The Great Battle of Hansan Festival: The festival commemorates Korea’s historic victory in the Hansan sea battle during the Joseon period. The Joseon fleet commanded by Adm. Yi Sun-sin battled Japanese invaders in waters off Tongyeong near Hansando Island in 1592. The city of Tongyeong commemorates Yi’s victory with a parade, musicals, dances and cultural programs involving visitors. The festival will take place from Aug. 13-17 at various venues of the city, including Yi Sun-sin Park and Youngsan Plaza. For more information, visit www.hansanf.org (only Korean available).
|Performers in traditional armor during the previous Great Battle of Hansan Festival in Tongyeong (The Great Battle of Hansan Festival)|
Chungju World Martial Arts Festival: The 2014 edition of the annual martial arts festival will stage martial arts of Korean and foreign origin including the traditional Korean martial arts taekkyeon, taekwondo and hapkido. Foreign martial arts teams will demonstrate their skills. Little known martial arts will be introduced such as Brazilian capoeira, Russian sambo and Cambodian bokator. Officially sponsored by UNESCO, the festival will be held from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1 at the World Martial Arts Park in Chungju. For more information, visit www.martialarts.or.kr.
Yukuijeon Festival: The festival offers a chance to revisit the old market that flourished in Jongno and the adjacent Cheonggye area during the Joseon period. Yukuijeon were stores that sold six items including paper, linen, silk, cotton and fish. Organizers will set up stalls selling the six items on the streets in the area. Cultural programs including traditional performances and craftsmanship classes will add to the festive mood. Food stalls will delight visitors seeking Korean traditional tastes. The festival will be held from Sept. 20-21 along the Cheonggyecheon Stream. For more information, visit www.yukuijeon.com (only Korean available).
Busan Sea Festival: Live concerts, dance performances and fun activities will entertain vacationers who visit the five beaches of Busan during the Busan Sea Festival from Aug. 1-7. A spate of minor festivals will add to a festive mood on Haeundae, Gwanganli, Songdo, Songjeong and Dadaepo beaches. Highlights include a magic show at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 7, on Haeundae Beach; salsa dances at 7 p.m. from Aug. 8-9; and a tango night at 7 p.m., Aug. 9, on Gwanganli Beach. For more information, visit www.seafestival.co.kr.
“Director’s Cut”: Photographs by the artist Insane Park are not images of original objects or people. They are “second-hand” versions of existing images that he chose from movies and the Internet. He takes pictures of the images shown on a computer screen and edits them using photo-editing programs. Images are collected from David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” and randomly from the Internet. The audience will have the impression of looking into a photo file on a computer screen. The exhibition runs through Aug. 24 at Arario Gallery Seoul. For more information, visit www.arariogallery.com.
|One of the 12 images of “Brightness” by Insane Park (Arario Gallery)|
“Confession of a Mask”: This exhibition, titled “Confession of a Mask,” the name of a famous Japanese novel, asks whether confessions and secrets shared on social networking sites reveal who a person really is. With the increasing use of social networking platforms, more people are revealing their private lives online, but do their personal updates really reveal the truth? The dozens of participating artists are all attempting to answer this important question about the digital era. The exhibition runs through Sept. 14 at the Seoul National University Museum of Art. The admission fee is 3,000 won. For more information, visit snumoa.org.
“Shinseon Play”: This outdoor summer cooling spot, installed in the front garden of the Seoul Museum of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, is an architectural installation by Moon Ji Bang, a group of three architects that won the prestigious Young Architects Program run by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The installation is comprised of more than 30 white balloons which create shade where visitors can rest while sitting on benches. A mist of water from sprinklers cools off the hot summer air in a forest of high-rise buildings. It is on exhibit until Oct. 5. For more information, visit www.mmca.go.kr.
“Edvard Munch and the Modern Soul”: This exhibition presents 99 works by Munch created in diverse mediums throughout his artistic career, ranging from oil paintings, drawings and lithographs to photographs. They include Munch’s most famous works: “The Scream,” “Madonna,” “The Dance of Life” and “Starry Night.” The exhibition will be a good chance to gain insight into the artist’s life. The panoramic view of his works shows how his style changed over the course of his career, highlighting his gift to express emotions and characters in symbolic images. The exhibition will run until Oct. 12 at Hangaram Museum in the Seoul Arts Center. Tickets cost 15,000 won for adults, 12,000 won for teenagers and 10,000 won for children under 12. For more information, visit www.munchseoul.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 edition will include performances by popular English psychedelic-rock band Kasabian, Travis, 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 information on ticket prices and reservations, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
|Travis (Travis Facebook)|
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 Aug. 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.
