“A Tale of Two Cities”: “A Tale of Two Cities,” a musical based on the novel of the same title by Charles Dickens, is being restaged in Seoul after its first Seoul run last year. The piece is set against the conflicts between the rebels and aristocracy during the French revolution and its parallel world in 18th Century London. It tells the story of Sydney Carton, a shrewd young English lawyer who develops a strong, unrequited love for Lucie Manette, a young loving French woman who grew up in England. The show runs from June 18 to August 11 at Charlotte Theater in Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call 1544-1555.
“Kafka on the Shore”: Famed Japanese writer Haruki Murakami’s 2002 novel “Kafka on the Shore” is being staged as a play in Seoul. A production by American director Frank Galati, the show premiered in Chicago in 2008, and had a successful Japanese run in 2012. Based on Murakami’s literary blend of magical realism and suspenseful plot, the play follows its 15-year-old protagonist Kafka who runs away from his father’s home to escape an Oedipal curse. “Kafka on the Shore” runs from May 4 to June 16 at DongSoong Art Center in Seoul. For more information, call (02) 764-1008.
“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.
“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.
“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.Exhibitions
“Reference a Elle”: Kukje Gallery presents a solo exhibition of works by celebrated Egyptian artist Ghada Amer until June 30. The exhibition features Amer’s new sculptural works that explore politics and sexuality such as “The Blue Bra Girls,” and paintings. Through the artwork, Amer honors a female activist who was beaten and stripped of her clothes leaving her blue bra exposed during months of violent protest against the Mubarak regime in Egypt. Another sculpture, “The Heart,” focuses on warm emotions between two lovers in an embrace. The paintings reveal Amer’s mature style, which incorporates popular cultural motifs, appropriated images of anonymous women and complex abrabesque and floral arrangements. For more information, call (02) 735-8449.
“Beyond the Veil”: Arario Gallery presents a solo exhibition of Filipino artist Geraldine Javier from June 7 to July 7 at its Seoul gallery. Recognized as one of the most celebrated Southeast Asian artist, Javier is well-known for works that mix different media such as embroidery and lace onto the surface of the traditional paintings. She presents 13 works that range from paintings and sculptures, to installations and photographs. The artist uses familiar images of nature like trees that carry philosophical meanings that concern the inevitable fate of human beings such as death, goodness and evil. In “Death to the King: Taong Grasa,” Javier depicts a homeless person surrounded by birds looking for something to eat and not knowing whether the person is alive or dead. For more information, call (02) 541-5701.
“Towards”: The nature depicted by artist Kim Bo-hie looks familiar to many with common motifs such as leaves, trees and flowers. But what captures the viewers’ attention are the details ― such as an exotic-looking florescent blue lizard on a tree or colorful birds ― that bring life to her works. Her “Towards” series is a mix of the nature she saw in Jeju, Korea and foreign countries during her travels. The 19 paintings of the series are currently on display at Hakgojae Gallery in Seoul. For six years, Kim has been capturing close views of nature such as leaves of Ravenala, the so-called Traveler’s Tree, and a variety of tropical plants. The exhibition runs through June 9 at Hakgojae Gallery, Jongno-gu, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 720-1524.
“Slant Rhymes”: Kukje Gallery is holding a group exhibition of young artists with experimental ideas. The exhibition arranged by independent curator Kim Hyun-jin shows creative artworks by seven artists including Lee Mi-yeon’s pencil drawings of images from press photographs of natural disasters; and Moon Young-min’s paintings of a man in a suit bowing, which examine the irony of bowing during a memorial service for ancestors and the Western suit the main is wearing. Also, video works by Cha Jeamin reveal the artist’s unique perspectives on today’s Korean society. The exhibition runs through June 16 at Kukje Gallery in Jongno, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 735-8449.
“The Guardians of Buddhism”: The National Museum of Korea is exhibiting paintings and other artifacts highlighting the sacred figures of Buddhism, who are ranked lower than Buddha or Bodhisattva but are equally important in the religious circle. The show is comprised of six sections, each section focusing on the different guardians with different blessings and meanings. The exhibition is held through Sept. 8 at the Buddhist Arts Hall from Tuesday through Sunday. For more information call (02) 2077-9000.
