“Seoul Philharmonic Explorer Series II”: French conductor Ludovic Morlot and violinist Kang Hae-sun will collaborate with The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra for its “Explorer Series II” on Ibert, Manoury and Mussorgsky on June 23 at 8 p.m. at the Seoul Arts Center’s Concert Hall. The series aims to broaden the repertoire of the Korean classical music scene by exploring less touched upon classical pieces. The program includes Ibert’s “Escales,” Manoury’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, “Synapse” and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” arranged by Ravel. Kang and the SPO’s Manoury “Synapse” will be Asian premiere. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call 1588-1210.
French conductor Ludovic Morlot (SPO)
“2011 Korea Opera Festival”: Local opera companies are to present two original Korean operas at this year’s Korea Opera Festival. Production skills of Korean opera companies have made great progress in recent years, festival organizers said. Five opera companies are to participate in the event which will kick off on June 23 and run through July 24 at the Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater and Towel Theater. The two original Korean operas to be showcased are “Nongae” and “When the Buckwheat Blooms.” The others to be staged are “I Puritani” by the Gloria Opera Company, “Tosca” by the Beseto Opera Company and “Siegfried” for children by the KNO. Tickets during the Korea Opera Festival will range from 10,000 won to 150,000 won. For more information, call (02) 586-5282.
“Masaaki Suzuki & Bachsolisten Seoul”: Japanese Bach maestro Massaki Suzuki will lead rising Korean baroque ensemble Bachsolisten Seoul to perform Bach’s most sublime choral work Mass in b minor. The ensemble originally started with classical singers but recently added orchestral members for the upcoming concert. Also, nine instrumental performers from the Bach Collegium Japan will collaborate. The concert will be held on June 5 at the LG Arts Center. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 80,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114 or visit www.lgart.com.
“Ken Cowan Dancing Pipes”: Canadian pipe organist Ken Kowan is to perform famous classical pieces including those by Bach, Saint-Saens and Liszt on June 18 at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Korean violinist Kim Nam-yoon will collaborate with Kowan to stage “Chaconne,” which is known for its sad melodies. The concert will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 70,000 won. For more information, call (02) 399-1114~6.
“Yeohaeng Sketch Concert”: The original team of Yeohaeng Sketch will hold concerts from June 24-26 at the Grand Hall of Yonsei University. The eight-member folk group, now active only with two members -- Jo Byeong-seok and Nam Jun-bong -- was formed in 1989 with still-popular-song “Byeori Jindane” (A Star is Falling). Consisting of male and female college student singers, the vocal group was known for mixing music with nature sounds such as water running through a valley in the 1990s. To celebrate a brief reunion of the group at the concerts, singer Kim Jang-hoon, Kim Hyun-chul and Han Dong-joon will join the show as guests. For more information, call (02) 6292-9370.
Yeohaeng Sketch (In Production)
“Linkin Park Live in Seoul”: U.S. rock band Linkin Park, whose concerts in Korea completely sold out in 2003 and 2007, are to visit again to hold a live concert at the Olympic Park Gymnastics Stadium on Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. Ticketing opened on May 19 at ticket.interpark.com. With record-breaking sales of its debut album “Hybrid Theory” in 2000, the band’s musical style has kept evolving over the past 10 years. The upcoming concert is to promote their 2010 album “A Thousand Suns.” Tickets range from 99,000 won to 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488.
“Ron Carter: Golden Striker Trio Live in Seoul”: Jazz bassist Ron Carter, pianist Mulgrew Miller and guitarist Russell Malone will perform at Yonsei University’s Concert Hall on June 21 at 8 p.m. The Golden Striker Trio, set up in 2003, has released two albums. Without any drums, their jazz melodies through guitar, piano and bass were praised as masterful and the team received an enthusiastic response from the audience at the 2007 Carnergie Hall concert. Ron Carter has participated in more than 3,500 recordings so far. This will be the Golden Striker Trio’s first concert in Korea. Tickets range from 88,000 won to 132,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3143-5155.
“2011 Jisan Valley Rock Festival”: The nation’s largest-scale festival takes place from July 29 to July 31 at Jisan Forest Resort in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province. The rock festival began in 2009 and reached 70,000 revelers in 2010. The lineup announced so far includes Suede, The Chemical Brothers, Arctic Monkeys, Incubus, Deli Spice, Jaurim, and 10 cm. The third-phase online ticket purchase, which offers a 10 percent discount, is currently open at valleyrockfestival.mnet.com. One-day passes are 110,000 won and three-day passes 220,000 won, if purchased on-the-spot. A third line-up announcement will be made in the last week of May, organizer Mnet said. For more information, visit valleyrockfestival.mnet.com.
