Andras Schiff recital: Virtuoso pianist, pedagogue and lecturer Andras Schiff will hold a recital on March 25 at Seoul Arts Center. Although he is known here for his interpretations of the music of Beethoven and Bach, the Hungarian-born musician’s repertoire also covers Mozart, Schubert and Schumann. At the Seoul concert, he will play works by two Romantic Era composers, Mendelssohn and Schumann. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 130,000 won. For details, call (02) 541-3184.
|Andras Schiff recital|
“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 “Hebrew Rhapsody” and featuring Korean-German cellist Isang Enders as a soloist, as well as Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 in G minor. Ticket prices range from 10,000 won to 70,000 won. For more information, call 1588-1210.
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 playing 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.
“The Elixir of Love”: Sol’Opera presents Donizetti’s comic opera “L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love),” with the Rome Opera House. Written in a mere six weeks, the two-act opera revolves around a young peasant named Nemorino, who, fooled by a con man named Dr. Dulcamara, drinks a fake love potion to try to win Adina, his landowner and the girl of his dreams. One of the most frequently performed operas in the world, the work contains the well-known tenor aria “Una Furtiva Lagrima (A Furtive Tear).” It will run three nights from April 3 at the Opera House of Seoul Arts Center. Ticket prices range from 30,000 won to 200,000 won.Pop music
“Travis Live in Seoul”: Scottish rock band Travis is returning to Korea with its first solo concert in Seoul in five years. Led by Fran Healy on vocals, Travis first formed in the early ’90s in Glasgow and made a name for itself as one of the most well-respected acts from the U.K. Although Travis has always seemed to float below the radar, without having joined the ranks of the most iconic rock bands, the rockers are still often credited with having influenced British bands such as Coldplay and Keane. Travis will perform its upcoming solo concert at the Olympic Hall at 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.
“Monni Follow My Voice”: Local rock band Monni officially debuted in 2005 with the studio album “The First Day, the Light.” Since then, the band has slowly climbed out of the small-time local club scene to play at some of the country’s most popular summer rock festivals. It has been nearly three years since Monni has released a full studio album and the group is finally making its return with its third album, “Follow My Voice.” Monni will be holding a number of solo concerts ahead of the release of the album, including performances at Yongsan Art Hall in Seoul from April 4-6. The band will then perform in Busan on April 12 and Daegu on April 19 before returning to Seoul and hosting two more shows at the Sangsang Madang on April 26-27. For more information on ticket prices and reservations, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
|Monni will perform its first series of solo concerts at Yongsan Art Hall in Seoul April 4-6. (Modern Boy Record)|
“Jeff Beck”: The legendary English rock guitarist Jeff Beck will be putting on a special solo concert in Seoul this April. Beck was once ranked No. 5 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list and was described as “one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock.” The 69-year-old has had an illustrious rock ’n’ roll career as a former member of the Yardbirds, playing alongside fellow 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 Seoul Olympic Park’s 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.
“Hyundai Culture Project 14 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 debuted in 2001 with his album “Room for Squares,” featuring 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 others. Mayer will perform on May 6 at Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul. Ticket prices are listed between 110,000 won and 132,000 won, with a special “couple package” at 300,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.Exhibitions
“Spectacle in Perspective”: Plateau, Samsung Museum of Art presents a solo exhibition of Jung Yeon-doo, the “Artist of the Year” in 2007. His works deal with the lives of ordinary people. They include families residing in a Seoul apartment complex, middle-aged male fans of K-Pop girl group Crayon Pop and shop clerks at luxury boutiques in Ginza, Tokyo. The artist also presents his interpretation of Auguste Rodin’s monumental sculpture “The Gates of Hell” using Oculus Rift, an optical device for 3D visualization. The exhibition runs from March 13 to June 8 at Plateau. The museum is closed on Mondays. For more information, call 1577-7595, or visit www.plateau.or.kr.
|“Crayon Pop Special” by Jung Yeon-doo (Plateau)|
“Eliminate Points, Lines and Planes”: Artist Kim In-bai is presenting faceless, abstract sculptures for his solo exhibition celebrating the reopening of Arario Gallery Seoul. Titled “Eliminate Points, Lines and Planes,” the exhibition seeks to break stereotypes about human figures. Instead of faces or heads for his sculptures, the artist has used geometrical forms. His latest works are a combination of geometrical forms and muscular body structures. The exhibition runs until April 13 at Arario Gallery Seoul in Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 541-5701.
