“Chung Kyung-wha: ‘She is Back’”: Violinist Chung will perform on Dec. 19, 21, 25 and 26 in Seoul and other Korean cities for her first solo recitals in the country in nine years. Suffering a finger injury five years ago, Chung has been unable to hold a solo performance for years, focusing on teaching at the Juilliard School in New York. Chung will be performing with American pianist Kevin Kenner, whom she calls “a great partner,” playing Mozart’s “Violin Sonata No. 21 in E Minor K. 304,” Brahms’ “Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op 78 Regenlied,” Bach’s “Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, Air on the G String” and Cesar Frank’s “Violin Sonata in A Major.” Tickets for Chung’s Seoul concert, to be held at the Seoul Arts Center on Dec. 26, range from 30,000 won to 150,000 won. The concert will also be held in Incheon, Daejeon and Chuncheon on Dec. 19, 21 and 25, respectively. For more information, call (02) 518-7343.
Violinist Chung Kyung-wha
“L‘Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale)”: The Seoul Opera Ensemble will perform on Dec. 1-2 the renowned 1918 theatrical work “to be read, played, and danced” set to music by Igor Stravinsky. Directed by Chang Soo-dong and conducted by Yang Jin-mo, the professional opera association will bring on stage the story based on a Russian folk tale, about a soldier who trades his fiddle to the devil for a book that predicts the future of the economy. The music is scored for a septet of violin, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, cornet (often played on trumpet), trombone, and percussion, and the story is told by three actors: the soldier, the devil, and a narrator, who also takes on the roles of minor characters. A dancer plays the non-speaking role of the princess, and there may also be additional ensemble dancers. Tickets for the Seoul Opera Ensemble concerts at the Mapo Art Center range from 20,000 won to 40,000 won. For more information, call (02) 741-7389.
“Kumho Art Hall Chamber Music Concert”: Kumho Art Hall-representing ensembles -- the Chamber Music Society of Kumho Art Hall (CMS) and Kumho Asiana Soloists -- will peform on Dec. 8 and Dec. 29, respectively. The CMS, led by artistic director and pianist Kim Dae-jin, is to stage Brahms Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8 and invite renowned American clarinetist Jon Manasse to collaborate on Brahms Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115. The CMS has been offering “Brahms Essentials” concert series since 2008 to cover the entire cycle of Brahms chamber music. Five members of the Kumho Asiana Soloists -- pianist Son Yeol-eum, violinist Kwun Hyuk-joo, violist Lee Han-na and cellist Kim Min-ji -- will gather on Dec. 29 evening to offer the art hall’s year-end stage with Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello, Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110 and Tchaikovsky Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 50, “In Memory of a Great Artist.” Tickets for chamber music concerts at the Kumho Art Hall are 30,000 won for adults and 8,000 won for those under 18. For details, call (02) 6303-7700.
“The King’s Singers Christmas Concert”: One of the world’s most celebrated vocal groups The King’s Singers will perform in Seoul on Dec. 4. The six-member British group, which was formed 43 years ago, has more than 2,000 songs under its belt. During its Seoul performance, the group will sing its own songs as well as Christmas carols. Tickets for the concert, held at the Seoul Arts Center, will range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. For information, call (02) 54103183.
The King’s Singers
“Jang Pil-soon Live 2011”: Singer-songwriter Jang Pil-soon will hold a concert on Dec. 27 along with her long-time music colleagues Guitarist Han Choon-ho and bassist Kim Jung-ryul. The trio will be performing various folk, modern rock and electronic songs to show off the female vocalist’s powerful voice. Jang, considered a “goddess of folk songs” in Korea along with Han Young-ae, debuted in 1989. The concert will be held at the Sejong Center for Performing Arts. For information, call (02) 563-0595.
“Mamas Gun Live in Seoul”: Quintet rock band Mamas Gun from the U.K., which performed at the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival this year, will hold its first concert in Korea at V Hall in Hongdae on Dec. 1-2 at 8 p.m. Debuting in 2009 with album “Routes to Riches,” the act has been often compared with U.S. group Maroon 5. All standing tickets are 66,000 won.
“Love Concerto That Year, Winter”: Balladeers Park Jung-hyun and Sung Si-kyung will hold a joint year-end concert tour “Love Concerto That Year, Winter” in December in five major Korean cities. The two will start the tour in Busan on Dec. 4 and move to Daejeon on Dec. 10. In Daegu, the concert will be held on Dec. 17 and in Gwangju, on Dec. 24-25. The Seoul concert will be held from Dec. 29-31 at the Jamsil Sports Complex. Tickets, priced between 88,000 won and 121,000 won, are open at ticket.interpark.com.
