Theatrical forms converge at festival

Home > Culture > Arts & Design

print dictionary print

Theatrical forms converge at festival


The countertenor David DQ Lee plays Orpheus in the operatic adaptation of the Greek myth “Orpheus and Eurydice” by Christoph Willibald Gluck at the Tongyeong International Music Festival on Friday. Provided by TIMF

TONGYEONG, South Gyeongsang - The eighth Tongyeong International Music Festival kicked off Friday with Christoph Willibald Gluck’s baroque opera “Orpheus and Eurydice” in this coastal city, which produced the famous modern composer Isang Yun.

The opener was the result of a collaboration between many artists of different media and genres. Lee So-young directed the Nara Opera Choir, Dance Theater Ccadoo and Ensemble TIMF, conducted by Chung Chi-yong, professor of conducting at Korea National University of Arts. Lee also serves as artistic director of the Korea National Opera. The acclaimed countertenor David DQ Lee and soprano Choi Yun-jung played the star-crossed mythological couple.

Organizers said the massive production was right in line with this year’s theme: “Music +.”

“We plan to add and mix various genres including opera, fine arts, dance, film music, literature and musical theater. Though it will be a rather experimental approach, we hope it will help in communicating with the audience more easily,” said Jin Euy-jang, Tongyeong’s mayor and honorary TIMF chairman. “The border between music, fine arts, literature and musical theater will disappear, and only the concept of art will remain.”

Kim Seung-geun, chairman of the TIMF Foundation, has been responsible for programming over the past eight years. He described this year’s theme as “three-dimensional,” after years of “more or less two-dimensional” festivals.

For the last three years, the opening acts at TIMF were orchestras: the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the Qingdao Symphony Orchestra, playing works by classical composers such as Beethoven, Sibelius and Reinhold Gliere, though they were required to play at least one work by Isang Yun, the Korean-German composer who was born in Tongyeong.

The festival was originally launched to commemorate Yun, who died in 1995, and offer residents of this marine tourist city with a population of just 130,000 the chance to enjoy modern music. After years of struggling to balance appeal with artistic value - which has led to uneven attendance at best - the overhaul is meant to bring popular attention back to this hidden gem.

Yun himself studied in Japan, Germany and Paris in the 1930s and 1940s, while also participating in the Korean independence movement and, later, teaching at Seoul National University. Yun composed a wide variety of contemporary works ranging from operas to concertos, symphonies and vocal and solo instrumental pieces.

The festival opener was followed by a solo recital from world-renowned countertenor Andreas Scholl on Saturday and a duet by two Chopin experts, Lim Dong-hyek of Korea and Alexandre Tharaud of France, yesterday. Last night, noted guitarist and film composer Lee Byeong-woo played with Ensemble TIMF. The ensemble, which consists of young professional musicians, has been an ambassador for Korean modern music since 2001.

Today, stage actress Park Jung-ja will narrate “Kafka Fragments” for soprano and violin by the Hungarian Gyorgy Kurtag. Other performances will include the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes playing Mozart and Prokofiev on Wednesday and “The Rite of Spring” by dancer and choreographer Xavier Le Roy on Thursday.

When the spring season is finished, the TIMF Academy for aspiring musicians will follow over the summer, and the Isang Yun international music competition will be held in the fall.

In the coming years, the music festival is expected to face additional changes. Alexander Liebreich, artistic director and principal conductor of the Munich Chamber Orchestra, will come on board as the new artistic director. A new 1,300-seat concert hall will open in the spring of 2013 on the other side of the city, to take the pressure off the Tongyeong Culture Center, now the one and only venue for the festival. Originally built for theatrical works, it has just 800 seats.

“A new concert hall is expected to enable us to showcase a wider variety of works,” said Kim at TIMF.

By Seo Ji-eun []
Related Korean Article

‘개혁’이란 이름으로 하나 된 옛것과 새것

19, 20일 경남 통영시는 음악에 감싸였다. 300여 년을 넘나드는 선율이 깔렸다. 2010 통영국제음악제(가 선택한 개막작은 글루크의 1741년 오페라 ‘오르페오와 에우리디체’. 19일 오후 통영시민문화회관 대극장 무대에 올랐다. 이튿날 같은 장소에서 공연된 음악극 ‘에코’는 2010년 신작이다. 이번 음악제를 위해 올해 새로 쓰여졌다.

◆‘개혁’으로 일맥상통=내용과 형식이 판이한 두 작품의 연속 공연은 뜻밖의 공통점을 찾아내는 재미를 선사했다. 국립오페라단의 연출가 이소영씨는 간결한 작품을 구성했다. 최소한의 무대 장치와 짧은 동선으로 청중의 관심이 음악에 향하도록 했다.

글루크가 이 작품을 구상했던 때와 같은 맥락이다. 글루크는 오페라의 ‘개혁’을 꿈꿨다. 지나친 기교와 화려한 볼거리로 성악가의 ‘장기자랑’ 에 그치곤 했던 기존의 오페라를 뛰어넘으려고 했다. 탄탄한 구조의 오케스트라 음악과 자연스러운 흐름이 후대에 오페라에 영향을 준다. 지휘를 맡은 정치용과 오르페오 역으로 출연한 이동규는 정교한 연주로 개막작의 의미를 살렸다.

21세기의 작곡가 신나라씨 역시 ‘개혁’ 방점을 찍었다. 음악과 무용, 문학과 영상이 만나는 음악극 ‘에코’에서 신씨는 형식과 장르를 넘나들었다. 시인 김경주와 연극 연출가 박정석, 안무가 김정은이 머리를 맞댄 작품이다.

  • 한글 기사 보기

  • Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
    with the Korea JoongAng Daily
    help-image Social comment?
    lock icon

    To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

    Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

    What’s Popular Now