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Jeonju International Sori Festival to highlight array of pansori soundsBy Hwang Dong-hee
Published : July 9, 2023 - 21:59
A festival featuring the sounds of pansori in 105 performances will kick off in September.
The Jeonju International Sori Festival is scheduled to take place at Jeonju Hanok Village as well as 14 cities across North Jeolla Province, from Sept. 15 to 24.
“We aim to create a unique program with top-notch performances that cannot be experienced elsewhere,“ said Lee Wang-jun of the festival’s organizing committee during a press conference held in Seoul on Wednesday.
Lee added that at a time when Korean culture, from "K-pop to K-movies and K-classics," is gaining global recognition, it is time to introduce Korea's "sori" to the world. Sori in Korean means sound and also refers to singing in pansori.
This year's festival, held under the theme of "coexistence and recovery,” will kick off on Sept. 15, with an opening ceremony featuring the Jeonju Symphony Orchestra, gayageum player Moon Yang-sook, pansori singers Ko Yeong-yeol, Kim Yul-hee, baritone Kim Gi-hoon and soprano Seo Sun-young.
A special program titled “Five Pansori Stages” will feature five complete pansori performances by master pansori singers whose average age is 82. Cho Sang-hyun, the oldest singer, is 86 years old.
Pansori, a form of narrative singing of epic stories and folklore drama, runs from three to eight hours for a full performance. In this festival, “Chunhyangga” will last for five hours, while the shortest piece “Heungbuga” will run for three. The combined duration of these five performances amounts to 20 hours.
Singers Kim Il-gu, Kim Su-yeon, Jeong Sun-im, Shin Young-hee and Cho will each perform "Jeokbyeokga,” "Sugungga," Heungbuga,“ "Chunhyangga" and “Simcheongga,” respectively, Sept. 19-23.
The series of complete pansori performances will take place in the open courtyard in Dongheon, which was rebuilt 130 years ago, located in Jeonju Hanok Village. The audience seating is limited to 100 and the performances will be live-streamed on YouTube.
In addition, young emerging singers will offer their own interpretations of the complete pansori performances.
To showcase the generation of pansori singers who are forging new traditions in the art form, the festival will include the creative pansori performance “The Old Man and the Sea” by singer Lee Ja-ran, talchum team the Greatest Masque’s rendition of “Othello and Iago,” as well as those by musical band ADG7.
Pansori and Western classical music will come together when Kang Kwon-soon performs with harpsichord player Lee Min-joo. Cellist Mischa Maisky, cellist-conductor Chang Han-na and Ditto Orchestra are also to perform together at the festival.
Performers from 13 countries including Australia and Canada will also perform their traditional sounds during the festival.
The 10-day festival will conclude with a collaborative performance of genre-bending singer Lee Hee-moon and the band Obangsin.
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