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By Korea Herald

Published : April 19, 2013 - 20:51

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Theater

“Les Miserables”: The all-Korean production of Cameron Mackintosh’s legendary musical “Les Miserables” is being performed in Seoul. Based on 19th-century French writer Victor Hugo’s timeless novel of the same title, the musical tells the story of Jean Valjean ― a hapless French peasant who serves 19 years in prison for stealing a piece of bread for his starving family in turbulent 19th-century France. After being released, he manages to assume a new identity and becomes mayor of a town. While trying to avoid being recaptured by Javert, a police inspector, he agrees to take care of Cosette, the illegitimate daughter of Fantine ― a sick, abused prostitute who had to sell her hair and teeth to make a living. “Les Miserables” is currently on an open run at Blue Square’s Samsung Electronics Hall in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 90,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555 or visit www.lesmis.co.kr. 
A scene from “Les Miserables” (Les Miserables Korea, Inc.) A scene from “Les Miserables” (Les Miserables Korea, Inc.)

“Jesus Christ Superstar”: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” is being staged in Seoul, with top musical stars Park Eun-tae, Yoon Do-hyun and Michael Lee in the leading roles. Based on the Gospels’ accounts of the last week of Jesus’ life, the rock opera features political and personal conflicts between Jesus and Judas. “Jesus Christ Superstar” runs from April 26 to June 9 at Charlotte Theater in Jamsil, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call 1577-3363.

“Festival Bo:m”: Festival Bo:m, an annual avant-garde visual and performing arts festival, is having its seventh edition this year. A total of 26 cutting-edge works from Korea and abroad will be featured at a number of venues in Seoul. One of the highlights is Italian theater director Romeo Castellucci’s controversial work “On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God,” which deals with a devoted son who repeatedly cleans up his ill father’s mess and washes him. Other notable works include French artist Jerome Bel and Zurich-based company Theater HORA’s “Disabled Theater,” which features actors with learning disabilities; and local artist Chung Hee-young’s film “Stranger,” in which the filmmaker revisits her childhood home and meets up with those living there today. The festival funs from March 22 to April 18. For more information, visit www.festivalbom.org.

“Those Days”: Late folk-rock singer Kim Kwang-seok’s (1964-1996) music is being made into a musical. The piece, titled “Those Days,” features a total of 30 songs written by the late artist, while telling the story of the daughter of a Korean president who goes missing on the day of the 20th anniversary of Korea-China diplomatic relations. It features popular musical and TV actors Yoo Jun-sang and Oh Man-seok, as well as actresses Kim Jeong-hwa and Bang Jin-ui. The show runs from April 4 to June 30 at Daehangno Musical Center in Hyehwa-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 55,000 won to 99,000 won. For more information, call (070) 7016-2470.

“Shear Madness”: The Korean adaptation of the popular German play “Shear Madness” is back for its second run in Seoul. The play is one of the longest running in the world, premiering in 1963. The play takes place in a hair salon, which is owned by a gay hairdresser named George. After George and his flirty assistant Suji welcome two customers, one a wealthy housewife and the other an antique dealer, the landlady of the shop is murdered upstairs. The audience is asked to participate in the process of solving the crime, trying to figure out who is the murderer among the four characters in the salon. “Shear Madness” is currently on an open run at Daehangno Culture Space Feeling 2 in Hyehwa-dong, Seoul. All tickets cost 30,000 won. For more information, call (02) 744-4334.

