The ongoing coronavirus outbreak affects the entire performing arts industry. Many concerts and cultural performances slated for this month and early next month are continuously being canceled or postponed. American performance group Blue Man Group canceled its Seoul show, slated between April 14 and May 10, at LG Arts Center, located in southern part of Seoul.
April 7-19: Jeongdong Theater, a longtime home for traditional arts, is resuming “Red Cliff,” a traditional performance combining pansori (traditional narrative singing) and modern dance after it shut down for weeks due to the coronavirus. The performance is based on “Jeokbyeokga” or “Song of the Red Cliffs,” inspired by the Chinese classical fiction novel “Romance of the Three Kingdoms.”
Featuring the two main characters Guan Yu and Cao Cao against the backdrop of the Battle of Red Cliffs, the performance offers a lot to see from group dance to a chorus of more than 20 pansori performers and live music played by a band.
The performance starts at 8 p.m. on weekdays and at 3 p.m. on weekends and national holidays. There are no shows on Mondays.
Tickets are priced from 40,000 won ($33) to 60,000 won.
City Hall Station, line No. 2, exit 12.
SUNWOOK KIM PLAYS BEETHOVEN
Lotte Concert Hall
April 24: Pianist Kim Sun-wook will play Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 2 in B major (Op. 19)” along with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. The pianist will also play Haydn’s “Symphony No. 102 in B major Hob.I:102” and Strauss’s “Suite from der Rosenkavalier (Op. 59).”
The collaboration between Kim and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra will be presided by Ukrainian conductor Kirill Karabits.
Kim is considered one of the world’s Beethoven experts because he has been playing pieces by the German composer for years.
His passion for Beethoven was acknowledged when he was invited to perform at a concert to celebrate the birth of Beethoven in 2012. Kim was also the first beneficiary of the Beethoven monitoring program in 2013 and was given access to the composer’s hand-written documents for further studies of the composer.
The concert starts at 8 p.m.
Tickets range from 10,000 won to 90,000 won.
Jamsil Station, line No. 2, exit 1 or 2.
Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, Grand Theater
April 28 - May 17: The timeless musical classic “The Sound of Music” is coming to Seoul.
Set in Austria in 1938, during World War II, the musical is based on the true story of the von Trapp family singers.
The musical begins as Maria, a postulant, becomes a governess to the seven children of Georg von Trapp, a naval officer and a widower.
Unlike Georg who raises his children with strict discipline, the free-spirited Maria lets the children be children by teaching them to sing and frolic in nature. The children eventually open up to Maria while Georg also falls for the children’s new teacher. But the von Trapp family and Maria face a new chapter as the family decides to flee from Austria to Switzerland to escape the Nazis.
After premiering on Broadway in 1959, the musical won five Tony Awards.
Actor Song Il-kook from the 2006 hit drama series “Jumong” will play the role of Georg along with musical actor Park Seong-hun, while Yuna, a member of girl group AOA, will play the role of Liesl, the first daughter of Georg.
The musical starts at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 3 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and national holidays; and 3 p.m. on Sundays. There are no shows on Mondays.
Tickets range from 30,000 to 110,000 won.
Gwanghwamun Station, line No. 5, exit 8.
National Theater of Korea,
May 14 - 24: Marking the 70th anniversary of the National Changgeuk Company of Korea this year, the all-time favorite classic “Chunhyang” is returning to the stage with some new touches.
The changgeuk or traditional Korean opera, is based on “Chunhyangjeon” or “The Tale of Chunhyang.”
Set in the Joseon Dynasty (1329-1910), this changgeuk tells the story of the noble and pure love that Chunhyang has for Mongryong. Although the two belong to different classes, Mongryong from the upper class and Chunhyang as the daughter of a gisaeng (female courtesan), they know that they are meant to be for each other at first sight. As Mongryong goes to Seoul to pursue his studies, however, the young lovers are separated by distance. Meanwhile, a corrupt magistrate comes into the office and forces Chunhyang to become his concubine.
The show starts at 8 p.m. during weekdays and 3 p.m. on weekends. There are no shows on Mondays. Tickets range from 20,000 won to 50,000 won.
Dongguk University Station, line No. 3, exit 6.
SEOUL JAZZ FESTIVAL
May 23-24: Tickets for the annual Seoul Jazz Festival have gone on sale.
The festival released the names of the acts who will perform in the two-day concert, including bossa nova king Sergio Mendes, legendary award-winning jazz bassist Marcus Miller, Australian jazz band Jakubi and jazz trio Moonchild.
The festival has also invited musicians who perform other genres of music such as British band Honne and Icelandic singer-songwriter Asgeir. Korean singers AKMU, Crush and Baek Ye-rin will take part as well. Since it started in 2007, the Seoul Jazz Festival has become the most popular jazz festival in the capital city.
A two-day ticket costs 255,000 won, while a one-day ticket is also available for 145,000 won.
Olympic Park Station, line No. 5, exit 3.
Blue Square, Interpark Hall
Through June 27: “The Phantom of the Opera” is returning to Korea for the first time in seven years.
The musical centers around Christine, who used to be an obscure singer but finds herself filling in for leading soprano Carlotta and eventually soaring to stardom. But Christine is abducted from her dressing room one day by a disfigured man dubbed The Phantom of the Opera. Although Christine is released from The Phantom on the condition that she will stay devoted to him, Raoul, who is in love with Christine, promises that he will confront The Phantom.
The plot is the same, but the show’s producers reportedly upgraded all of the show’s props, including the chandelier, a key prop for the musical.
Jonathan Roxmouth will play The Phantom, while Claire Lyon is playing Christine and Matt Leisy is playing Raoul.
Lyon played the same role in 2012 when “The Phantom of the Opera” premiered in Seoul.
The musical is in English, and Korean subtitles will be provided.
The musical starts at 8 p.m. on weekdays and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays. There are no shows on Mondays.
After the Seoul show, the musical will move to Daegu in July for about two months.
Tickets range from 60,000 won to 170,000 won.
Hangangjin Station, line No. 6, exit 2 or 3.
*Most tickets are available at ticket.interpark.com/global or by calling 1544-1555.