“Mookhyang”: Fashion designer Jung Kuho’s dance “Mookhyang (Scent of Ink)” is returning for its second run in June. The piece is his second collaboration with the National Dance Company of Korea, a group that specializes in traditional Korean dance. It is inspired by Korean traditional ink painting and pays special attention to the “four noble ones,” the four plants believed to epitomize Korea’s Confucian aesthetics: bamboo, the chrysanthemum, the plum blossom and the orchid. The four were praised for their beauty and resilience, and often painted by artists during the Joseon era. “Mookhyang” runs from June 1-7 at the National Theater of Korea in Jangchung-dong, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 2280-4114 or visit www.ntok.go.kr.
“Altar”: Fashion designer Jung Kuho and the National Dance Company of Korea’s collaboration “Altar” is being restaged in May and June. The dance was 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, hairstyling, makeup and lighting. The piece explores the concepts of “the East” and of shared and imagined Koreanness. “Altar” will be performed on May 31, June 4 and June 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.
|A scene from “Madame Butterfly” (credia)|
“Madame Butterfly:” Austria’s Innsbruck Dance Company is presenting its production of “Madame Butterfly” for three nights from July 4 at Seoul Arts Center in Seoul. An adaption from Puccini’s famous opera by the same name, the work was premiered in October last year in Austria. Kang Sue-jin, a principal dancer at Stuttgart Ballet and artistic director of the Korean National Ballet, will dance the lead role in all of the three performances. Ticket prices ranges from 40,000 won to 200,000 won. For details, call 1577-5266 or visit www.clubbalcony.com. Theater
“Constellation”: British playwright Nick Payne’s Constellation will be staged at Seoul Art Center. The play is about love, free will and friendship as Roland and Marianne, a beekeeper and a cosmologist, respectively, carry on a conversation throughout the play. Their romance proceeds against the backdrop of the cosmos and the universe. The play premiered at the Royal Court Theater in London and has been staged all around the world. “Constellation“ runs until June 1 at Seoul Art Center’s Jayu Theater. There are two kinds of tickets: 25,000 won and 40,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300.
|A scene from “Constellation” (Seoul Arts Center)|
“Miss France”: Popular TV and film actress Kim Sung-ryung is returning to the stage after seven years, starring in “Miss France,” a Korean adaptation of the French comic play “Jamais 2 Sans 2.” She appears as Fleur de Senlis, the president of a local pageant committee in France and a former contest winner. The character loses the ability to speak after learning that the winner of last year’s pageant posed nude for an obscene magazine. “Miss France” runs from May 15 to July 13 at Seoul Daehangno Soohyunjae Theater. All tickets cost 50,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
“Princess Deokhye”: A musical on the life of Deokhye (1912-1989), the last princess of the Joseon era, is being staged in Seoul. Born in 1912, after Joseon was annexed by Japan, Deokhye was taken to Japan at age 12, went to school in Tokyo and was forced to marry Japanese Count So Takeyuki at age 19. While suffering from mental illness and an unhappy marriage, she gave birth to a daughter, Masae, in 1932. The princess’ life took another tragic turn when her daughter went missing, and her health condition worsened. She was sent to a mental hospital, and finally divorced her husband in 1953. “Princess Deokhye” runs from May 1 to June 1 at Seongsu Art Hall in Seoul. Tickets range from 45,000 won to 60,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
“Le Roi Soleil”: The Korean production of French musical “Le Roi Soleil,” based on the life of Louis XIV, is being performed at the Blue Square in Seoul. Actor Ahn Jae-wook and Shin Sung-rok share the role of Louis XIV. Actresses Yoon Gong-ju and Kim So-hyun are starring as Francoise, the second wife of Louis XIV. The show will run until June 1. Tickets are 60,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1591 or visit www.leroisoleil.co.kr.
