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Classical music

The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra: Maestro Mariss Jansons will conduct his Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in two concerts at Seoul Arts Center. On Nov. 18, the world-renowned orchestra will perform Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures At An Exhibition” (arr. Ravel). The program for the next day consists of Strauss’ “Don Juan” and “Der Rosenkavalier Suite (The Knight of the Rose)” and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Tickets run from 60,000 won to 320,000 won. For details, call (02) 580-1300 or visit www.vincero.co.kr. 
Conductor Mariss Jansons (Anne Dokter/Vincero)
Conductor Mariss Jansons (Anne Dokter/Vincero)

Yo-Yo Ma and his ensemble: Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble will hold two concerts in Korea on Oct. 28 and 29, as part of their Asian tour. They will perform at Seoul Arts Center in Seoul on Oct. 28 and then at Daejeon Arts Center in Daejeon the next day. The program includes “Night Thoughts” and “Saidi Swing” from the ensemble’s 2013 album “A Playlist Without Borders” as well as some Korean traditional music. Tickets cost 50,000 to 180,000 won. For details, call 1577-5266 or visit www.clubbalcony.com.

Kim Young-uk/Da Sol: Violinist Kim Young-uk and pianist Da Sol will hold two duo concerts in Seoul and Gwangju on Nov. 4-5. At 25 years of age, both are up-and-coming classical musicians in Korea. They will perform sonatas for violin and piano by Prokofiev, Debussy and Ravel. The concerts will take place at U.Square culture center in Gwangju on Nov. 4 and at Seoul Arts Center in Seoul on Nov. 5. Tickets cost 25,000 won and 35,000 won. For more information, call (02) 338-3816.

“Otello”: Following Gounod’s “Romeo et Juliette” in early October, the Korea National Opera is presenting another Shakespeare-themed opera, Verdi’s “Otello,” from Nov. 6-9 at Seoul Arts Center. British stage director Stephen Lawless, who helmed the KNO’s 2012 production of Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus,” is returning for the four-act opera. Renowned opera conductor Graeme Jenkins will lead the Korea Symphony Orchestra in the pit. Tenor Clifton Forbis, a seasoned Otello, will sing opposite soprano Serena Farnocchia as his loving wife Desdemona, with the other pair being Korean tenor Rudy Park and soprano Kim Eun-joo. Ticket prices range from 10,000 won to 150,000 won. For details, call (02) 586-5284.

Murray Perahia and ASMF: The London-based chamber orchestra the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields is coming to Korea for two concerts in November, together with celebrated pianist Murray Perahia. Perahia will join the concerts, to be held at Seoul Arts Center on Nov. 10 and 11, as a conductor and piano soloist. The program includes Beethoven’s piano concerto “The Emperor” on Nov. 10 and Haydn’s Symphony No. 94 in G major (“Surprise”) on Nov. 11. Ticket prices range from 50,000 won to 200,000 won. For details, call 1577-5266 or visit www.clubbalcony.com.

“Aida 1963”: Famed opera director Franco Zeffirelli’s 1963 production of Verdi’s opera “Aida” at La Scala in Milan will be revived in Seoul in celebration of the 130th anniversary of the establishment of Korea-Italy diplomatic relations. It will be staged at the Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul from Nov. 25 to 30. Tickets prices range from 77,000 won to 330,000 won. For more information, call (02) 722-5822.

Chung Myung-whun: Maestro Chung Myung-whun is holding his first recital tour of Korea as a pianist rather than as a conductor. He will play at Seoul Arts Center in Seoul on Dec. 27 and in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, and Daejeon early next year. The program consists mostly of short piano pieces by Brahms and Chopin. Ticket prices range from 44,000 won to 132,000 won. For details, call (02) 558-4588.

