The 20th Uijeongbu Music Theatre Festival is to take place May 7-16 throughout the city north of Seoul. This year’s theme, “Colorful Tradition,” highlights the unique value of traditional culture.
The annual festival held in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi Province, by the Uijeongbu Cultural Foundation, features performances that combine music and drama. Some 20 performances will be featured this year.
Opening the 10-day festival is the Korean Traditional Performing Arts Foundation presenting “Jeongjo and Hamlet,” May 7-8. The show combines Korea’s royal ritual music, Jongmyo Jeryeak, with Danish folk music, gugak, theater, contemporary dance and more.
Pansori artist Lee Ja-ram will perform “Stranger’s Song,” May 15-16. “Stranger’s Song” is an adaptation of the short story “Bon Voyage, Mr. President!” written by celebrated Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The festival will close May 15 with a performance by percussion master Kim Duk-soo. Kim founded “samulnori,” a Korean traditional folk music genre that employs four traditional percussion instruments. The performance tells the story of Kim’s life, which he has dedicated to the art of samulnori.
Some of the programs aim to expand the identity of the music theater festival, according to the organizers. Choreographer Kim Seol-jin’s physical mono drama “Japari” will be performed May 8-9, while pianist Cho Jae-hyuk and illusionist Lee Eun-kyeol are to collaborate for “Image of Music,” May 11-12.
“The UMTF will continue to make innovative and experimental attempts, pursuing the expression of cultural diversity, expanding the role and value of an art festival,” said Son Kyeong-sik, who is in charge of running the festival.
As it did last year, the festival lineup consists of domestic artists and art troupes because international travel is limited due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic. Complying with the government’s social distancing rules, every other seat in the audience will be left empty.
For more information, check the festival’s official website at www.umtf.or.kr
By Im Eun-byel (email@example.com