“Special Exhibition of Chateau de Versailles”: A rare opportunity to see some of The Palace of Versailles’ precious treasures in Seoul. The exhibition features 84 works of art and relics which span 200 years of the palace’s history from the 17th century to the late 18th century, including portraits of the royal family and Marie-Antoinette’s golden tableware. The portraits of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI, which are on display as well, are France’s national treasures. The exhibition runs until Sunday at Hangaram Art Museum at Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 5,000 won to 13,000 won. For more information, call (02) 325-1077 or visit www.versailles2010.co.kr.
“An Inconvenient Truth”: Too much honesty can make people uncomfortable. But artist Ahn Chang-hong is not afraid of putting people at unease. In fact, he seems to enjoy revealing the ultimate truth by showing humans in their naked state, sometimes adding grotesque details such as bugs and rats to the backdrop. His solo exhibition is packed with large-scale nude paintings which are shocking in the realistic way they are depicted and because of their use of regular people rather than professional models. The exhibition runs until Sunday at Gana Art Center in Pyeongchang-dong, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 3217-1093 or visit www.ganaart.com.
“WA: The Spirit of Harmony and Japanese Design Today”: This show explains why adjectives such as “minimal,” “delicate” and, surprisingly, “thoughtful,” cannot help but be used to describe products made in Japan. It does more than introducing the latest cutting-edge designs: it offers an overall view of historically important designs by the Japanese that were created over 50 years ago and are continuously used. The show is arranged like a mini department store, showcasing 161 products divided into 12 categories and six key words such as “cute,” and “thoughtful.” The exhibition runs through March 19 at the Korea Foundation Cultural Center in Sunhwa-dong, central Seoul. Admission is free. For more information, call (02) 2151-6500 or visit www.kfcenter.or.kr.
“Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams”: The exhibition features home appliances designed by the legendary industrial designer Rams ― well-known for his influence on Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of Industrial Design at Apple. All 400 exhibits appear timeless and chic, fitting in anywhere, anytime. Rams created many best-selling designs throughout his 40-year-career at Braun and Vitsoe. The 77-year-old retired from Braun in 1997 and received the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2007 for achievements in the area of design. The exhibition runs through March 20 at Daelim Contemporary Art Museum in Tongui-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 1,000 won to 5,000 won. For more information, call (02) 720-0667 or visit www.daelimmuseum.org.
“Huh Dal-jae Solo Exhibition”: Chinese plum flowers are likened to “seonbi,” or a firm and right-minded scholar, in Korea because their soft and fragrant petals peep out despite the chilly weather. Lotte Gallery in Avenuel Sogong-dong, central Seoul, showcases 60 plum flower paintings by Huh Dal-jae. In his paintings, the blossoms of the Chinese plum trees are more bountiful compared to those seen in traditional paintings. At Lotte Gallery, the exhibition runs through March 20. The paintings will be displayed throughout Avenuel until April 25. For more information, call (02) 726-4428~9.
“TEXT/VIDEO/FEMALE: Art after ‘60s”: A wave of change occurred in art in the 1960s, when artists started to refuse the legitimacy of traditional fine art and pursued brand new media and subjects. Mind-boggling artworks by 11 major contemporary artists ― Louise Bourgeois, Martin Creed, Tracey Emin, Dan Graham, On Kawara, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, Paik Nam-june, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Lawrence Weiner ― are on display at the exhibition currently underway at PKM Trinity Gallery in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul. The exhibition runs through March 23. For more information, call (02) 515-9496~7 or visit www.pkmgallery.com.
“H Box 2011”: “H Box,” the 6.5 meter wide and 5 meter tall space-ship like structure on the third floor of Artsonje Center in Sogyeok-dong, central Seoul, is a mini, portable screening room for video artworks, organized by the Hermes Foundation. The project was initiated in 2006 and so far a total of 21 video works have toured around prestigious museums and art festivals of the world. Here, eight video works are currently on show, including four premiering works. “H Box 2011” runs through May 1. For more information, call (02) 733-8945 or visit www.artsonje.org.