Exhibition

“Morning Calm: Through the Persian Light”: Opera Gallery Seoul will present a solo exhibition of the Iranian artist Reza Derakshani from Nov. 6-30. Derakshani, a painter, musician and performance artist, will showcase 25 paintings that portray landscape and heritage sites of Korea expressed in his colorful Persian-style. The artist’s past works have been exhibited in major museums and galleries around the world, including the Brooklyn Museum in New York in 2000 and Salsali Private Museum in Dubai in 2012. Derakshani is known to reflect his inner self and seek pure forms of aesthetics in visual art and music rather than engage with the current political and social situation in Iran ― the popular theme of many contemporary Iranian artists. The artist will hold a talk at the gallery for visitors on Nov. 6. For more information, call (02) 3446-0070.
“Every Lily Day and Every Lily Night” by Reza Derakshani (Opera Gallery)
“Every Lily Day and Every Lily Night” by Reza Derakshani (Opera Gallery)

Lee Bul: The artist Lee Bul is presenting two gigantic installations in her new exhibition at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul. One, titled “Civitas Solis (The City of the Sun),” occupies the largest exhibition hall of the museum. Mirror fragments cover all sides of the room and form corridors to create a labyrinth of mirrors. From here, viewers are led to a room containing the other creation, a rocket-like installation named “Aubade III” that emits mist into the air and looks like an abandoned spaceship. The exhibition is the first of a series of art shows that the state-run MMCA is planning to hold in partnership with local conglomerate Hyundai Motor Group. It runs through March 1, 2015 at the Seoul branch of the MMCA. For more information, visit www.mmca.go.kr.

“Life of Always a Mirror”: Artist Kim Sung-hwan, well-known for his interdisciplinary works and his exhibition at Tate Modern in 2012, is holding a solo exhibition at Art Sonje Center in Seoul. Titled “Life of Always a Mirror,” the exhibition integrates video works, drawings, installations, architecture and performance in a single exhibition space. Among the video works is “A-DA-DA,” which he made after watching a student stutter in a college class, and “Temper Clay,” which reads Shakespeare’s “King Lear” from the point of view of property distribution and places it in the context of Korean modern history. Kim is also presenting mirror installations that reflect his video works and drawings. The exhibition runs through Nov. 30 at Art Sonje Center in Jongno-gu, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 733-8945.

Gwangju Biennale: The 10th Gwangju Biennale kicked off on Sept. 5 with 413 works by 111 artists from 38 countries under the theme of “Burning Down the House.” The biennale examines the potential of art as a movement by exploring contemporary artists’ efforts to address personal and public issues, according to Jessica Morgan, artistic director of Gwangju Biennale 2014. The exhibition will continue through Nov. 9 at the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall and other venues throughout the city. For more information, visit www.gwangjubiennale.org.

Festival

Seoul Lantern Festival: A 1.2-kilometer stretch of Cheonggyecheon Stream will be dotted with colorful lanterns from Nov. 7-23. This year’s lantern festival recreates the tangible and intangible heritage of Korea, including Incheong-jeon (Hall of Benevolent Government in the UNESCO-registered Changdeokgung Palace), “Hunminjeongeum” (document describing the Korean alphabet), “Donguibogam (Principles and Practices of Eastern Medicine)” and the kimchi-making process. The festival offers various programs, including a lantern-making craft session for visitors under Gwanggyo Bridge and an art book-making event featuring photos of UNESCO World Heritage sites. For more information, visit seoullantern.visitseoul.net. 
Lanterns depicting traditional Korean culture are on display during the 2013 Seoul Lantern Festival. (Seoul Lantern Festival)
Lanterns depicting traditional Korean culture are on display during the 2013 Seoul Lantern Festival. (Seoul Lantern Festival)

Ten Million Chrysanthemum Festival: Iksan, North Jeolla Province, invites visitors to one of the biggest chrysanthemum festivals in Korea. At the festival, arrangements of more than 120,000 flowers will be exhibited in a 35,000-square-meter garden in Iksan Central Park and Iksan Jewelry Museum from Oct. 24 to Nov. 2. Crafts and culinary programs will offer a chance to make bracelets and paper crafts and to cook pancakes and cookies using chrysanthemums. For more information, call (063) 859-5797 or visit gukhwa.iksan.go.kr.

Gunsan International Migratory Bird Festival: Magnificent scenes of thousands of migratory birds dancing in droves will unfold over the well-preserved expanse of mudflats and reed fields in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province, during the 11th Gunsan International Migratory Bird Festival from Nov. 14-16. The festival offers a rare chance to observe more than 50 species of winter migratory birds from the bird-watching corridor on the embankment of the Geumgang River. Programs include a migratory bird watching tour, a release of birds that have recovered from injuries and a bird drawing contest. For more information, visit www.gmbo.kr.

