The current corona crisis affects all of us in different ways. So far, Korea hasn’t implemented a general lockdown and the situation seems relatively stable at the moment. Like most other schools, Ewha Womans University has postponed the semester start, followed by an ongoing online phase since mid-March. While I’m preparing and conducting my classes from home, theatre and other live arts have taken the backseat. The last time my masked face was facing a stage has been a month now (a highly energizing evening of potpourri pansori, despite the obligatory masks) and since then various artists and institutions began to provide means for online streams of performances.
This is a commented list of interesting or promising events that can be “attended” all over the world. From early streams used to realize performances already planned and rehearsed, broadcast live without an audience, to more recent streamings as well as archive-digging. Below the list of recommended streams (in reversed chronological order, i.e. most recent things first), there are more general links on traditional Korean music, Korean movies, and performances elsewhere. I try to give as much information as possible but given the time restraints at the moment – to be updated…
1st update (April 2): added Othello and Iago by The Greatest Mask (#6).
2nd update (April 4): added Red Cliff at Jeongdong Theater (#7)
3rd update (April 6): added La Peste by The National Theater Company of Korea (#8)
(Further discussions on the liveness evoked in these streams in which ways, experiments of genuinely stream-centric works, and, most importantly, methods of remuneration for artists involved are definitely necessary, hopefully soon!)
#8 La Peste 페스트
on April 6 and 13, 2020 (Mondays), from 10am (Korean time) for 24 hours: www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4p7QeDpUZk (Korean, 120 min.)
[three more plays will be streamed this week…]
By Camus, adapted and directed by Park Geun-hyeong (박근형), National Theater Company of Korea (국립극단), Myeongdong Theater (명동예술극장), 2018.
Synopsis from the NTCK’s homepage:
On a heavily windy island, Dr. Rieux was on his way out of examination room and accidentally found out a rat bled to death. In a few days, the number of rats killed surged to tens of thousands covering the island. The tragedy spiraled out of control, causing some of islanders to suffer fever and die in the end. The governor of the island ordered the residents not to leave the island…
#7 Red Cliff 적벽 赤壁
live on April 8, 2020 (Wednesday), 8pm Korean Time: www.youtube.com/channel/UC2gwzqCDHVcFpWFXZoSQubA (Korean)
Adapted and directed by Jeong Ho-bung (정호붕), choreography: Kim Bong-sun (김봉순), music by Yu Miri (유미리), Lee Gyeong-seop (이경섭), Kim Chang-hwan (김창환), with Park Inhye (박인혜) and Han Jinsu (한진수) in the main roles, Jeongdong Theater.
Music theatre based on the eponymous pansori piece Jeokbyeok-ga (적벽가, “Song of the Red Cliff”) an epic war story, which is, in turn, adapted from the Chinese Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三国演义). This repertory production of Jeongdong Theater features a male/female double main cast for the two generals, including pansori singer Park Inhye (박인혜) of ensemble Heebee Jeebie Juice (희비쌍곡선)! The webposter on the right is from the current run that has been cancelled.
#6 Othello and Iago 오셀로와 이아고
live on April 3 (Friday), 8pm Korean time: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UogOHVuWRi8 (Korean, barrier-free)
Talnori (탈놀이 mask dance drama) performers adapt Shakespeare! By The Greatest Masque (천하제일탈공작소), with Heo Chang-yeol (허창열), Lee Ju-won (이주원), Park In-seon (박인선), music: Lee A-ram (이아람), Hwang Min-wang (황민왕), Yeo Seong-ryong (여성룡), Choe In-hwan (최인환), directed by Sin Jae-hun (신재훈), music director: Lee A-ram (이아람), stage design: Nam Gyeong-sik (남경식), performed without audience at Daehakro Arts Theater (대학로예술극장 소극장), barrier-free production by Soundplex Studio, supported by Arts Council Korea (ARKO 한국문화예술위원회). See details (in Korean) on Facebook.
