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Sejong Center unveils new season that will defy growing competition

By Park Ga-young

Published : Jan. 9, 2024 - 17:22

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Ahn Ho-sang, CEO of The Sejong Center for the Performing Arts talks during a press conference held at the center Tuesday. (SAC) Ahn Ho-sang, CEO of The Sejong Center for the Performing Arts talks during a press conference held at the center Tuesday. (SAC)

Facing increasing competition from business, The Sejong Center for the Performing Arts will introduce more in-house productions and adopt innovative marketing and sales strategies, its CEO Ahn Ho-sang said during a press conference Tuesday.

“Hotels and resorts have emerged as new competitors as they sell experiences rather than mere consumer goods. We are considering how to deliver meaningful experiences to our audience,” Ahn explained.

The Sejong Center’s new season, which runs from Mar. 22 to Dec. 30, will showcase the largest number of in-house productions to date, accompanied by a novel marketing strategy designed to engage new audiences.

For the new season, which is the third since the Sejong Center announced its transformation as a production theater in 2021, the Sejong Center will offer 29 productions and 229 performances by six in-house art groups under Seoul Metropolitan Government.

The six groups are the Seoul Metropolitan Traditional Music Orchestra, the Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theatre, the Seoul Metropolitan Chorus, the Seoul Metropolitan Musical Theater, the Seoul Metropolitan Theatre and the Seoul Metropolitan Opera. The total will become seven when the city ballet company is launched this year,

The center saw its potential last year when it put up 220 performances of 25 productions, Ahn said, adding that Puccini’s opera “Turandot,” classical ballet “The Nutcracker,” original musical “Spring Again,” and "One Dance," which premiered at Lincoln Center in July, were among the highlight of the 2023 season.

This year's 29 works include both well-received repertories from last year such as “One Dance” and “Spring Again” and new productions such as opera “Tosca,” featuring Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu and Korean bass-baritone Samuel Youn and “The Tribe,” a musical by emerging writers and directors. A new production of Verdi's opera "La Traviata" will be set in Gyeongseong, as Seoul was known in the 1900s. "Guk Su-ho and Kim Jae-duk's Four Seasons" aspires to regenerate the success of "One Dance."

The Seoul Metropolitan Chorus will offer a series of concerts under the theme of "Romance" throughout the year.

With productions like “The Tribe,” the center hopes to attract new audiences, particularly younger adults. A concert series under the theme of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” in May in addition to its contemporary music-focused “Sync Next 24” from July 5 to Sept. 8 will be also appealing to the younger audiences, according to the center.

“Sync Next 24,” held at Sejong’s black box theater, will present not only local talents such as artist Woo Kuk-won but also international artists, including Iranian playwright Amir Reza Koohestani.

To respond to the fast-changing consumer behavior and trends, The Sejong Center is introducing a subscription service which provides discounts of up to 40 percent to ticket prices for 39,600 won in annual subscription fee, in addition to a VIP service and packages by genre.

This year, the center will introduce a range of programs that enable underprivileged children and youths to attend performances and participate in cultural activities such as a youth orchestra.

To support the increased number of in-house productions and other activities, which entail a rise in production costs, the center managed to secure an additional 4.9 billion won ($3.71 million) for the 2024 budget, the CEO said, bringing the total to 66.4 billion won.