From Studio Ghibli's enchanting melodies to the Polish musical spirit embodied by Chopin's compositions, a series of captivating concerts will provide the perfect soundtrack to accompany the transition from the winter chill to spring warmth.
On Feb. 14, two concerts will take place -- “one like an elaborate oil painting hung on a large wall, the other one like a modest watercolor decorating a corner of a room.”
It was pianist Elizabeth Bright who made this analogy of an orchestra performance and her piano concert of Studio Ghibli's music. Bright, whose real name is Yumi Nanatsutani, will present the music born of the iconic Hayao Miyazaki's studio for the Valentine's Day concert at Lotte Concert Hall in Jamsil, southeastern Seoul.
With South Korean violinist Kim Duek-woo and percussionist Kim Mi-youne, Bright will perform music from “My Neighbor Totoro," "Howl's Moving Castle," "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away." In addition, the trio will perform "Spinning Globe" from Gibli’s latest creation, “The Boy and the Heron.”
Ticket prices range from 50,000 won to 70,000 won.
On the same day at Seoul Arts Center, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, led by conductor Andrzej Boreyk, will present compositions of two Polish composers and Beethoven.
Pianist Sunwoo Yekwon, the first Korean to win the Van Cliburn International Competition in 2017, will join the more than 120-year-old orchestra for a performance of Chopin's piano Concerto No. 1, Op.11. Other works slated for the evening are Witold Lutosławski’s “Little Suite” and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. Op. 92.
The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra will also perform Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz at Bucheon Arts Center on Feb. 13.
Ticket prices range from 60,000 won to 190,000 won.
The Korean National Opera will present "The Italian Girl in Algiers" as its first regular performance of 2024. This production, which will run for four days from Feb. 22 to 25 at the National Theater's Haereom Theater, is the Korean premiere and a rare comedic opera offering from the state opera company, featuring Rossini's youthful and delightful music.
"The Italian Girl in Algiers" tells the story of Isabella, an Italian woman who is captured and brought to Algiers. The Bey of Algiers, Mustafa, becomes infatuated with Isabella and plans to marry her, leading to a series of comedic misunderstandings and clever schemes as Isabella tries to reunite with her lover, Lindoro, and escape Mustafa's advances through wit and cunning.
Produced by Choi Ji-hyung and conducted by Lee Deun, the opera will feature mezzo-sopranos Chiara Amaru from Italy and Kim Sun-jung as Isabella. Valery Makarov and tenor Lee Ki-up will take the role of Lindoro.
Ticket prices range from 30,000 won to 120,000 won. The performance on Feb. 24 will be live-streamed via KNO's website at knomyopera.org and Naver TV.