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National Theater of Korea to present 60 works, including 24 new pieces, next seasonBy Hwang Dong-hee
Published : July 23, 2023 - 17:06
The National Theater of Korea is in full-swing preparations to showcase captivating works that blend novelty with tradition for the upcoming season, including a grand-scale musical cantata featuring 300 artists and a traditional concert accompanied by liquor.
The artistic directors of three national troupes affiliated with the theater -- the National Changgeuk Company, National Dance Company and National Orchestra -- unveiled the lineup for the 2023-24 program scheduled for Sept. 1 to June 30, 2024, at a press conference held in Jung-gu, Seoul, on Thursday.
The season promises an array of 60 works, including 24 new pieces and 13 co-hosted performances.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Theater of Korea’s relocation to Namsan, a special year-end outdoor concert titled “Song of King Sejong” will feature some 300 artists from all three national troupes. This grand musical cantata production portrays the life of King Sejong and his dedication to creating Hangeul, the Korean writing system.
Following the National Orchestra of Korea's groundbreaking concert with a robot conductor in June, a performance titled “Aejuga -- Tunes and Wines” a traditional instrumental orchestra, is set to be presented in June next year. This outdoor concert will take place against the scenic backdrop of Namsan’s lush forests, fusing Korean music with traditional liquor.
“We are still brainstorming for the concert and many innovative ideas are emerging," the orchestra's artistic director and concertmaster Yeo Mi-sun said. "Yesterday, while discussing with the producer, one idea came up: How about letting the musicians drink liquor together with the audience? Since we perform with great tension, we were curious about how the performance would turn out if we let loose with the audience.”
In addition, “The Origin of the Orchestra,” set for November, will build upon the orchestra’s innovative experiments, incorporating immersive performances with media arts and technology.
The National Changgeuk Company is preparing "Paper Shaman" for June 2024, directed by Park Kollen with lyrics by gugak musician Ahn Sook-sun. This unique performance will intertwine pansori, traditional Korean shaman rituals and traditional Korean paper art, collectively expressing the essence of Korean aesthetics.
In the realm of dance, the National Dance Company is scheduled to perform the special holiday production “Festival,” to welcome the new year and bid farewell to the old. Other performances, such as "Sinsun," (Gods) inspired by “Kwonju-ga” (Drinking Song) and choreographed by contemporary dance company Goblin Party, and "Mongyudowonmoo," inspired by "Mongyudowondo" (Dream of Strolling in a Peach Garden) by painter Ahn Gyeon from the Joseon era, will take the audience on journeys filled with music and stage designs that transcend reality.
The National Theater of Korea has ambitious plans to increase the number of performances in the new season. "As a production theater company, the number of performances has been relatively low due to stage setups and rehearsals. But we plan to increase the number of performances by 10 to 20 percent this season." said Park In-gun, CEO of the National Theater of Korea.
It also aims to enhance the accessibility of the venue at the foot of Namsan by expanding facilities and events.
The Haeorum Grand Theater will open a restaurant in August. The CEO mentioned the possibility of opening a book lounge where visitors can spend their afternoons. In the spring and fall, cultural markets and events will be held every Saturday in front of the plaza.
For more details on the upcoming programs, visit the National Theater of Korea's official website.
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