Pop music

Limp Bizkit: The American band credited with giving birth to Nu Metal by combining rap and hardcore rock, Limp Bizkit is returning to Korea for its first headline show in five years. After forming in 1995, Limp Bizkit found mainstream success thanks largely to its rendition of the George Michael single “Faith,” followed by the smash hit singles “Nookie,” “Break Stuff,” “Rollin’” and “My Way.” The band has sold more than 35 million albums worldwide on top of being nominated for three Grammy Awards. Limp Bizkit will be holding its upcoming solo concert at the Seoul Olympic Park’s Olympic Hall on Nov. 12. Ticket prices range from 99,000 won to 121,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
Limp Bizkit (Paris Visone Photography)
Limp Bizkit (Paris Visone Photography)

“Singing in the Smile with Michael Bolton”: American singer-songwriter Michael Bolton is gearing up for two solo concerts in Seoul. The multi-Grammy award-winning artist is the voice behind some of the greatest American rock ballads, including “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You,” “When a Man Loves a Woman” and “Said I Loved You … But I Lied.” In Bolton’s illustrious musical career, which spans nearly four decades, he has sold more than 75 million records worldwide with more than 15 studio albums to his name ― a majority of which topped the charts in the States. Bolton will be performing at Seoul Olympic Park’s Gymnastics Stadium on Nov. 21 and 22. Ticket prices range from 77,000 won to 143,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.

“Akon Super Stage”: Popular American hip-hop artist and producer Akon will be coming to Seoul in November to perform a collaborative concert with local hip-hop artists Bumkey, San E and YDG. Akon first made a name for himself as a hip-hop artist after the release of his debut album “Trouble,” featuring the hit single, “Locked Up.” In 2006, Akon released his second follow-up album, “Konvicted,” which was nominated for three Grammy Awards. Two years later he unveiled his platinum-selling album “Freedom,” which included some of his most representative singles: “Right Now (Na Na Na),” “I’m So Paid,” “Beautiful” and “We Don’t Care.” Akon will be performing at the Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 27. Ticket prices range from 50,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.

Tenacious D: Rock musician and Hollywood actor Jack Black, best known for his role as Dewey Finn in the blockbuster hit “School of Rock,” will be coming to Seoul along with bandmate Kyle Gass for the comedy rock duo Tenacious D’s first concert in Korea. The band is best known for Black’s thespian-like vocals and the quick-witted crude humor that people have come to expect from the rocker-comedian. In 2012, Tenacious D released its most recent album, “Rize of the Fenix,” which received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Comedy Album in 2013. The duo is slated to perform two live shows at Seoul Olympic Park’s Olympic Hall on Dec. 5 and 6. Ticket prices range from 99,000 won to 121,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.

Dance

“Snow White”: As part of Hyundai Card Culture Project 16, the ballet version of “Snow White” is making its way to Seoul this winter. Based on the original Brothers Grimm version of the classic fairytale, “Snow White” has been reinterpreted as a romantic contemporary ballet. The magical and enchanting ballet features choreography by Angelin Preljocaj and music by Gustav Mahler. “Snow White” will be performed at the Seoul Arts Center Opera Theater from Nov. 14-16. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 150,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.

“Swan Lake”: The Russia Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater troupe is making its way to Seoul for its production of one of the ballet world’s classic tales ― “Swan Lake.” The original Russian tale is about a young princess who is turned into a swan after being under an evil spell. Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov first staged the ballet more than 100 years ago in 1876 and it has been revised countless times over the years. The upcoming production of “Swan Lake” will be held at the Sejong Center in Seoul for three days from Dec. 12-14. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 300,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.

