Opera houses, which had a tough year in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, hope to bring productions to stage again amid uncertainty. Not only do operas require a group of singers, a large orchestra and a choir, but almost every performer on stage sings, which makes social distancing on stage virtually impossible.
Daegu Opera House will be the first to put on a show. It will showcase “L'Elisir d'Amore” by Gaetano Donizetti, which was originally scheduled for last year, from January 28 to 30. The work is well-known for a song called “Una Furtiva Lagrima.” The opera house will also present eight performances of Carmen by Georges Bizet in April, as opposed to the usual two to four performances, which has been considered to be too few given the amount of time spent on preparation.
Seoul Metropolitan Opera performed Tosca by Giacomo Puccini in hopes of ending the pandemic in last November, will perform “Romeo and Juliet” by French composer Charles Gounod from March 25 to 28. Of more than 30 operas based on “Romeo and Juliet,” Gounod’s work in five acts is the most beloved.
The Korea National Opera is planning to stage five productions this year after having performances only in small cities and online in 2020. One of them is a new production called “Brahms…” by Jeon Ye-eun, which will be performed for the first time at the National Theater of Korea from May 13 to 16. It features arrangements of Johannes Brahms’ well-known beautiful melodies and is about his love for Clara, the wife of his teacher Robert Schumann.
La fanciulla del West by Giacomo Puccini, which is set in the American West, will be performed at the Seoul Arts Center from July 1 to 4. The opera was one of the four most popular works of Puccini’s which include “La bohème,” “Tosca,” and “Madama Butterfly” during his life but has rarely been performed after his death because it was not deemed to have the composer’s unique style.
The National Theater of Korea will showcase “Nabucco” by Giuseppe Verdi at Haeoreum Theater from August 12 to 15 to celebrate the renovation and reopening of the opera house. It is the third opera he wrote and put him on the map. The most famous song is “Va, pensiero.” From October 7 to 10, Samson and Delilah by Camille Saint-Saëns will be performed to celebrate the 100th anniversary since the death of the French composer, while La traviata by Verdi, which is one of the most popular operas along with La bohème by Puccini, will be performed at the Seoul Arts Center from December 2 to 5.
The Daegu Opera Festival, which is the best-known opera festival in South Korea, will be held from August 25 to November 7. Six operas including “Prince Igor” by Alexander Borodin of The Five and four concerts will be performed.
“Prince Igor,” which will be performed by Sol’opera Company, is receiving attention for its large collaboration with foreign artists. It will bring together about some 200 artists including vocalists and a choir from the Mariinsky Theater from Russia and ballet dancers and an orchestra from Saint Petersburg Music Hall.