Super Sonic: The upcoming Super Sonic 2014 music festival will be headlined by Brian May and Roger Taylor of the legendary English rock band Queen. Taking the place of the late Freddie Mercury will be Adam Lambert, the runner-up of season eight of “American Idol,” who has been filling the shoes of Queen’s former lead vocalist on and off over the past few years. Other acts of the night will include Phoenix, The 1975 and American singer-songwriter duo A Great Big World. Local bands No Brain, Crying Nut, Sultan of the Disco and Gateflowers are also slated to perform. Super Sonic 2014 will be held on Aug. 14 in the Auxiliary Stadium at Seoul’s Jamsil Sports Complex. Ticket prices range from 165,000 won to 240,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
DITTO encore recital: Two months after this year’s DITTO festival which was themed around Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the four members of the ensemble DITTO, led by violist Richard Yongjae O’Neill, are reuniting for an encore recital. Grammy award-winning Parker Quartet and oboist Ham Gyeong will join the concert, which takes place on Aug. 31 at Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall. The program consists of three compositions by Mozart, including Divertimento for String Trio in E-Flat Major K.563 and Oboe Quartet in F major, K.370/368b. Tickets cost 30,000 won to 80,000 won. For details, call 1577-5266.
|Ensemble DITTO (Sangwook Lee)|
“Summer Classic Concert”: Chungmu Art Hall is presenting a series of concerts from July 30 through Aug. 2, with the aim of making classical music more accessible. Taking the stage of its 320-seat Black Theater on July 30 will be pianist Cho Jae-hyuck, followed by pop-opera trio Troubard on July 31, piano trio Jade on Aug. 1 and violinist Kim Ji-yun on Aug. 2. All tickets are 15,000 won. For details, call (02) 2230-6601.
“Great Mountains International Music Festival”: The annual Great Mountains festival will run from July 25-Aug. 5 under the theme of “O Sole Mio,” highlighting music from southern Europe ― namely Spain and Italy. A total of 12 concerts will take place at the Alpensia Resort in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province, and another 10 in other cities in the province. Artists participating in this year’s festival include Spanish flamenco dancer Beln Cabanes; conductor Antoni Ros Marb; guitarist Xuefei Yang; soprano Kathleen Kim; mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong; violinists Svetlin Roussev, Clara-Jumi Kang, Kwun Hyuk-joo; cellists Jian Wang and Llus Claret; and pianists Kevin Kenner, Kim Dasol and Kim Tae-hyung. Cellist Chung Myung-wha and violinist Chung Kyung-wha, the festival’s coartistic directors, will also perform. For more information about the festival and its program, visit www.gmmfs.com.
Opera “Tosca”: Korea’s Sol’Opera and Italy’s Rome Opera House are jointly presenting Puccini’s tragic opera “Tosca” for two nights at the Grand Theater of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in Seoul. One of the most beloved operas, “Tosca” is a compelling story of love and death, revolving around the beautiful opera singer Tosca, who is in love with the artist Cavaradossi. The tragedy unfolds as chief of police, Scarpia, becomes infatuated with Tosca and stops at nothing to attain the object of his desire. The joint production features a predominantly Italian artistic team, including an Italian conductor, director, stage designer and costume designers, while three Korean singers have joined in the cast. “Tosca” will be staged at 8 p.m. on Aug. 22 and 5 p.m. on Aug 23. Ticket prices range from 30,000 won to 280,000 won. For more information, call 1544-9373.
“Sleeping Beauty on Ice”: The ice ballet rendition of Sleeping Beauty has captivated audiences for decades since its premiere in St. Petersburg, Russia. Founded in 1967, the Saint-Petersburg State Ballet on Ice will be continuing its long-held tradition by bringing its performance of “Sleeping Beauty on Ice” to Korea. The award-winning cast of ice skaters soar through the air in stunningly visual twists and turns in their ballet-inspired choreography of the classic children’s tale. The performance will take place at the Uijeongbu Arts Center in Gyeonggi Province on Aug. 5 and 6. Ticket prices range from 20,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Don Quixote”: Following the Korean National Ballet’s production of “Don Quixote” in June, Korea’s Universal Ballet is scheduled to present its own rendition of the classic tale of humor and adventure. Based on the eponymous novel by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, the ballet version first made its premiere more than 260 years ago and has since become one of the ballet world’s most beloved comical productions. “Don Quixote” will run from Aug. 15-17 at the Chungmu Art Hall’s Grand Theatre in Seoul. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 80,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
|A scene from “Prince Hodong” (The Korea National Ballet)|
“Prince Hodong”: The Korea National Ballet is slated to restage its production of “Prince Hodong,” an original work based on the traditional Korean tale “Princess Nakrang and Prince Hodong” ― a dramatic cultural tale of love, war and death. The ballet is a modernized retelling of the classic tale, combining elements of Western artistic culture with traditional Korean culture. “Prince Hodong” will be staged on Aug. 29 and 30 at the Sungnam Arts Center in Seoul. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“Wait a Second”: A hybrid play of mime and dance, “Wait a Second,” tells the story of a troupe of street performers. The troupe wants to put on a creative show that will elicit a positive reaction from the audience. They use famous paintings from the 19th century as the subject of their performance. Familiar paintings, such as Monet’s “Woman with a Parasol,” Millet’s “The Harvesters” and Klimt’s “The Three Ages of Woman,” are used as sources of the story and inspiration to share the troupe’s passion with the audience. “Wait a Second” runs from July 29 to Aug. 10 at Guerrilla Theater in Daehakro. Tickets are 20,000 won for adults and 15,000 won for teenagers. For more information, call 02-764-7462.