“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, showcase 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.Festivals
“Sansuyu Flower Festival”: The hot spring district of Mount Jirisan will be in a sea of yellow blossoms in March as blooming sansuyu flowers (cornus officinalis) cover the mountain. Some 40 events will be held during the festival. They includes a ritual wishing for a bumper crop, performances of Korean vocal music, farmers’ music and dances, as well as demonstrations of traditional cultural arts from around the world. Visitors may also enjoy a trial making of wine and rice cake using sansuyu flowers as ingredients. The festival runs from March 22-30 at Mount Jirisan, Gurye, South Jeolla Province. For more information, call (061) 780-2727 or visit www.sansuyu.go.kr.
|Scenic view of Mount Jirisan covered with Sansuyu flowers (Yonhap)|
“Jinhae Gunhangje Festival”: One of Korea’s largest cherry blossom festivals will be held from April 1 to 10 in Jinhae, home to the Korean Navy base. Cherry trees covered with beautiful pink and white blossoms will grace streets, parks and mountains in the city. Gorgeous blossoms will line the road from the Naval Academy to the Naval Base Command. Other cherry blossom sites include the 5.7 km-long Anmin Road, Mount Jaehwangsan and Yeojwacheon Romance Bridge. The bridge road was once selected as one of the 100 most beautiful roads in Korea. The festival is held throughout Jinhae. For more information, visit http://gunhang.changwon.go.kr, or call (055) 225-2341.
“Gwangyang International Maehwa Festival”: This festival welcomes spring each year with apricot blossoms in Gwangyang, a southwestern city famous for its many apricot trees. The festival, running from March 22 to 30, will take place in different venues in the city in South Jeolla Province. Visitors will be able to enjoy a variety of events amid the apricot blossoms such as a photography contest and concerts. Local dishes cooked with Gwangyang apricots will be introduced at an apricot food contest. For more information, visit www.gwangyang.go.kr/gymaehwa.Dance
“Altar”: Fashion designer Jung Kuho and the National Dance Company of Korea’s collaboration “Altar” is being restaged in May and June. The dance is choreographed by local artist Ahn Sung-soo, who also choreographed the Korean National Ballet and Jung’s “Poise” last year. Jung is directing the upcoming performance, and is in charge of the stage and costume design, music, hair,makeup and lighting. The piece features the East and the concept of shared and imagined Koreanness. “Altar” will be performed on May 31, June 4 and 6 at the National Theater of Korea in Seoul. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 70,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2280-4114-6.
“Bul-Ssang”: The Korea National Contemporary Dance Company is opening its 2014 season with “Bul-Ssang,” a 2009 piece choreographed by the troupe’s artistic director Ahn Ae-soon. The dance is known for its use of pop art Buddha statues and choreography that combines traditional dance and martial arts from different Asian countries including China, Japan, Korea and Mongolia. The dance is known for its exploration of Asian traditions and their conflict with modernity and the West, with a lot of humor and twists in the choreography. It is one of the most famous pieces created by Ahn, who was appointed the troupe’s head last year. “Bul-Ssang” runs from March 21-22 at Seoul Arts Center’s CJ Towol Theater in Seocho-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, visit www.kncdc.kr.
“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. “La Bayadere” will run from March 13-16 at Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater in Seocho-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 5,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call (02) 587-6181 or 1566-1369.
|A scene from “La Bayadere” (KNB)|
“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.Theater
“Full House”: The homegrown musical “Full House” is kicking off its first run in April. Based on manga artist Won Soo-yeon’s 1993 hit series of the same name, the musical deals with an unusual romance between a famous actor and a scriptwriter. Won’s manga was made into a popular TV series back in 2004, starring Rain and Song Hye-gyo in the leading roles. “Full House” runs from April 11 to June 8 at Hongik Daehangno Art Center in Hongdae district, Seoul. Tickets range from 55,000 won to 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 744-4350.
“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.
“Shear Madness”: The Korean adaptation of the popular German play “Shear Madness” is back for its second run in Seoul. Premiered in 1963, the play takes place in a hair salon owned by a gay hairdresser named George. After he and his flirty assistant Suji welcome two customers, one a wealthy housewife and other an antiques dealer, the landlady of the shop is murdered upstairs. The audience is asked to participate in solving the case, helping to figure out who the murderer is among the four in the salon. “Shear Madness” is currently on an open run at Daehangno Culture Space Feeling 2 in Hyehwa-dong, Seoul. Tickets cost 30,000 won. For more information, call (02) 744-4334.
“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.
|A scene from “Jersey Boys” (Mast Entertainment)|
“Jersey Boys”: The original Broadway production of “Jersey Boys,” a jukebox musical that features the story of the ’60s 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.