“Bonnie & Clyde”: The Broadway musical “Bonnie & Clyde” is being staged in Seoul for the second time. The musical tells the infamous story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the well-known robbers who roamed the central United States during the Great Depression. The show had its Broadway premiere in 2011 and was nominated for two Tony awards in 2012. “Bonnie & Clyde” runs until June 29 at BBC Arts Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call 1588-0688.Festivals
Yangpyeong Catfish Festival: The festival kicks off summer with programs such as catching catfish by hand and battling with water cannons and water guns. If it rains, visitors can do additional water sports such as rafting. Festival packages vary depending on campsites, camping gear, activities and meals or snacks. The festival will run from June 6 to Aug. 31 at Sumi Village in Bongsang-ri, Danwol-myeon, Yangpyeong. For more information, visit summerfestival.kr.
|A participant catches a catfish during the Yangpyeong Catfish Festival last year. (Yangpyeong Catfish Festival)|
Everland Rose Festival: A variety of roses are in full bloom at Everland in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province. The amusement park displays 676 kinds of roses, including rare types such as Garden Party, John F. Kennedy, Moon Shadow and Casanova, during its annual rose festival which will last until June 15. The outdoor theater, Jungfrau, is playing animations by Studio Ghibli every day at 7:30 p.m. until June 8. The animations include “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Howl’s Moving Castle.” For more information, visit, www.everland.com.
Gangneung Danoje Festival: Gangneung celebrates a shamanistic ritual of the Joseon era during the Danoje Festival from May 31 to June 6. The festival, designated a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage” by UNESCO in 2005, invites visitors to participate in traditional rituals such as wrestling, tug-of-war and washing one’s hair in iris-infused water. For more information, call (033) 641-1593 at Dongbo Travel or visit www.danojefestival.or.kr.Exhibitions
Roni Horn: Kukje Gallery presents a solo exhibition of American artist Roni Horn. The exhibition displays two distinct, but interrelated bodies of her works: photographs and sculptures. The artist invites viewers to powerful yet beautiful visual meditations of his photographs of faces and his cube structures. The exhibition runs through June 22 at Kukje Gallery in Jongno, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 735-8449.
|An installation at the Roni Horn exhibition at Kukje Gallery (Roni Horn/Keith Park)|
“A Dream I Dreamed”: Major works by celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama are on exhibit at Seoul Arts Center. The exhibition showcases about 120 works, including new pieces such as a room and a tulip installation covered in colorful polka dots. Her signature yellow “Pumpkin” sculpture and paintings are also on display. The exhibition, which started at Daegu Art Museum last year, will travel to China, Macau, Taiwan and India after the Seoul exhibition. Seoul Arts Center recommends booking in advance to avoid waiting in line. Reservations are available online at www.interpark.com. The museum also provides free admission for children accompanied by guardians on Mondays until the end of May. Up to two children per adult are granted free admission. For more information, call (02) 580-13000.
“ARTSPECTRUM”: Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art is holding its biennial exhibition “ARTSPECTRUM.” The exhibition features 10 emerging artists selected by the museum curators and art experts in consideration of their artistic potential and the fresh input they are expected to bring to the Korean art world. The artists are showcasing artworks in diverse media including painting, sculpture, installation and performance. Scientist and artist Song Ho-jun’s satellite launch project consists of installations and quizzes for the audience. Lee Wan discusses his quest to trace the origins of products such as sugar, a jacket and rice through a video work. The exhibition runs through June 28. For more information, visit www.leeum.org.
“This is a Landscape of Desire”: The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is exhibiting works by Danish media artist Jesper Just until Aug. 3. Just gained international fame after representing the Danish pavilion as a media artist at the Venice Biennale last year. His first Seoul exhibition will feature 13 works from his decade-long artistic career. His works consist of two scenes showing different perspectives of each protagonist. Scenes on two screens hung on opposite walls are mysterious. For more information, call (02) 2188-6000 or visit www.mmca.go.kr.
