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Theater

“Guess How Much I Love You”: Korean adaptation of “Guess How Much I Love You,” a musical based on children’s book of the same title by British writer Sam McBratney, is being staged once again in Seoul. The show premiered in Korea in January at Wonderspace Triangle Theater in Daehangno, Seoul, and was staged in more than eight venues nationwide, including KBS Ulsan Hall and MBC Art Hall in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province. A story of two hares telling how much they love each other, the simple tale offers both life lessons and touching insights for both grownups and children. The show runs from Jan. 6 until Feb. 26 at Dongyang Art Hall in southern Seoul, near Sinsa subway station line no. 3. Tickets cost 30,000 won. For tickets and information, call (02) 6711-1400.
A scene from the musical “Guess How Much I Love You?” (Wonderspace)
A scene from the musical “Guess How Much I Love You?” (Wonderspace)

“How Far Have You Come?”: Korea’s iconic folk diva Yang Hee-eun is once again on the musical stage with her veteran actress sister Yang Hee-Kyung, celebrating the 40th anniversary of her debut. The musical “How Far Have You Come?” delves into the life of Yang, following how she became who she is today. The show features C’est si Bon, a famous music salon in Mugyo-dong, Seoul, in the 1970s, where Yang made her debut as a singer along with some of the most talented young musicians of her generation. Yang will perform about 30 of her hits, including “Morning Dew” and “Love, about its Loneliness” during the show. The show premiered at Arko Arts Theater in Daehangno back in July. The second run, currently at the National Museum of Korea, runs until Dec. 31. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 10,000 won. For more information, call 1666-8662,

“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 surgeries, 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 the 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 runs from Dec. 6 to Feb. 5 of next year at Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul. For tickets and information, call (02) 1544-1555.

“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 the 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 the Korea University of Arts theater program. The show opened 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.

“EVITA”: The 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 her senior. 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.

“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 loves. The TV version received an 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.

Exhibitions

“The Garden of Her": South Korean artist Kong Rose Kyungyun is showcasing her latest works at her solo exhibition at Noam Gallery in Insa-dong, Seoul. Flowers and women are usual features in her vibrant and color-saturated paintings. Her works curiously show both Oriental and Western vibe, reflecting her life, perhaps, as she was born and grown here but immigrated to the U.S. in her early twenties. For more information, call (02) 720-2235 or visit www.noamgallery.com. 
A scene from 2010 HanPAC
A scene from 2010 HanPAC "MixedPlay" (HanPAC)

“David LaChapelle in Seoul”: Celebrated photographer David LaChapelle’s most comprehensive solo exhibition in Asia is under way 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.

“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 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.

“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, Samsung Museum of Art in Hannam-dong, central Seoul, 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. 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. 


Dance

"microphone": Hanguk Performing Arts Center will stage "microphone" as a part of its MixedPlay project. Not just experts in the dance field but also those from media, music, costume and even architecture industries chipped in to create an impressive show. Through a symbolic object "microphone," the show mirrors the anxiety of urbanites. It runs from Dec. 22 to 23 at Arko Arts Theater in Hyehwa-dong, central Seoul. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3668-0007 or visit www.hanpac.or.kr. 
"The Garden of Her" by Kong Rose Kyungyun (Noam Gallery"

“The Nutcracker”: Korea National Ballet and Universal Ballet Company together present the Christmas season favorite “The Nutcracker.” UBC’s “The Nutcracker” runs from Dec. 21 to 31 at Universal Art Center in Neung-dong, eastern Seoul. Tickets range from 10,000-100,000 won. For tickets, call 1544-1555 or visit www.uac.co.kr. KNB’s show runs from Dec. 16-25 at Seoul Arts Center. Tickets range from 5,000 won to 90,000 won. For more information, call (02) 587-6181 or visit www.kballet.org.

“Dance Spirit Project”: Led by South Korean choreographer Park Neongkul, seven modern dancers whose ages range from their teens to their 50s, take part in the Dance Spirit Project together. The dancers include b-boy turned modern dancer Shim Jae-ho and acclaimed choreographer Nam Young-ho, who works in both Korea and France. Dancing to K-pop music, the dancers will tell their lives and dance spirits on stage. It will run through Dec. 17 at LIG Art Hall in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul. Admission is 20,000 won. For more information, call (02) 6900-3912 or visit www.ligarthall.com.

“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.