“Hybrid Code”: Savina Museum of Contemporary Art offers 30 paintings, sculptures, photos, installations and video artworks which gave new functions to familiar objects by applying high-technology. The exhibition is divided into three sections ― Psychological Mutant, Expansion of Architectural Concept and Apply Science to Daily Life. It runs through April 14 at Savina Museum of Contemporary Art in Anguk-dong, central Seoul. For more information, call (02) 736-4371 or visit www.savinamuseum.com.
“Relativity by M.C. Escher” by Lee Mun-ho at the exhibition “Hybrid Code” which runs through April 14 at Savina Museum of Contemporary Art in Anguk-dong, central Seoul. (Savina Museum of Contemporary Art)
“Don Quixote”: Universal Ballet Theater, the nation’s oldest private ballet company, will present “Don Quixote” from March 25 to March 28 at Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. The show will focus on brilliant and flashy choreography and the highlight appears in the third act ― the wedding scene. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300 or visit www.ubcballet.com.
“Varekai”: Canadian troupe Cirque du Soleil will perform “Varekai” from April 6 to May 29 at the tent of the Big Top Theater in Jamsil Sports Complex in southern Seoul. The show is about a story of Icarus from Greek mythology. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 220,000 won. The 220,000-won “Tapis Rouge” ticket includes a VIP lounge service and souvenirs such as a program book and CD. For more information, call (02) 541-6235 or visit www.varekai.co.kr.
“The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra”: The oldest orchestra in the world, with a history of 267 years, is coming to Seoul with Italian maestro Riccardo Chailly. It has been 16 years since the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra performed in Korea. At the upcoming concert on March 7-8 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall, violinist Leonidas Kavakos will collaborate for Dvorak’s violin concerto on March 7 and the orchestra will perform Bruckner Symphony No. 8 on March 8. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 300,000 won on March 7 and 50,000 won to 280,000 won on March 8. For details, call (02) 599-5743.
The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is to perform in Seoul for the first time in 16 years on March 7-8. (Vincero)
“Seoul Philharmonic Great Concerto Series I”: The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra is to stage its first Great Concerto Series on March 11 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall with a program of Dvorak and Brahms. Norwegian conductor Eivind Aadland will take the helm and young French cellist Gautier Capuon will collaborate. The program is Dvorak Concerto in B minor, Op. 104 and Brahms Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 60,000 won. Call 1588-1210.
“Beethoven Violin Sonata Cycle”: Veteran violinist Kim Min and pianist Lee Dae-wook will present a mature classical sound by staging all 10 of Beethoven’s violin sonatas through a three-week concert series in March at the Kumho Art Hall. The 69-year-old violinist and the 64-year-old pianist will perform together in concerts on March 10, March 17 and March 24 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets range from 8,000 won to 30,000 won. Call (02) 6303-7700.
“El Sistema II”: The Caracas Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and conductor Christian Vasquez are to stage Saint Saens Symphony No. 3 and Shostakovich Symphony No. 10 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall on March 27. El Sistema refers to a music education program in Venezuela dedicated to teaching juvenile delinquents and children from low-income households to play musical instruments. Its director and founder Jose Antonio Abreu received the 10th Seoul Peace Prize last year. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. For details, call (02) 1577-5266.
“Maksim Mrvica Korea Tour”: Young Croatian pianist Maksim Mrvica is to have his first concert in Korea at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall on March 6, in Daegu on March 5, and in Daejeon on March 8. The program includes Tchaikovsky’s “Dumka,” Skrjavin’s “Etude Patetique” and “Flight of the Bumblebee.” Tickets range from 44,000 won to 110,000 won in Seoul and to 99,000 won in other cities. For details, call (02) 6377-1250.
“Steve Barakatt’s ‘Shall We Love’”: New age pianist and composer Steve Barakatt will hold a concert on March 13 at the Seoul Arts Center, under the title “Shall We Love” to celebrate White Day which falls on March 14. The program will include his popular works including “I’m Sorry” and “Flying.” Korean vocalists John Park and Kim Geu-rim, who gained fame through the reality TV show “Superstar K,” will join him on stage. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. Call 1577-5266 for more information.