“Then and Now”: The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is holding an exhibition for the 60th anniversary of the National Academy of Arts at Deoksugung Palace Museum until July 27. The exhibition showcases 79 artworks by 35 late members and 22 current members of the respected art institution. The works on display include paintings, sculptures and crafts made by renowned artists who have played pioneering roles in Korean modern and contemporary art. For more information, visit www.mmca.go.kr.Pop music
Ultra Korea Music Festival: The annual Ultra Music Festival, one of the world’s largest outdoor electronica music fests, will be in full swing in Seoul once again. Last summer’s event drew more than 80,000 EDM fans. And like last year, this year’s lineup will include a handful of world famous DJ acts including Steve Aoki, Above & Beyond, Steve Angello and Paul Vanduk. The festival will be held on June 13 and 14 at Seoul Olympic Park’s Olympic Stadium Complex. Tickets are listed at 130,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
|Maroon 5 (Maroon 5 official website)|
Monni Rock Concert Vol. 3: Local rock band Monni 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 released a full studio album, and the group is making its return with its third album, “Follow My Voice.” Monni will put on a concert at the Gunpo Art Center in Gyeonggi Province on June 29. For more information on ticket prices and reservations, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
Hyundai Card City Break: The newly inaugurated Hyundai Card City Break music festival is returning for its second year and is slated to be headlined by big-name artists Maroon 5 and Psy, along with many other notable acts. This year’s City Break festival promises to bring in more than 30 acts, with its first lineup including American rock guitarist Richie Sambora, U.S. indie-rock band The Neighbourhood and local talents Lee Juck and Nell. Last year’s inaugural event attracted more than 75,000 rock fans and included performances by Metallica, Muse, Iggy and The Stooges and Limp Bizkit, among others. The two-day music festival will be held on August 9 and 10 at the Seoul World Cup Stadium. Tickets are listed at 230,000 won for a two-day pass, and Hyundai Card members will receive a 20 percent discount. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival: The annual Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival, a three-day rock music fest, is one of the nation’s most popular summer music events. This year’s lineup will include performances by popular English psychedelic-rock band Kasabian, Boys Like Girls and more to be announced soon. The festival will also include performances by a wide-range of local bands including Dear Cloud, PIA and Romantic Punch. In its eight-year history, Pentaport has hosted internationally notable acts such as Korn, Snow Patrol, Hoobastank, Deftones, Placebo and Fall Out Boy. This year’s Pentaport will be held from Aug. 1-3. For more information on ticket prices and reservations, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra: Maestro Chung Myung-whun will lead his Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in two performances of Mahler symphonies. On May 23, the orchestra will play Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with soloist Lim Ju-hee and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” will fill the second concert on June 5, which will feature soprano Kathleen Kim and mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova. Both concerts will be held at Seoul Arts Center. For details, call 1588-1210.
Ivry Gitlis recital: Legendary violinist Ivry Gitlis will perform at LG Arts Center in southern Seoul on May 25. At 92, the Israeli musician is the oldest performing violinist in the world. At the Seoul concert, which will be recorded live by Sound Mirror Korea, he will perform works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Paganini. Tickets cost 50,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114 or visit www.lgart.com.
Two Japanese orchestras: The New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra will hold concerts in Seoul on May 29 and June 1, respectively. The New Japan Philharmonic will perform works by Mozart, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and others, with Pascal Rophe holding the baton. Korean pianist Lim Dong-min will join as a soloist. Prior to the concert at Seoul Arts Center, it will hold concerts in Busan and Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on May 27 and 28, respectively. For more information call (02) 599-5743. NHK Symphony, led by conductor Junichi Hirokami, will present works by Prokofiev and Mahler, with Korean pianist Son Yeol-eum and soprano Rosa Feola. The concert will also be staged at Seoul Arts Center. Tickets are priced from 30,000 won. For more information, call (02) 6303-1977.
“Soul Mate:” The Korea National Opera is presenting opera “Soul Mate” by June H. Lim from May 31-June 1 at Seoul Arts Center. A comedy depicting traditional Korean wedding ceremonies and customs, “Soul Mate” is one of Korea’s most successful operas. It premiered in 2006 at the Frankfurt Opera House under the name “The Wedding” and was critically acclaimed for its blend of Korean and European culture. The production has beefed up its dramatic elements with the help of a team of thespian professionals: director Seo Jae-hyung and playwright Han Areum. Tickets run from 10,000 won to 100,000 won. For details, call (02) 586-5284.
|A poster for the Hong Hei-kyung recital (credia)|
Hong Hei-kyung recital: Celebrating 30 years at the top U.S. opera house, the Metropolitan Opera, soprano Hong Hei-kyung is holding a recital at Seoul Arts Center on June 12. The program includes famous arias from Mozart’s operas “The Clemency of Titus,” “The Marriage of Figaro” and some Italian classics, such as “La Boheme,” “Rigoletto” and “La Traviata.” Ticket prices start at 40,000 won. For more information, visit www.clubbalcony.com or call 1577-5266.