“Korean Fashion Creator Andre Kim”: The National Folk Museum is exhibiting a total of 18 garments designed by the late fashion designer Andre Kim, which have been recently donated to the museum. The exhibition, “Korean Fashion Creator Andre Kim,” will be held on three occasions: the first through Aug. 26, the second from Aug. 28-Dec. 23 and the third between Dec. 25 and April 21, 2014. The legendary seven-layer evening coat, wedding dress, tafetta dress, organza ensemble as well as sketches and keepsakes of the late designer will be displayed. The museum is open from Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, call (02) 3704-3114.Festivals
“Chuncheon International Mime Festival”: The Gangwon Province city of Chuncheon bustles with mimes and tourists during the Chuncheon International Mime Festival, the largest mime festival in Asia. Various mime performances will be held during the 12-day event at the Festival Theater Momzit, Chuncheon Culture & Art Center and other venues. The festival runs through May 26. For further information, visit www.mimefestival.com or call (033) 250-3067.
“Muju Firefly Festival”: This environmentally friendly festival, which runs from June 1-9 in Muju, South Jeolla Province, is a hands-on chance to learn about fireflies. Visitors can observe fireflies up close in their natural habitat as well as learn about them in depth at the Bandi Nara Museum. Other events include trout fishing and rafting in Namdaecheon stream. Visitors are recommended to make an online reservation in advance to observe fireflies at www.firefly.or.kr. The admission fee for observation is 5,000 won for adults and 3,000 won for children. For more information, visit www.firefly.or.kr.
“2013 Suncheon Bay Garden Expo”: Suncheon in South Jeolla Province will provide visitors with countless opportunities to experience nature at its finest at the 2013 Suncheon Garden Expo Korea. The Expo, held for the first time in Korea, displays beautifully designed gardens that also stand as examples of green development. The expo site stretches to the city’s iconic natural wetland, Suncheon Bay. The expo runs until Oct. 20. The admission is 16,000 won for adults (13,000 won for a group); 12,000 won for teenagers (10,000 won for a group) and 8,000 won for children (6,000 won for a group). For more information, visit www.2013expo.or.kr.Dance
“MODAFE 2013”: The 2013 International Modern Dance Festival (MODAFE), one of the oldest modern dance festivals in Korea, kicked off its latest edition last week. Under the theme “Dance and Life,” 18 works from Korea and abroad are to be featured during this year’s festival. Swiss choreographer Nicole Seiler is bringing “Living-room Dancers,” which showcases tap-dancing, electro, salsa, Argentine tango, and even samba. The outdoor performance features amateur dancers, many of whom did not have professional training. In the piece, each dancer inhabits a “private apartment” that has been “transformed into a dance-floor” for the show. Meanwhile, Spanish choreographer Daniel Abreu, who was featured at last year’s edition, is making another visit to Seoul this year, staging “Otros Rastros” this time. The dance features three dancers, and deals with a man’s journey from life to death, and questions “what the world is,” or “what this world should be.” The 2013 International Modern Dance Festival runs through Sunday at a number of venues in Seoul. For this year’s full lineup, visit www.modafe.org or call (02) 756-5352.
“Salves”: Following American choreographer William Forsythe’s cutting-edge performance “Heterotopia” last month, Korea’s dance scene is welcoming yet another experimental work from overseas, this time by French choreographer Maguy Marin. Titled “Salves,” the dance features “pessimism that dominates today’s world,” according to its local promoters. The piece premiered in Lyon, France, in 2010, and received rave reviews from the French press. It takes place in an unexplained indoor space that looks like a “residential house in times of war” or a “secret shelter for natural disaster refugees.” The show’s seven dancers, at one point, set a meal on their table, and then try to escape the property at the next minute. The piece is said to depict the reality of the contemporary world, where “there is no exit” from problems and suffering. “Salves” runs from June 5 to 7 at LG Arts Center in southern Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 80,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114.
“2013 HanPAC Soloist”: Hanguk Performing Arts Center is holding a dance bash featuring seven celebrated dancers and seven choreographers. Each dancer was paired up with a choreographer to stage a collaborative piece for the event. Among the seven teams, Korean National Ballet’s principal dancer Kim Ji-young and choreographer Kim Bo-ram are together staging “Chaos Begins,” a dance that explores the theme of a chaotic state of the mind and society. Korean dancer Kim Sung-yong and Brazilian choreographer Gisela Rocha are presenting “Mother & Alien Son,” which features the relationship between a mother and her child. “2013 HanPAC Soloist” runs from May 31 to June 1 at Arko Arts Theater in Daehangno in Seoul. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 40,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3668-0007.Classical music
“Orchestre des Champs-Elysees & Collegium Vocale Gent conducted by Philippe Herreweghe”: Belgian conductor Philippe Herreweghe will lead his Champs-Elysees Orchestra alongside choir, Collegium Vocale Gent, to perform Mozart’s “Requiem,” and “Jupiter” at LG Arts Center on June 1-2. The concert starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday and at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Herreweghe, one of the most celebrated Baroque music explorers, established the orchestra to delve into the music that was widely popular during the late 16th century to 18th century in Europe. Korean soprano Lim Sun-hye as well as alto Kristina Hammarstrom, tenor Benjamin Hulett and bass Johannes Weisser will join the performance as soloists for the second day. Tickets are priced between 40,000 won-150,000 won and reservation is available at www.lgart.com. For more information call (02) 2005-0114.
