paintings, sculptures and pieces made using light-emitting diodes. The exhibition is running from Feb. 13 to March 23 at Kukje Gallery in Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 735-8449.
“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 Seoul tourist destination lined with antique shops, 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.
|A scene from “Kiss & Cry” (LG Arts Center)|
“Two in Two”: Kim Ji-young and Kim Joo-won, two of the most celebrated ballerinas in Korea, will collaborate onstage for the upcoming restaging of choreographer Ahn Sung-soo and fashion designer Jung Kuho’s 2000 piece “Two in Two.” The piece is a mix of tango and flamenco, as well as ballet and contemporary. Joining the two Kims are dancer and choreographer Kim Bo-ram, who was a backup dancer for pop singers Uhm Jung-hwa, Koyote and Lee Jung-hyun from 2000 to 2007, and Jang Kyung-min, who also worked as a backup dancer for pop stars before switching to contemporary dance in 2008. “Two in Two” runs from March 6 to 7 at the Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 40,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300 or 1544-1555.
“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, herself 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 to 31 at LG Arts Center in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, visit www.lgart.com.
London Symphony Orchestra: For the ninth time, the 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.
|Italian ensemble Il Giardino Armonico (Seongnam Arts Center)|
The program includes Vivaldi’s “La Follia” sonata for two violins and basso continuo in D minor, and concertos by George Frideric Handel and Georg Philipp Telemann. The concert will be held on March 12 at Seongnam Arts Center, located near Exit 1 of Imae Station on the Bundang Line of the Seoul Subway. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 100,000 won. Call (031) 783-8000 or visit www.snart.or.kr.
“Don Giovanni”: The Korea National Opera is staging Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s classic opera “Don Giovanni” at Seoul Arts Center for a five-day run beginning March 12.
Revolving around the salacious adventures of the Spanish nobleman and libertine of the same name, the opera is the second of a trilogy Mozart wrote with Italian librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. Directed by Jung Sun-young and conducted by Marco Zambelli, the production features baritones Gong Byung-woo and Cha Jeong-cheol as Don Giovanni and sopranos Noh Jung-ae and Hong Ju-young as Donna Anna. It will be staged at the 1,000-seat CJ Towol Theater. Ticket prices range from 20,000 won to 70,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300.
“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.” The pianist started his professional musical training at 6, entering the Gnessin State Musical College for Gifted Children, made his 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 going on until after 11 p.m. because of dozens of encore performances. For more information, call 1544-1555 or (02) 580-1300.
“Shostakovich by Inbal”: Israeli conductor Eliahu Inbal will lead Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in its performance of Russian composer Dimitry Shostakovich’ works at Seoul Arts Center on March 28. The program consists of Swiss composer Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo, better known as Hebraic Rhapsody, featuring Korean-German Cellist Isang Enders as soloist and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 in G minor. Tickets start from 10,000 won. For more information, call 1588-1210.
“Are You OK?”: Local troupe Gori’s 2012 play “Are You OK?” is back for its second run. The play tells the story of Sook, a migrant worker from Southeast Asia living in a rural town in Korea, and her struggles to adjust to the new surroundings. Themes of prejudice and discrimination are explored in the play, which is set in a small town where everyone knows everyone else and their business. “Are You OK?” is being staged until April 6 at Daehangno Studio 76 in Hyehwa-dong, Seoul. For more information, call 1599-7813.
“Seopyeonje”: A musical adaptation of late author Lee Cheong-jun’s celebrated novel of the same title, “Seopyeonje” is back for another run in Seoul. The musical tells the poignant tale of pansori singers trying to make a living in the modern world by performing their traditional vocal and percussion music. The show debuted in 2011 with much acclaim, winning five prizes at the 2011 The Musical Awards. Popular pansori singer Lee Ja-ram and musical actress Cha Ji-yeon share the lead role of Song-hwa, while Korean-American actor Michael Lee and actor Song Yong-jin star as Dong-ho, Song-hwa’s love interest. The show will run from March 20 to May 11 at Universal Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 110,000 won. For tickets and information, call 1577-3363.
|A scene from “Sheer Madness” (Musical Heaven)|
“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 Hyehwa-dong, Seoul. 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 group’s greatest hits: “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.
“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 with 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. It 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-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 140,000 won. For more information, call 1577-3363.
|Visitors enjoy the view of apricot blossoms at the Gwangyang International Maehwa Festival in 2013.|
(Gwangyang International Maehwa Festival)
2014 Jeju Fire Festival: Participants in the festival will set fire to dry grass on a volcanic hill. Burning dry grass on embankments around fields soon to be tilled is an age-old Korean folk activity, a rite reflecting farmers’ wish to burn the bad luck of last year and usher in good luck for the New Year. The award-winning festival in its 17th year will take place on Saebyeol Oreum, a volcanic hill in Aeywol-eup on Jejudo Island, from March 7 to 9. The burning of grass will take place on March 9 from 7:50 p.m. to 8:10 p.m. The festival presents other folk activities such as a tug of war, as well as horse riding and the opportunity to taste diverse local dishes. For more information, visit www.buriburi.go.kr (English available).
Yangpyeong Strawberry Festival: Visitors are invited to pick as many strawberries as their baskets can hold at more than 10 strawberry farms in Yangpyeong, northern Gyeonggi Province. The strawberry festival, to be held from Feb. 25 to May 31, also offers diverse strawberry foods such as strawberry rice cakes, sauce and jams. Those wishing to participate in the festival can choose a strawberry farm and book their trip at the chosen farm in advance online at festival.ypnadri.com. A single trip to a strawberry farm costs 26,000 won. Participants can spend about five hours at the farm picking strawberries and trying out various foods made with strawberries. For more information, call (031) 774-5427, 5431.
Travis: 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, rock band Travis first formed in the early 1990s out of Glasgow and made a name for itself as one of the most well-respected musicians from the U.K. Although Travis has always seemed to float below the radar in terms of some today’s most iconic rock bands, the rockers are still often credited for having influenced iconic British bands such as Coldplay and Keane. Travis will perform the group’s 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.
|The Hives will perform live for the first time in Korea at the Uniqlo AX Hall in Seoul on April 2. (The Hives Facebook)|
Jeff Beck: The legendary English rock guitarist Jeff Beck will be putting on a special solo concert performance in Seoul this April. Beck was once ranked at the No. 5 spot on Rolling Stone Magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and was described as “one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock.” The 69-year-old has had one of the most illustrious rock and roll careers as a former member of the Yardbirds playing alongside other rock legends Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page and has landed himself in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, both as a solo artist and as a member of the Yardbirds. Beck will be performing live at the Olympic Hall on April 27. Tickets range from 88,000 won to 154,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
John Mayer: The multiple Grammy Award winning America pop/folk singer John Mayer will be putting on his first concert in Korea since he made his musical debut more than 10 years ago. Mayer released his official debut in 2001 with his first album “Room for Squares” and featured a number of hit singles including “No Such Thing,” “Why Georgia” and “Your Body Is a Wonderland,” which snagged Mayer his first Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 2003. The upcoming concert event is the 14th installment of the Hyundai Card Culture Project series, which in the past brought acts such as The Killers, Keane, John Legend, Ke$ha, Jason Mraz and many other. Mayer will perform on May 6 at the Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul. Ticket prices are listed between 110,000 won and 132,000 won, with a special “couple package” listed at 300,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.