Music is popular in Korea. And here in Gwangju you can get a monthly dose of live opera performances if you look closely.

La Boheme is a popular opera, appearing in some shape or form annually in Gwangju. La Traviata hasn’t been performed in a few years, but I can see a performance this year happening. Last year Cosi fan tutti and the Barber of Seville were performed around the city, on the amateur student stage as well as the professional stages of the Cultural Arts Centers.

Operas, especially the sad ones, are popular performances. My recommendation is to go see anything performed by a Korean. Even at the university level the music and vocals are outstanding, even if the sets are minimal and the acting is less than convincing. But if the tickets are priced at more than 50,000 won and there is a European on the billing, then only expect an overreaching, screeching of a few arias and not a full opera. I have been disappointed with some of the “imported” talent that reaches down here in the provinces. Usually it’s just a few members of a group on tour in Korea; they are not in their best form by the time they’ve reached Jeolla.

There are also a lot of choruses and vocal performances around the city. Check out the universities around the city; every semester there are students performing either music from the operas or some of the more famous arias from them. And of course, the city has several cultural centers to hear some music, sometime even a full opera.

I look forward to another year of great opera events in Gwangju.



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