King Jumong and Tong-In Opera Night

If you have been following my blog posts, you know that in addition to being a sports lover, I am also a huge fan of music.  I was lucky enough recently to attend two different Korean opera gatherings.

The first one, King Jumong, was presented by the Korea National Opera and is based on the creation myth of Goguryeo.  Mr. Park Young-geun, a renowned writer and composer of this opera, is a professor at Hanyang University.  When I attended the event, I heard that he was able to write this opera during the breaks from his regular teaching.  I learned how he had to juggle his time and that this project took him 13 years to complete.  His students must be very fortunate to learn from him as the show was quite amazing.  It was both scintillating and interesting to follow the carefully interwoven music with this traditional story.  The scenery, set design, and production were incredible, combining dance and lighting with the music and spectacular visual effects.
Opera King Jumong (Photo courtesy of Korean National Opera)

I also went to Tong-In Opera Night for the third time, which is put on regularly by the CEO of Tong-In Group, Mr. Kim Wan-kyu.  I had the pleasure of sitting next to him and always notice how much he and his wife Lee Gye-sun enjoy the performance.  Accompanied only by a single piano, three professional Korean opera singers – Mr. Lee Dong-hwan, Mr. Park Jeong-min, and Ms. Lee Eun-hui – performed a fantastic medley of some of the greatest hits opera has ever known.  It was a great event and very fun to watch.  The MC of the evening, Mr. Lee Dong-hwan, does a nice job of explaining the songs, mixing in humor with the history behind the songs, and he goes into detail on the significance of each performance.  The performers even had me get into the act!  It was a good deal of fun, and more importantly, it showcases some of Korea’s great and talented performers in a very relaxed and fun setting.  

From Tong-In Opera Night (Photo courtesy of Tong-In Gallery)

Here is how I got pulled into the act!

The music is energizing and it is enlightening to learn more about Korean culture and history in this way.  Moreover, the music scene here in Korea is just fantastic: whether it be more traditional Korean music, a blend of classical western and Korean traditions or modern performance.  It’s a great part of living in Korea.  When Sejun grows up, I hope to introduce him to this part of Korean culture!

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