Dance

“Shimchung”: Korea’s Universal Ballet Company is staging its original work “Shimchung” in May. Based on the classic Korean folk tale, the ballet tells the story of a young woman named Shim-chung who volunteers to sacrifice herself to the sea god in a desperate attempt to restore the sight of her blind father. The piece premiered in 1986 in Seoul, and is considered one of Korea’s most successful ballets. “Shimchung” runs from May 9 to 12 at the National Theater of Korea. Tickets range from 10,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
A scene from Universal Ballet Company’s “Shimchung”(UBC) A scene from Universal Ballet Company’s “Shimchung”(UBC)

“Gangdong Spring Dance Festival”: Seoul’s Gangdong Arts Center is holding its annual festival featuring a total of 19 works in diverse genres, including ballet, modern, and traditional Korean dance. The festival celebrates its second edition this year, featuring the work of more than 45 local dance companies. Some of the notable performances include Kook Soo-ho’s Didim Dance Company’s traditional Korean dance “The Grand Concert of Drums” choreographed in 1985. Dancers carry and play a number of large traditional drums as they dance. The second Gangdong Spring Dance Festival runs from April 21 to May 19. For more information, call (02) 440-0500 or visit www.gdf.gangdongarts.or.kr.

Pop music

“Kraftwerk”: German-based group Kraftwerk, one of the early pioneers in electronic music will host a special 3-D visual performance at Jamsil Sports Complex on April 27. Kraftwerk was formed more than 40 years ago and the band’s combination of computerized and electronically engineered music was revolutionary. The group’s unique sound has influenced countless musicians and bands including U2, David Bowie, Franz Ferdinand and many others. Tickets for the show are 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
The German-based pioneers of electronic music Kraftwerk will perform live at Jamsil Sports Complex on April 27. (Kraftwerk) The German-based pioneers of electronic music Kraftwerk will perform live at Jamsil Sports Complex on April 27. (Kraftwerk)

“Unite all Originals Live with Snoop Dogg”: Snoop Dogg, a.k.a. Snoop Lion, will be performing in Seoul for the first time. Snoop Lion is one of the most iconic figures in the American hip-hop industry. After a trip to Jamaica last year, the rapper revealed his conversion to the Rastafarian movement and announced his rebirth under the name Snoop Lion. The rapper was previously known for his violent lyrics, but shifted his gears from hip-hop to reggae following his conversion. Snoop Lion will perform live at the Olympic Park Soccer Stadium on May 4 along with special guests 2NE1. Ticket prices for the show range from 55,000 won to 88,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.

“Jason Mraz Live in Seoul”: One of the most loved American pop singers in Korea, Jason Mraz is returning to Seoul to host his sixth concert. The singer, who started his career playing in coffeehouses, released his first commercial debut album “Waiting for My Rocket to Come” in 2002. After the release of his second album, “Mr. A-Z,” three years later, Mraz’s popularity skyrocketed. Last year Mraz released his fourth studio album “Love is a Four Letter Word,” featuring the lead acoustic ballad “I Won’t Give Up.” Mraz will perform live in Seoul once again on May 17 at Jamsil Sports Complex starting at 6:30 p.m. The concert will also feature guest performers Roy Kim, IDIOTAPE and Joe Brooks. Ticket prices for the upcoming performance range from 110,000 won to 132,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.

“Hello: Cho Yong-pil”: The legendary 63-year-old Cho Yong-pil has returned to the music scene after 10 years, with a comeback that splashed headlines. Cho is considered one of the most influential and iconic Korean singers of all time. Cho first debuted as a musician in 1968 performing for the U.S. Army with his country band Atkins. His single “Come Back to Busan Port,” which was released in 1975, helped launch his career. Five years later he released his first album titled “The Woman Outside the Window” and later became the first Korean pop singer ever to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The versatile singer will begin his “Hello” nationwide tour with three concert performances in Seoul from May 31 to June 2 at the Gymnastics Stadium at Olympic Park. Ticket prices for the show range from 77,000 won to 154,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.