“Yuri Bashmet & Moscow Soloists”: Internationally acclaimed Yuri Bashmet will lead the Moscow Soloists for the orchestra’s fifth concert in Korea on May 29 at the Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall at 8 p.m. Featured will be Bach Piano Concerto BWV 1052 D Minor; Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata A Minor D. 821; Paganini’s Viola Concerto in A Minor; and Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings.” Korean pianist Son Yeol-eum will perform the Bach piece. Bashmet, who will play the viola for the Bach piece, gained international stardom when he won the Munich ARD International Music Competition in 1978. He was appointed artistic director for the 2014 Sochi International Art Festival. Tickets are priced between 20,000 won and 70,000 won. Reservations are available at www.interpark.com, www.ticketlink.com, www.lotte.com, www.sacticket.co.kr, www.clubbalcony.co.kr and www.yes24.com. For more information, call (02) 720-3933.
“2013 Korea Opera Festival”: Until June 9, a series of famous operas will be staged as part of the 2013 Korea Opera Festival held by renowned Korean opera groups at the Seoul Arts Center Opera Theater and Shinsegae outdoor plaza. The Noble Art Opera will feature “Rigoletto” on May 24-26 followed by the Korea Opera’s “Sohn Yang-won” on May 31-June 2 and the Korea National Opera’s “Tcheo Yong” on June 8-9. Ticket prices range from 10,000 won to 200,000 won. Reservations can be made at www.sacticket.co.kr. For more information call (02) 580-1300.
Ditto Festival poster (Credia)
“DITTO Festival”: The annual DITTO Festival focusing on chamber music is back with bigger names and events from June 9-30. This year, Bach will be highlighted with Ensemble DITTO members ― violist Richard Yongjae O’Neill, violinists Stefan Pi Jackiw and Daniel Chong, pianist Ji Yong, and cellist Michael Nicholas ― as well as guest stars such as bassist DaXun Chang, pianist Francesco Tristano, pianist Lim Dong-hyek, violinist Zia Hyunsu Shin, conductor Adriel Kim, flutist Cho Sung-hyun and Ditto Chamber Orchestra joining the line-up. Powerhouses such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with “Chinese sensation” pianist Yuja Wang as well as violinist Anne Sophie Mutter with her 14 proteges will also be part of the festival as special performers. Tickets, priced between 30,000 won and 100,000 won, can be purchased at www.sacticket.co.kr, www.interpark.com and www.clubbalcony.co.kr. For more information about the festival, visit www.dittofest.com.Pop music
“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.
“Ultra Korea”: One of the world’s largest annual outdoor dance music parties, the Ultra Music Festival, is returning to Seoul this summer with some of the hottest DJs from around the world. This year’s Ultra Korea 2013 two-day music festival summer fest will feature an all-star lineup of some of the most recognized names in electronic dance music, including a return appearance by Carl Cox along with Kaskade, Sander van Doorn, Tommy Trash, Fedde Le Grand, Boy George DJ Set, Krewella and Riot Gear. The second annual Ultra Korea will be held on June 14 and 15 at Seoul’s Olympic Stadium in Jamsil. Ticket prices range from 100,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“What I wish from the spring”: The Position also known as Lim Jae-wook is having his first solo concert on June 22 at Ehwa Womans University. With his sad and delicate voice, the singer is well-known for his mega hit song, “I Love You,” released in 2000 along with a blockbuster music video by Cha Seung-won and Shin Ha-gyun. At the concert, he will be performing several hit songs including “For you,” “Summer Time,” “Desperado,” “I love you” as well as his newly released songs from his latest mini-album, which was released on March 28. Tickets are priced at 99,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.
“2013 Ansan Valley Rock Festival”: As Korea’s biggest rock festival, the Valley Rock Festival presents some of the best line-ups of big musicians from Korea and abroad such as this year’s headliners The Cure, NiN, Skrillex, the Foals, the XX, My Bloody Valentine, Idiotape, Peppertones and many others. This year’s festival has moved from Jisan Resort to the Daebu Sea Breeze Theme Park. The three-day festival will be held from July 26 to 28. Ticket prices are 120,000 won for a one-day pass, 230,000 won for a three-day pass and 245,000 won for a three-day pass plus an admission ticket to the camping ground. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com.