An experimental adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic by performers of various (traditional) mask dance drama genres from Korea. This piece was conceived in 2017, has been shown several times since then, and I had always planned to see it – but never managed to. The beautiful program book is also available for download on Facebook.
#5 Farewell My Concubine 패왕별희 霸王別姬
available until April 8, 2020: www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_p60yjkWcs (130 mins.; English subtitles)
Experimental music theatre, collaboration of National Changgeuk Company of Korea (국립창극단) and Taiwanese director Wu Hsing-kuo (吳興國), written and choreographed by Lin Hsiu-wei, pansori composer & music director: Lee Jaram (이자람), music composer: Lee Jaram & Son Da-hye (손다혜), associate director: Jung Jong-im (정종임), costume Design: Tim Yip, stage design: Chang Wei-wen.
#4 Highlights from New Pansori Works 창작 판소리 눈대목
available: www.facebook.com/mnhstudiopage/posts/3476629802363580 (60 mins.; Korean)
By Mouth and Hand Studio (입과손 스튜디오), live stream from March 19, 2020 (7pm), Seoul Donhwamun Traditional Theater (서울돈화문국악당).
#3 Bravo, Boss Eom 브라보, 엄사장
available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTSZf6tyQw4 (90 mins.; Korean)
Play by Park Geun-hyeong (박근형), directed by Park Geun-hyeong, Gyeonggi Provincial Theatre Company (경기도립극단), live stream from March 11, 2020, Gyeonggi Arts Center (경기도문화예술의전당).
#2 Pansori Hamlet Project (Song Bora version) 판소리 햄릿 프로젝트 (송포라 편)
available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=F85CqCTcBTA (80 mins., starts at about 0:17:00; Korean)
After Shakespeare, adapted and directed by Park Seon-hui (박선희), composed and sung by Song Bora (송보라), music composition and piano: Jeong Han-na (정한나), drummer: Seo Eo-jin (서어진), production: Taroo (국악뮤지컬집단 타루), streamed live on March 7, Yeon-u Small Theatre (연우소극장), Seoul.
#1 Marsyas 마르시아스
available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdmZOvp6OhI (90 mins.)
Symphony for percussion, composed by Cord Meyering, performed by Eunbi Jeong (정은비), live on March 1, 2020, 5pm, Chuncheon Culture & Art Center (춘천문화예술회관). More info on Cord Meyering’s homepage
Traditional Korean Music
Live streams as well as tons of recordings of traditional Korean music (gugak 국악) are available on the Youtube-channel of the National Gugak Center (국립국악원): www.youtube.com/user/gugak1951
More than hundred classics from Korean cinema history (with English subtitles) are available on the Youtube-channel of the Korean Film Archive (KOFA, 한국영상자료원): www.youtube.com/user/KoreanFilm
For some suggestions of pansori related movies (Seopyeonje and various adaptations of the Story of Chunhyang), see an earlier blogpost. Another way to start would be some films by Lee Man-hee (이만희, more via GoogleArts&Culture), my personal favorite: A Day Off (휴일, 1968).
Elsewhere (Non-Korean Streams)
- Theatre portal nachtkritik.de offers a daily digital schedule with streaming links from the German-speaking theatre world (scroll down for many additional Youtube links), as well as its own series of daily screenings, recent productions announced on the homepage.
- The portal site BerlinBühnen also offers a link list with theatre streams.
- See (subtitled and annotated) opera recordings from (mostly) Europe via Opera Vision.
- Opera houses such as Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper, Staatsoper Berlin, Staatsoper Stuttgart, as well as Opera de Paris and Metropolitan Opera New York (amongst others) also offer regular streaming from their archives.
- The aggregator site Berlin (a)live presents all kinds of live art streams from Berlin, with the option of donating for the creators.
- And on UnitedWeStream Berlin clubs stream online, too (without cue).
— March 2020–