“Angelique Kidjo Live Concert”: Angelique Kidjo, a Benninoise singer-songwriter from western Africa, will showcase her unique musical style, mixing up R&B, funk, jazz, American pop, European and even Latin American music, at the LG Arts Center in Seoul on March 13 at 6 p.m. The show will include songs from her latest album “Oyo” and some of her representative hits including “Africa,” “Agolo,” “Batonga” and “Tumba.” Tickets range from 30,000 won to 70,000 won. For details, call (02) 2005-0114.
“Nah Youn-sun Live Concert”: Jazz vocalist Nah Youn-sun, whose popularity in Europe means that this is a rare Korean performance, will return to the LG Arts Center for the first time in five years. Nah will collaborate with guitarist Ulf Wakenius, bassist and cellist Lars Danielsson and accordionist Vincent Peirani.
Without any percussion or drums, Nah will create rhythms and beats only with guitars, bass, cello and accordion. Nah will be performing on March 23 at 8 p.m. and tickets range from 30,000 won to 70,000 won. For details, call (02) 2005-0114.
“Santana Live in Seoul”: Latin rock legend Santana is to hold a concert on March 9 at the Olympic Gymnastics Stadium. Led by guitarist Carlos Santana, the rock band has released 28 albums since its debut in 1966 and won 10 Grammy Awards. At the upcoming Seoul concert, the band will cover most of its popular songs in the 2010 album “Supernatural” including “Smooth” and “Maria Maria.” The show will also include Santana’s new songs. Tickets are 165,000 won and 132,000 won. Call (02) 3141-3488.
“Slash live concert in Seoul”: Slash, best known as former lead guitarist of U.S. rock band Guns N’ Roses, is to hold a solo concert on March 20 at Ax-Hall in Seoul. He was last in Seoul in 1999 when here performing with Michael Jackson. Born in 1965 and debuting in 1983, Slash was named the No. 2 guitarist on Time Magazine’s list of 10 best electric guitar players of all time in 2009, trailing his hero Jimmy Hendrix.
Myles Kennedy, lead vocalist of the rock band Alter Bridge, will also join the show. Tickets are 99,000 won. For details, call (02) 3141-3488.
“Iron Maiden Live in Seoul”: Rock band Iron Maiden are to make their first ever visit to Korea. The concert will take place at the Olympic Gymnasium No. 1 on March 10, as part of The Final Frontier World Tour. The legendary rockers will be arriving in their specially customized Boeing 757 airliner Ed Force One which, will be transporting the band, crew and their entire 10 ton stage production 50,000 miles around the globe piloted by lead singer Bruce Dickinson. For more information, visit www.ticket.interpark.com or call (02) 1544-1555.
“Fran Healy Live in Seoul”: Scottish rock band Travis’ lead vocal and guitarist Fran Healy is to hold a solo concert in Seoul on March 18. Travis won the best new artist at the Brit Awards in 1998 and the best rock band with its second album “The Man Who” in 1999. The band had its first concert in Korea in 2008. The show will be at V Hall in central Seoul at 8:30 p.m. Call (02) 332-3277.
“Corinne Bailey Rae Live Concert”: British singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae is to hold her first solo concert in Korea at Ax Hall in Seoul on March 10. K-pop idol IU will also perform. The U.K. artist was here last year to participate in the Jisan Valley Rock Festival. Tickets are 110,000 won. Call 1544-1555.
“University of Laughs”: The hit play from last year by theater venture group Yeongeukyeoljeon is to run at COEX Arts Hall in Seoul from March 11 as an open run. Based on the popular Japanese novel by Koki Mitani, the piece depicts a seven-day confrontation between an inspector trying to ban comic plays and a scriptwriter who values humor above all in his works, and the friendship that later develops between the two. Tickets run from 20,000 to 40,000 won. For details, call (02) 766-6007.
“La Cantatrice Chauve”: This play ― the title of which means “The Bald Soprano” ― is determined to break the rules ― and break them it does. Viewers can eat snacks, drink up, answer phone calls and take photos of the show as freely as they want. Originally written by Romanian playwright Eugene Ionesco in 1950, the play is filled with non sequiturs that satirize modern society and express the futility of meaningful communication and relationships. It runs through March 31 at SM Art Hall in Daehangno, central Seoul. Tickets are 40,000 won. For more information on both plays, call (02) 764-8760 or visit www.stage2010.com.