|A scene from “Wait a Second” (Bananamoon Project)|
“Wedding Shoes”: A musical about “comfort women,” Asian women who were forced into sex slavery for Japanese soldiers during World War II, “Wedding Shoes” is getting a Seoul run after its premiere in Daegu earlier this month. The musical tells the story of Soon-ok, a 16-year-old girl from a poor peasant family who is happily engaged to the love of her life, Yun-jae. On the day of their wedding, her humble but happy life turns into a nightmare as she is enlisted against her will to provide sex to Japanese soldiers at the war front. Veteran musical actress Kang Hyo-sung plays Soon-ok, opposite Seo Beok-seok as Yun-jae. “Wedding Shoes” will run through Aug. 17 at Mapo Art Center. Ticket prices range from 55,000 won to 99,000 won. For details, call (02) 420-2920.
“Dracula”: One of the most-anticipated musicals this season, “Dracula” raised its curtain on July 15 for a Korean premiere. With a score by Frank Wildhorn of “Jekyll & Hyde,” the musical is based on the original Victorian novel by Bram Stoker of the same title. Kim Jun-su, the hottest musical star in the scene, plays Count Dracula, who loves one woman for more than 1,000 years. Veteran actor Ryu Jung-han shares the role with Kim. It runs through Sept. 5 at Seoul Arts Center’s Opera House. Ticket prices range from 50,000 won to 140,000 won. For details, call (02) 580-1300.
“Priscilla”: A jukebox musical from Australia, “Priscilla” is getting a Korean premiere. Full of well-known pop songs like “It’s Raining Men,” “True Colors,” “Material Girl” and “I Will Survive,” the show tells the story of two drag queens and a transsexual who travel from Sydney to a remote town in the Australian desert aboard their lavender bus, Priscilla, to put on a drag show. The cast includes Cho Sung-ha, a TV actor making his musical debut, Korean-American musical actor Michael Lee, 2AM member Jo Kwon and singer-turned-musical actor Lee Ji-hoon. “Priscilla” runs through Sept. 29 at LG Arts Center near Exit No. 7 of Yeoksam Station. Ticket prices range from 50,000 won to 130,000 won. For details, visit www.musicalpriscilla.co.kr or call 1577-3363.
“42nd Street”: The classic Broadway tap dance musical “42nd Street” is getting a Korean revival. Veteran actors and actresses Nam Jyung-joo, Kim Young-ho, Park Hae-min and Hong Ji-min have teamed up for the show, well known for its beautiful score and synchronized tap ensembles. It runs through Aug. 31 at CJ Towol Theater at Seoul Arts Center, southern Seoul. For tickets and inquiries, call (02) 580-1300.
“Cats”: The original production of the Broadway classic “Cats” is having its first Korean run in six years. The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2011, is the second-longest-running show in Broadway history. It tells the story of the Jellicles, a tribe of cats who assemble for their annual junkyard gathering at which one is chosen to be reborn to a new life. One by one, the kittens take center stage to make their case for rebirth, singing and dancing. “Cats” runs through Aug. 24 at Blue Square in Itaewon-dong, Seoul. Ticket prices range from 50,000 won to 140,000 won. For more information, call 1577-3363 or visit www.musicalcats.co.kr.
“A Tale of Two Cities”: A musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Tale of Two Cities” is getting a third run in Korea since premiering here in 2012. The musical tells the story of Sydney Carton, a shrewd young English lawyer who develops a strong, unrequited love for Frenchwoman Lucie Manette. It is set against the social conflicts between rebels and aristocrats during the French Revolution and the parallels in 18th-century London. Actors Seo Bhum-seok, Lee Kun-myung and Han Ji-sang will share the lead male role. It runs through Aug. 3 at Haeorum Theater of the National Theater of Korea in Seoul. Ticket prices range from 60,000 won to 130,000 won. For details, call 1577-3363 or visit www.twocities.co.kr.