“Countdown Fantasy 2011-2012”: The Countdown Fantasy festival will be held on Dec. 30 and 31 at the Ax-Korea in Seoul, joined by 22 teams including 10cm, Clazziquai, The Peter Pan Complex and Daybreak. The first such festival was held last year, joined by hundreds of indie-music fans. During the festival, artists will not only perform, but hold autograph events and award ceremonies to “come down from stage” and join the audience. For more information, visit www.mintpaper.com.
Poster for “Countdown Fantasy 2011-2012”
“The 106th Seoul Comic World”: An event for amateur cartoonists will be held in Seoul on Dec. 24-25, giving them the chance to exhibit and sell their creations to the visitors. Since the first event was held in 1999, the Comic World has been growing into one of the most important events for the growing number of cartoonist-wannabes in Korea. For more information about the event held at the SETEC, southern Seoul, call (02) 3142-2137.
“The 10th Seoul International Café Show”: From Nov. 24 through 27, Seoul will become the venue of world-leading coffee, tea and dessert brands in the world. The Korea Barista Championship, Café de Cinema, Afternoon Tea time and other various events will be held during the four days for any coffee- and tea-lovers. Last year’s event drew more than 64,000 visitors, according to organizers. For more information about the event held at COEX, southern Seoul, call (02) 501-3322.
“High Light Festival 2012 Countdown”: The High Light festival 2012 Countdown, an indoor hip hop and electronic music festival, will be held at Sheraton Grande Walkerhill’s Vista Hall and Walkerhill Theater on Dec. 31 from 10 p.m. through 4 a.m. next morning. Hip-hop group Far East Movement will be the headliner and other artists -- Sebastian, DJ Virman from Far East Movement, DJ Feadz, Justin Michael, Idiotape, Beat Burger and DJ Yup -- will also join the party. Reserved tickets are 132,000 won and 143,000 won at door. For details, call (02) 323-2838.
“David LaChapelle in Seoul”: Celebrated photographer David LaChapelle’s most comprehensive solo exhibition in Asia is underway at Seoul Arts Center’s Hangaram Design Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. It features over 200 of his signature celebrity and fashion photos as well as his latest works that weigh more on purely artistic and critical values but retain their wit and daring. The exhibition runs through Feb. 26. Tickets range from 6,000 won to 13,000 won. For more information, call (02) 566-0835 or visit www.dicseoul.com.
“Death by Hamburger,” 2001, by David LaChapelle (David LaChapelle)
“The Masters”: Opera Gallery Seoul is showcasing 40 masterpieces by some of the greatest artists of recent times. The exhibition includes works by Claude Monet, Fernand Leger, Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Marc Chagall, Auguste Rodin, Georges Braque, Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, Yves Klein, Keith Haring and Tom Wasselman. This is the first time that a high-profile exhibition is being held by the chain in Seoul while most of the Opera Gallery branches hold such big-name exhibitions every year. The exhibition runs through Dec. 31. For more information, call (02)3446-0070 or visit www.operagallery.com.
“Tell Me Tell Me: Australian and Korean Art 1976-2011”: The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, is holding a cultural exchange exhibition with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Taking the year 1976, when important Korean artists visited Australia with their works for the Biennale of Sydney, as the starting point, the exhibition introduces 130 works by key contemporary Korean and Australian artists. The exhibition runs through Feb. 19, 2012. Admission is 5,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2188-6114 or visit www.moca.go.kr.
“Work in Progress”: Daelim Contemporary Museum of Art in Tongui-dong, central Seoul, sheds new light on Karl Lagerfeld, not as a high-end designer, but as a photographer. Lagerfeld has produced many impressive photos including images of fashion collections and more experimental shots of models. Chanel and Fendi’s 2011 F/W collection photos taken by Lagerfeld are showcased to the public for the first time through the exhibition. The show runs through March 18 at Daelim Contemporary Museum of Arts. Tickets range from 2,000 won to 5,000 won. For more information, call (02) 720-0667 or visit www.daelimmuseum.org.
“Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life”: The exhibition shows the complexity, resilience, and vulnerability of the human body by displaying more than 200 pieces of plastinated human bodies. Divided into four sections, the show presents the human life cycle and aging -- from prenatal development to old age by displaying a remarkable collection ranging from plastinated embryos to findings on geographic clusters around the world where the oldest living people live. The exhibition is held as open run at The War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 6,000 won to 15,000 won. For more information, call (02) 541-6235 or visit www.bodyworlds.kr.
“The Court Painters of Joseon Dynasty”: In celebration of its seventh anniversary, Leeum brought together 110 paintings by “hwawon,” or court painters of the Joseon Dynasty. It showcases works by master painters like Kim Hong-do, Jang Seung-eop, Shin Yun-bok and Kim Deuk-sin, who are well-known among the Korean public due to their immense influence. The exhibition is divided into two parts -- “The Court Painter’s Brush: Forming Royal Authority” and “The Court Painter’s Brush: Painting Joseon.” It runs through Jan. 29. Tickets range from 4,000 won to 7,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2014-6900 or visit www.leeum.org.