“Art”: When an art lover buys what is in essence a pure white painting for a fortune, his best friend goes ballistic and a third friend gets stuck in the middle. Questions about the meaning of strange modern art and strange modern friendships ― and how they are sometimes not all that different ― fly thick in the limelight. This local adaptation will run until March 31 at Daehagno Art Madang in Seoul. For details call Aga Theater Company (02)764-8760 or Interpark (02) 1544-1555.
“Kiss of the Spider Woman”: Based on Argentine writer Manuel Puig’s script “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” director Lee Gi-na and four male actors are to present a uniquely Korean drama of a male couple locked in a prison cell. Politically revolutionary Valentin and gay Molina, who has been convicted for having sex with a minor, have nerve-breaking arguments but fall in love after all. Actors Jung Sung-hwa and Park Eun-tae have been cast as Valentin and Molina. The drama will run through April 24 at the Daehangno Art One Theater. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 50,000 won. For details, call (02) 764-8760.
“Tears of Heaven”: “Tears of Heaven” is a story about a Korean man’s passionate love for a Vietnamese woman during the Vietnam War, but all is ruined in a betrayal by the woman’s friend. “Jekyll & Hyde” composer Frank Widlhorn composed 30 songs for the musical, “Sweeny Todd” director Gabriel Barre was in overall charge and Tony Award-winning stage designer David Gallo set up the stage. It runs through March 19 at the Haeoreum Theater of the National Theater of Korea. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 130,000 won. For details, call (02) 501-7888.
“Aida”: The Korean adaptation of hit musical “Aida” runs through March 27 at the Seongnam Art Center Opera House. The local version will star Ok Joo-hyeon, Kim Woo-hyeong, and Jung Seon-ah. The popular two act musical is based on Giuseppe Verdi’s Italian-language opera by the same name, the scenario of which was written by Auguste Mariette. The musical was produced by Disney Theatrical, with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang. The musical originated from a children’s storybook version of Verdi’s opera written by the soprano Leontyne Price. For details call (02) 02 577-1987.
“Gwanghwamun Younga”: Based on 33 songs by late composer Lee Young-hoon, this jukebox musical will run from March 20 to April 10 at the Grand Theater of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Rock musician Yoon Do-hyun has been double cast with actor Song Chang-eui as the main character, Sang-hun of the past. Powerful vocalist Lisa Chung has been cast for Yeoju, while actors Kim Moo-yeol and Lim Byung-geun will play Hyeon-woo. Actor Park Jeong-hwan will play Sang-hun of the present. Three characters Sang-hun, his brother Hyeon-woo and Yeo-ju tell a story of their love triangle, intertwined with protests for democracy in Korea in the 1980s. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 130,000 won. For details, call 1666-8662.
“Miso”: “Miso,” translated as “beautiful smile,” offers a compact presentation of everything Korean culture first-timers could wish for. It blends ten different kinds of traditional dances, five traditional games and a wedding ritual into the main story line based on a well-known folktale, “The Tale of Chunhyang.” There are very few spoken lines throughout the whole performance, taking into account its audience of such diverse nationalities. Instead, actors hold up signs written in five different languages at crucial moments in the story. “Miso” is showing as an open run at Chongdong Theater in Jeong-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 751-1500 or visit www.koreamiso.com.
2011 Tongyeong International Music Festival “Moving Dimension”: Under a new artistic director Alexander Libreich of Germany, the 10th Yongyeong International Music Festival will kick off on March 26. The theme, “Moving Dimension,” was suggested by Libreich based on Isang Yun’s work “Dimensionen.” The festival will feature stages by Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, Isang Yun Competition winners Kim Jae-young and William Hong-chun Youn, jazz vocalist Nah Youn-sun, composer Chin Un-suk & Heiner Goebbels and more. The festival runs through April 1 in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 100,000 won. Call (02) 3474-8315.