“Hansan Ramie Fabric Cultural Festival”: The region of Hansan-myeon in South Chungcheong Province is famous for producing ramie, one of the world’s oldest fabric crops. The Hansan Ramie Cultural Festival will take place at the Hansan Rami Fabric Hall from June 4-6, celebrating high quality, luxury clothing produced from ramie fabric. One of the main events will be a fashion show and visitors will also have the opportunity to try on some of the clothes. The ramie crop is also used in making food, and at the festival visitors can try rice cakes, ice cream, tea and other refreshments all made from ramie. For more information, visit www.seocheon.go.kr.
“2011 Haeundae Sand Festival”: The festival will take place at Busan’s extremely popular summer vacation spot Haeundae Beach from June 3-6. One of the highlights of the festival is the hot sand bath. Visitors will be buried in sand from head to toe. Other events include a beach volleyball competition, an exhibition of different types of sand from around the world and a marathon race. At night, there will be fireworks, concerts and other entertainment events. Popular tourist destinations such as the Jagalchi Market, Gwangalli and Taejongdae are all located nearby. For more information, visit sandfestival.haeundae.go.kr.
“Muju Firefly Festival”: The fireflies of Muju in North Jeolla Province are considered so special to Koreans that they have been designated as one of Korea’s natural monuments. The Muju Firefly Festival will be held from June 3-11 in Muju County. The nighttime fireflies exploration event, which starts at 8 p.m., is the most popular. There are other hands-on events to help visitors experience the fireflies’ living environment, such as trout fishing and rafting. For more information, visit firefly.or.kr.
Muju Firefly Festival 2011 poster (Muju Country)
“Gangneung Danoje Festival”: The Gangneung festival was designated a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005. The festival this year will be held through June 9 in Gangneung in Gangwon Province. Events include rituals such as Yeongsinje, a deity-greeting ritual. Folk performances, the Korean traditional wrestling called ssireum, swing riding and tug-of-war competitions will be offered after the rituals. There will also be colorful programs including watching a traditional wedding ceremony, making surichui rice cake, washing hair in water infused with sweet flags (calamus), drinking alcohol offered for deities, and fireworks. For detailed programs, visit www.danofestival.or.kr or call (033) 641-1593.
“Heungbu”: Now Dance Company presents a ‘humanism dance’ performance which sheds new light on Heungbu, a poor but generous character from Korean traditional folktale “Heungbujeon.” Calligraphy by Kang Byeong-in and costumes by designer Min Cheon-hong will add a Korean taste to the performance. “Heungbu” runs from June 10 to 11 at the National Museum of Korea’s Theater Yong in Ichon-dong, central Seoul. For more information, call 1544-5955 or visit www.nowdance.org or www.theateryong.or.kr.
“The 1st Ballet Festival Korea”: Korea’s representative ballet troupes gathered together to better promote the dance in the country. Korea National Ballet will open the festival with “Swan Lake” on June 12 at Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater and 11 more performances by ballet troupes such as Seoul Ballet Theater, Universal Ballet Theater and Gwangju City Ballet will follow. The festival runs from June 12 to 28 at venues nationwide. For more information, call (02) 587-6181 or visit www.kballet.org.
A scene from Universal Ballet Theater’s “Giselle.” UBC
“This is Modern 2”: Universal Ballet will present a wide range of modern ballet including legendary choreographer Jiri Kylian’s “Petite Mort” and “Sechs Tanze” and Korean choreographer Hue Young-soon’s “This is Your Life.” The show will run from June 9 to 12 at Universal Art Center in Neung-dong, eastern Seoul. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 70,000 won. For more information, call 070-7124-1737 or visit www.uac.co.kr.
“Miso”: Rranslated as “beautiful smile,” the musical “Miso” 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, making it ideal for audiences of diverse nationalities. “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.
“Spring Awakening”: “Spring Awakening,” which premiered on Broadway in 2006 and recorded a hit in 2009 in Korea, has started its second run. Based in 1891 Germany, the musical tells a story about teenagers who struggle to live a life in a world ruled by adults. It runs through Sept. 4 at Doosan Art Center in Yeonji-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 60,000 won. For more information, call (02) 744-4334 or visit www.springawakening.co.kr or www.doosanartcenter.com.