Classical music

“Don Carlos”: The Korea National Opera is staging “Don Carlos,” dubbed the “greatest tragic story of Verdi,” at Seoul Arts Center from April 25-28. The opera follows the story of Prince Carlos, whose father, King Filippo II, marries his son’s fianc for political purposes. Torn apart, the prince attempts to kill his own father, which results in him being punished by death at the tender age of 23. Internationally renowned stage director Elijah Moshinsky will interpret the “best psychological opera” and Pietro Rizzo will lead the Korean Symphony Orchestra. World-class baritone Philip Kang will appear as Filippo II while Kim Jung-il and Na Seung-seo play Don Carlos. Tickets are priced between 10,000 won and 150,000 won, and reservations are available at www.sacticket.co.kr or www.interpark.com. For more information, call (02) 586-5282.
“Don Carlos” (Korea National Opera) “Don Carlos” (Korea National Opera)

“Maestro Series”: The KBS Symphony Orchestra will feature Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104 and Glazunov’s Symphony No. 5 in B Minor, Op. 55 at the Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall on May 10 at 8 p.m. The orchestra will be led by Kees Bakles, who had formerly conducted the Malaysia Philharmonic Orchestra. Cellist Jing Zhao, winner of the 2005 Munich ARD International Music Competition, will also perform. Tickets are priced between 20,000 won and 50,000 won, with booking available at www.sacticket.co.kr. For more information call (02) 6099-7409.

“Lorin Maazel & Die Mnichner Philharmoniker”: Maestro Lorin Maazel will conduct the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra at Seoul Arts Center on April 21 at 5 p.m. and April 22 at 8 p.m. The orchestra, named one of the top 10 orchestras of all time by Grammophone magazine, will feature Beethoven’s “Coriolan Overture” and Symphonies No. 4 and No. 7 on Sunday; and Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet Overture,” Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 and Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps” on Monday. Up-and-coming Korean pianist Cho Seong-jin will join the orchestra for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. Tickets are priced between 70,000 won and 350,000 won and booking is available at www.sacticket.co.kr. For more information, call (02) 599-5743.

“J.S. Bach’s Six Cello Suites”: Cellist Yang Sung-won is holding a recital featuring Bach’s six suites for cello on April 21 at 4 p.m. at LG Arts Center. Yang is said to have studied the manuscript owned by Bach’s second wife, Anna Magdalena, one of the oldest available, and three others to research what seems to be the closest to the original Bach scores. Internationally acclaimed music critic David Ledbetter will give a brief introduction about the world of Bach before the 3 1/2-hour concert. Tickets are priced between 30,000 won and 70,000 won with a 20 percent discount for students. For reservations and information, call (02) 2005-0114 or visit www.lgart.com.

Exhibitions

“Sweet Spring”: Lee Hwaik Gallery holds a group exhibition of six artists whose artworks give off dynamic energy of and fascination with the spring season. The exhibition features Kim Duk-ki’s colorful and warm paintings in the “Home Sweet Home” series, and Nam Kyung-min’s room paintings that feature reconstructed images based on the artist’s imagination. Park Sang-mi, whose background is in Oriental painting, presents works drawn with Indian ink and color powders. The works offer contrast between vivid colors in background and dark-colored plants drawn in Indian ink. Other works include fun animal character sculptures by Noh Jun and playful sculptures by Geum Joong-ki. The exhibition runs through April 30 at Lee Hwaik Gallery in Jongno, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 730-7817.
“Under the Sunshine” by Kim Duk-ki (Lee Hwaik Gallery) “Under the Sunshine” by Kim Duk-ki (Lee Hwaik Gallery)

“At the Nexus of Painting and Writing”: The paintings of the famous Western abstract art masters and contemporary artists from around the globe, especially those expressing elements of calligraphy, are gathered under the theme of “At the Nexus of Painting and Writing” at the Seoul Art Calligraphy Museum. The exhibition displays 79 works by 59 artists whose works highlight the importance of the physical human touch in the digital age, and the influence of calligraphy on contemporary art. The exhibition continues through May 5 at the Calligraphy Museum of Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 580-1655.