Classical Music

“Harpist Jung Kwak’s Christmas Concert”: Harpist Kwak Chung is the only artist who professionally plays both classic and electric harp and has become well-known by appearing in maestro Zubin Mehta’s concerts. Her upcoming concert will consist of “Libertango” by Piazolla, “Concierto De Aranjuez” by Rodrigo and “Boogie Woogie” by Deltour. The musician plans to donate profits from this concert to the hospital for disabled children. Tickets to the show, which will be held at the Seoul Arts Center on Dec. 24, range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call (02) 780-5054.

“Min Yoo-kyung’s Mozart Violin Concerto Series II”: Violinist Min Yoo-kyung will perform Mozart’s violin concerto series, following her premiere performance two years ago. The audience will have an opportunity to appreciate Mozart’s five violin concertos and the “Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra.” The concert will take place at the Seoul Arts Center on Dec. 26. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 706-1481.

“Tango Extremo In Seoul”: The Dutch ensemble Tango Extremo will hold a concert at the Arte Hall on Dec. 19, which will be a live recording by “Arte Channel.” Tango Extremo is known as Europe’s leading tango orchestra and the upcoming performance will be the group’s second concert in South Korea following their previous concert in 2008. The contemporary tango music band, known for their mix of tango, jazz and Brazilian music, is composed of violinist Tanya Schaap, double bassist Luc van Gestel, pianist Anna Elis de Jong, soprano saxophonist Ben van den Dungen and accordionist Hans van der Maas. Tango Extremo “puts its own stamp on the Argentine Tango, and does that with a lot of passion and commitment,” the group said in a release. The band will present the theater program "Viva la Vida!" which they have also played in Dutch theaters and South America last season. For more information about the group, visit: www.tangoextremo.com. For tickets, go to www.interpark.com. 
The Dutch ensemble Tango Extremo
The Dutch ensemble Tango Extremo

“Chung Kyung-wha: ‘She is Back’”: Korea’s world-renowned violinist will perform on Dec. 19, 21, 25 and 26 in Seoul and other major Korean cities in her first solo recital in the country in nine years. Suffering a finger injury five years ago, Chung has not been able to hold a solo performance for years, focusing on her role as a teacher 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.


Pop Music

“Pat Metheny”: U.S. jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny will perform with double-bassist Larry Grenadier on Jan. 13 at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Metheny, the winner of 18 Grammy Awards, is considered one of the most critically acclaimed jazz musicians of the 1970s and ’80s. The musician recently released the solo album “What’s It All About,” which consists of cover songs. The concert will offer some of his representative songs as well as new pieces. Tickets range from 55,000 won to 132,000 won. For more information, call (02) 563-0595.
American jazz musician Pat Metheny
American jazz musician Pat Metheny

“2AM: The Last Time”: The famous four-member boy band will hold a holiday concert on Dec. 24 and 25, reintroducing themselves to fans after a year hiatus. 2AM is one of the two subgroups that branched out from the 11-member boy band One Day, produced by entertainment powerhouse JYP Entertainment. Tickets to the concert, which will be held at Jamsil Students’ Gymnasium, will range from 55,000 won to 99,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555, or visit www.ticket.interpark.com

“Joe Brooks: Acoustic Christmas Dream”: Twenty-four-year-old British singer-songwriter Joe Brooks will hold his first solo concert in Seoul on Dec. 19. Brooks has been regarded as a fast-emerging singer in Britain with a loyal international following that exceeds 100,000 Facebook fans and has nearly 20 million plays on MySpace. The debut video for his signature single “Superman” received 1 million plays in just eight days and is currently at 4.5 million views overall. He is still enjoying high popularity in Korea since the release of his album “A Reason To Swim” here. Tickets for the concert, held at the V-Hall in Hongdae, are on sale for 66,000 won. For information, call (02) 6339-1232.

“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.


Festival


“Seoul Electronic Music Festival”: The second Seoul Electronic Music Festival will be held at Kintex, Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province, on Jan. 14. Headlining the show is renowned electro-funk duo Crystal Castles, whose music was made popular via the British TV series “Skins.” British trance music group Above & Beyond will also appear. The rest of the lineup consists of popular local bands such as the famed Idiotape, which appeared at Global Gathering two years in a row and received a great deal of positive acclaim. For more information, call (02) 323-2838 or visit www.semf.co.kr.


“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”
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 visitors. The first event held in 1999, 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.


“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.
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