A scene from “Spring Awakening” (Musical Heaven)
“Midsummer”: Written and directed by David Greig, the two-person play “Midsummer” is about Helena, a successful divorce lawyer, and Bob, a gang member, who accidently has a one night stand. The original version premiered at the Traverse Theater in Edinburgh in 2008 to critical acclaim. Actress Ye Ji-won stars as Helena and veteran musical stars Suh Beom-seok and Lee Seok-jun share the role as Bob. “Midsummer” runs until June 12 at Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. For more information, call 1588-5212 or visit www.od10years.com.
“Please Look After Mom”: The hit novel “Please Look After Mom” by Shin Kyung-sook is turned into a musical. Starring well-known actress Kim Seong-nyeo as the mother, the musical tells a heartbreaking story about a family searching for their lost mother. The musical runs through June 19 at Chungmu Art Hall in Sindang-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 90,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2230-6601.
“Jekyll & Hyde”: Based on the novel “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, the musical “Jekyll & Hyde” runs through August at Charlotte Theater in Jamsil-dong, southern Seoul. It is one of the most popular musicals in Seoul, and has produced many musical stars like Cho Seung-woo. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information call 1644-0078.
“Audition”: The musical portrays the friendship, love and hope of an unknown rock band. The whole show is like a live concert with the band playing all the music. The musical is steadily popular since its premiere in 2007 and a decision was made earlier this year to turn it into a movie. Moon Hee-jun, former leader of the popular 90’s K-pop group H.O.T., plays Jun-cheol, the band’s leader. The musical runs through July 24 at Art One Theater in Daehangno, central Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 762-0010 or visit www.e-eda.com.
“Cecily Brown”: Kukje Gallery presents paintings by Cecily Brown, a British artist who is known for her unique combination of figuration and abstraction. On exhibit are 19 of her recent paintings and monotypes. It is her first solo exhibition in Asia. The exhibition runs through June 24 at Kukje Gallery in Sogyeok-dong, central Seoul. For more information, call (02) 735-8449 or visit www.kukjegallery.com.
“Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth” by Cecily Brown Kukje Gallery
“Isabelle Huppert: Woman of Many Faces”: The photo exhibition shows the lesser known sides of Isabelle Huppert, France’s star actress. It features more than 110 portrait photos of the actress taken by around 70 photographers including Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Chun Kyung-woo and filmmaker Ronald Chammah, Huppert’s husband. The touring show was held in seven cities including Paris, Madrid and Tokyo. The exhibition begins on Sunday and runs through Aug. 13 at The Museum of Photography, Seoul, in Bangi-dong, eastern Seoul. Tickets range from 2,000 won to 8,000 won. For more information, call (02) 418-1315 or visit www.photomuseum.or.kr.
“Aggregation 2007-2011”: Chun Kwang Young, one of the best-selling South Korean artists, is holding a solo exhibition at Gallery Hyundai Gangnam Space in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul. He will be showcasing his signature series, “Aggregation,” which he began in the 1990s. He used pages from old books and numerous triangular Styrofoam blocks to create three dimensional artworks, even on canvas. The exhibition runs through June 30. For more information, call (02) 519-0800 or visit www.galleryhyundai.com.
“Korean Rhapsody: A Montage of History and Memory”: Korea’s restless modern history unfolds at Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Hannam-dong, southern Seoul, in the form of paintings, photographs, installations and media works. The exhibition displays 80 historical documents and artworks that reflect crucial moments in Korea’s painful but dynamic past. While staying within the theme, the exhibits are of very high quality, created by renowned local and foreign artists. The exhibition runs through Aug. 21. Tickets range from 4,000 won to 7,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2014-6900 or visit www.leeum.org.
“Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney’s Classic Fairy Tales”: Organized by the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, the exhibition offers more than 600 drawings, original animations, concept artworks, figures, props and music notes from Walt Disney. The exhibition is divided into nine parts ― “Three Little Pigs,” “The Ugly Duckling,” “Mickey and the Beanstalk,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Princess and the Frog” and “Tangled.” It runs through Sept. 25 at Seoul Arts Center’s Hangaram Design Museum in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. For details, visit www.DCTexhibition.com.