“Opulence: Treasures of Korean Traditional Craft”: Opulent artifacts of ancient Korea are on display at the Samsung Museum of Art, Leeum. The museum gathered 65 pieces of crafts from national museums in Korea and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to show the extravagance and opulence that dominated the high society of the Three Kingdoms Period (57-668), Unified Silla (668-935) and Goryeo (918-1392). Among the artifacts on exhibit are nine national treasures and 14 treasures. The artifacts are not only beautiful treasures, but are also invaluable historical pieces that offer glimpses into ancient Korean society. The exhibition runs through June 2 at the Samsung Museum of Art, Leeum in Hannam-dong, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 2014-6900.

“Love Actually”: The warm spring breeze and flowers put people in a good mood and perhaps evoke thoughts of spring romance. Fittingly, a love-themed art exhibition opened at Seoul Museum on March 14, a romantic day celebrated in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea when men give presents to women in return for what they received on Valentine’s Day. The museum has combined romantic movies and art under the theme of love at the new exhibition “Love Actually.” It presents six themes of love such as new love, pure love, everlasting love, passionate love and past love with movies that best represent each theme with matching artwork. The exhibition, which runs through June 16, also runs free screenings of movies every Saturday. The movie schedule is available at www.seoulmuseum.org. For more information, call (02) 395-0100.

“Peranakan World: Cross-cultural Art from Singapore and the Straits”: The National Museum of Korea is holding an exhibition about Peranakan, loosely translated as “local-born” in the Malay language. They are the descendants of Southeast Asians and “outsiders” in Singapore. About 230 items showing the lives of the affluent and hybrid culture of the Peranakan in Southeast Asia are displayed Tuesdays through Sundays until May 19. Docent programs are offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. while a “conversation with the curator” will be held Wednesdays at 7 p.m. For more information, call (02) 2077-9000.

Festivals

“Gwangalli Eobang Festival”: Eobang refers to the fishermen’s cooperative community in Suyeong, located in the city of Busan. The festival is the largest spring celebration in the city. Visitors will be able to enjoy fishermen’s dances and games, raw fish and other seafood dishes, as well as colorful events in the natural setting of Gwangalli Beach. The festival runs from April 26-28. For more information, visit festival-eobang.suyeong.go.kr or call (051) 610-4061. 
A scene from a previous Gwangalli Eobang Festival (Gwangalli Eobang Festival) A scene from a previous Gwangalli Eobang Festival (Gwangalli Eobang Festival)

“Hampyeong Butterfly Festival”: Hampyeong, South Jeolla Province, becomes a “land of butterflies and flowers” each spring. During the festival, about 120,000 butterflies will be released over flower gardens spread across an area of 1 million square meters. The program will include releasing butterflies, making butterfly-themed craftwork and masks, a bug race, a beetle-wrestling competition, and various performances and exhibitions. Eco-friendly farm produce will also be on sale. The festival will take place at Hampyeong Expo Park from April 26 to May 8. For more information, visit www.hampyeong.go.kr/2008_hpm/hpm13/m1index.php or call 061-320-3364.

“Shinan Tulip Festival”: Shinan, a county made up of over 1,000 islands off Mokpo on the southwest coast, is an ideal area for growing tulips with its abundant sunshine and fertile soil. Imjamyeon of Shinan County boasts the largest tulip-growing area in Korea with a total size of 10 hectares. At this time of year, Imjamyeon is in bloom with 3 million tulip bulbs in 73 different tulip species. Programs include making flowerpots, walking through rapeseed flower fields, and riding horses and bicycles. The festival runs from April 19-28. For more information, call (061) 240-8880 or visit www.shinantulip.co.kr.

“Ulsan Whale Festival”: Ulsan, a habitat for whales, holds an annual whale-themed festival from April 25-28 at Jangsaengpohang Port and Taehwagang River. Visitors can go whale watching, see demonstrations of traditional whaling and more. The festival also holds entertainment activities such as a whale-themed parade and folk games for family visitors. For more information, call (052) 276-8476.