“The Blood in Horses’ Eyes”: Korea National Contemporary Dance Company presents “The Blood in Horses’ Eyes” based on English writer Peter Shaffer’s “Equus.” Premiered in 1999, the show is famous for the dancers’ realistic depiction of the horses’ movements. It will run from Dec. 8 to 10 at Baek Seonghui & Jang Minho Theater in Seogye-dong, central Seoul. Admission is 10,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3472-1422 or visit www.kncdc.co.kr.
A scene from “The Blood in Horses’ Eyes”(KNCDC)
“The Nutcracker”: Universal Ballet Company presents the Christmas season favorite “The Nutcracker.” UBC’s interpretation is particularly known for its Act 2 when ten children pour out of Mother Ginger’s skirt. The scene is staged only in the daytime show. “The Nutcracker” runs from Dec. 21 to 31 at Universal Art Center in Neung-dong, eastern Seoul. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 100,000 won. For tickets, call 1544-1555 or visit www.uac.co.kr.
“Mid-time Fantasy Dance Performance”: The National Theater of Korea holds a Korean traditional dance performance every Tuesday at 11 a.m. There are eight different repertoires including a fan dance and a dance with “jango,” a type of Korean drum. The performance is being staged as an open run at the National Theater of Korea in Jangchung-dong, central Seoul. Admission is 10,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2280-4114 or visit www.ntok.go.kr.
“Miso”: Translated as “beautiful smile,” this musical 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 storyline based on a well-known folktale, “The Tale of Chunhyang.” There are very few spoken lines throughout the 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.
“200 Pound Beauty”: Former girl group S.E.S. member Bada stars as an obese singer who turns into a beauty by receiving a series of plastic surgery, in the musical adaptation of the famous 2006 romantic comedy film of the same title. The show, which was first premiered in local theaters in 2008, also started its Japanese tour in October. Telling a story of Han-byul, the former overweight lip-sync vocalist who becomes a popular singer after getting a plastic surgery-makeover, the show delves into the theme of self worth and universal desire for affection. KARA member Park Gyu-ri shares the role with Bada. The show opens on Dec. 6 to Feb. 5 of next year at Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul. For tickets and information, call (02) 1544-1555.
A scene from the musical “200 Pound Beauty” (Chungmu Art Hall)
“EVITA”: Korean adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical chronicling the life of Eva Peron ― the second wife of Argentinean president Juan Peron ― is returning for its second edition. Musical actresses Jeong Seon-a and Lisa will share the role of Eva Peron, an ambitious woman who became one of the most influential figures in Argentina’s history. Born as an illegitimate child to a wealthy man and his mistress, Peron grew up in poverty as her father chose not to support her. She eventually turned herself into a famous actress, and became the first lady of the nation after marrying a man who was 25 years senior of her age. Her husband and Argentinean president Juan Peron will be played by veteran actor Park Sang-won. The show runs from Dec. 9 to Jan. 29 of next year at LG Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call 1577-3363, or visit www.musicalevita.co.kr.
“Pick the Peak Up”: Production group White Out presents an exciting musical complimented with the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll this month. Titled “Pick the Peak Up,” the piece feels very much like a rock concert, while having a solid narrative of a group of university freshmen who’d like to form a rock band. The actors and actresses have spent a good five months mastering the guitar and keyboards, on top of vocal lessons. White Out is a production group founded by young graduates from Korea University of Arts’ theater program. The show opens on Nov. 23 and runs until Dec. 31 at Sam Art Hall in Daehangno in Seoul. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 25,000 won. For more information, call (02) 745-0308.
“Hamlet”: The Czech Republic’s rock superstar Janek Ledecky brings an exciting adaptation of the Shakespearean revenge tale to Seoul for the third time. The rock-star wrote the musical back in 1998, with no previous musical theater experience. It was a huge success in Prague and Bratislava, Slovakia, when it was first premiered in 1999, attracting some 10 million people over the next six years. The musical eventually made its way to Broadway in 2003, after a year-long adaptation process with Robert Johanson, a New-York based musical director. Its Korean edition was first premiered in 2007, and made another hit in 2008. Its third run, which kicked off on Oct. 10, runs until Dec. 17 at the Universal Arts Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 100,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 6391-6333 or visit www.musicalhamlet.com.
“Musical Winter Sonata”: Based on KBS’ 2002 mega hit drama series of the same name, “Musical Winter Sonata” is a heart-wrenching love story. Using the beautiful winter scenery of Chuncheon, Gangwon Province as a sentimental background, the show tells the story of two people unable to let go of their first love. The TV version received enthusiastic reception both home and abroad, especially in Japan. The musical is directed by Yoon Suk-ho, who directed the TV series, while Oh Eun-hee composed the music. The show runs until March 18 of next year, at Myungbo Art Hall in central Seoul. Tickets cost 50,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 1544-1555, or (070) 7019-6707.