“The Nutcracker”: The original production of “The Nutcracker” was created in 1892 by Marius Petipa and choreographed by Lev Ivanov. To this day, the internationally successful ballet piece remains a classic holiday tale. In 1986, Universal Ballet first presented its version of “The Nutcracker” by Adrienne Dellas in Seoul. In 1999, the ballet was reinterpreted here by choreographer Vasily Vainonen. The upcoming performance will be staged at the Universal Arts Center from Dec. 19 to 31.
The Universal Ballet Korea’s rendition of “The Nutcracker” (Universal Ballet Korea)
The Universal Ballet Korea’s rendition of “The Nutcracker” (Universal Ballet Korea)


Theater

“The Divine Comedy”: The National Theater of Korea brings Italian medieval period poet Dante’s epic poem “The Divine Comedy” to the stage. As the play centers on Dante’s journey through hell, purgatory and heaven, it deeply touches on the theme of medieval Christian theology and philosophy. The play was a sold-out success when it was staged for the first time last year. It runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 8 in Seoul at the National Theater of Korea, near Dongguk University Station. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 70,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2280-4114 or visit www.ntok.go.kr.
“The Divine Comedy” (National Theater of Korea)
“The Divine Comedy” (National Theater of Korea)

“On Golden Pond”: Based on American playwright Ernest Thompson, “On Golden Pond” will be staged with veteran actors and actresses including Lee Soon-jae, Na Moon-hee and Shin Goo. The play is about aging couple Ethel and Norman, who spend each summer at their vacation home on Golden Pond in Maine. When they are visited by their daughter Chelsea, who they haven’t seen for years, and her fiance, Norman tries hard to mend his strained relationship with Chelsea while preparing for his death. The play illustrates different kinds of relationship and the meanings of life and death. “On Golden Pond” runs through Nov. 23 at Daemyung Culture Factory, near Hyehwa Station. Tickets run from 40,000 won to 65,000 won. For details, call (070) 7712-4388.

“Frankenstein”: British playwright Nick Dear’s stage adaptation of “Frankenstein,” based on Mary Shelley’s novel of the same name, will be staged in Korea, directed by renowned director Cho Kwang-hwa. One evening, young scientist Victor Frankenstein successfully creates a human-like creature, who is innocent at heart, but grotesque in form. Terrified by his creation, Victor abandons his creature and flees. The creature wanders around the world, enduring rejection by mankind and loneliness, while earnestly looking for his creator. “Frankenstein” runs through Nov. 9 at CJ Towol Theater at Seoul Arts Center. Tickets run from 30,000 won to 60,000 won. For details, call (02) 585-1300 or visit www.sac.or.kr.

“Woyzeck”: A musical adaptation of Woyzeck, a play by German playwright Georg Buchner from 1836-37, is being staged at LG Arts Center in southern Seoul. For the show, producer Yun Ho-jin, the man behind Korea’s two most successful original musicals, “Last Empress” and “Hero,” put together an international creative team, including British band the Singing Loins, which composed its score. The story is about Woyzeck, a poor, downtrodden solider who kills his unfaithful lover, Marie, and faces tragic consequences. Musical actors Kim Soo-yong and Kim Dae-hyun will play the troubled protagonist, opposite Sophie Kim as Marie. It runs through Nov. 18. Tickets run from 40,000 won to 80,000 won. For details, visit www.lgart.com

“Once”: The Korean production of musical “Once” will open on Dec. 14 at Seoul Arts Center for a three-month run. Based on a 2006 film of the same title, the original Broadway musical won eight Tony Awards in 2012, including the trophy for the year’s Best Musical. For its Korean version, veteran rocker Yoon Do-hyun will play the lead role. He will play Guy, an Irish street musician and vacuum cleaner repairman who falls in love with Girl, a Czech flower seller. Yoon will rotate with musical actor Lee Chang-hee for the role, and two emerging musical actresses, Jeon Mi-do and Park Ji-yeon play Girl. “Once” will run from Dec. 14 through March 29 at the 1,000-seat CJ Towol Theater in Seoul Arts Center. Tickets cost 60,000 won to 120,000 won. For details, call (02) 577-1987.

“Rudolf”: The Seoul-based EMK Musical Company is once again staging “Rudolf,” an Austrian musical about Rudolf, crown prince of Austria (1858-1889), and his extramarital affair with Baroness Mary Vetsera. The piece is based on the widespread assumption that the crown prince and his mistress committed suicide together at his Mayerling hunting lodge in 1889. Musical stars Im Tae-gyeong and Ahn Jae-wook, who played the ill-fated prince in the 2012 premier, return for the role. “Rudolf” runs from Oct. 11 to Jan. 4 at D-Cube Art Center, located near Exit 1 of Sindorim Station. Tickets cost 60,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call (02) 6391-6333.
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