Monday, October 27, 2014

[Festival/Press article] The review of Daegu International Opera Festival

Daegu International Opera Festival is on going at Daegu opera house
When I came to Korea I thought I would experience lots of new things. I did not, however, expect one of these things to be Opera. I love music and musicals but Opera has always scared me slightly. The idea of it all being in a foreign language, not understanding the story and not being as sophisticated as the rest of the audience made me feel intimidated but when the Touch Daegu Blog Press invited me to visit a performance I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to get over my fear. I couldn’t resist a glimpse into this unknown world of fantastic costumes and beautiful singing. I put my glad rags on and headed to the Daegu International Opera festival. 

A building of Daegu opera house

The Daegu foreign press 2014
So what is the Daegu International Opera festival? 
The Daegu International Opera festival started in 2003 and has become a popular event on the Daegu calander. In fact it is now the largest Opera festival in Asia. People from all over the world have performed in this festival and it has been a starting point for many Asian performers’ careers. 
This season the Operas being featured are: La Traviata / The Merry Wives of Windows / The Magic Flute / The Jewel and the Lady

The stage of Daegu International opera festival

I was lucky enough to attend a spectacular viewing of La Traviata.  La Traviata translates as ‘The Fallen Woman’ and was created by Giuseppe Verdi. It was first performed in 1853 and is set in the decadent homes of the Parisian elite. 
The Opera is the story of a young woman called Violetta who after recovering from a severe illness throws a lavish party for all her friends. This is where she meets Alfredo. Alfredo has loved Violetta from a far for many years and finally declares his love to her at her party. Violetta has to decide between her lavish independent lifestyle and a life of quiet peaceful love in the countryside. 
Not to give too much away (don’t read on if you want a surprise) but the story see’s Violetta give up her life of parties and drinking to happily live in the countryside. It seems like everything has fallen into place for the young couple until Alfredo’s father asks her to leave his son. He thinks her risqué past is damaging their family name. Violetta has to choose once more between a life she loves and a man she loves. 

La Traviata, one of the opera performances during the Daegu International Opera Festival

The cast list of La Traviata in Daegu opera house
This tragic opera is full of whimsy and emotion. It will keep you guessing until the end. This Daegu performance was directed by Pier Paolo Pacini and the conductor was Pier Giorgio Morandi. The cast features performances from Lana Kos as Violetta and Renzo Zulian as her lover Alfredo. A special mention should also go to Ionut Pascu’s version of the father Giorgio which was powerful and full of feeling. Each word that every performer sung gave me Goosebumps and made me fall deeply in love with the Opera. 

I have never heard an orchestra live but it was spell bounding. In an age of recorded mp3’s and constant access to music it was incredible to be right in front of a stage where these people were actually performing.  
One of my main worries about the Opera was my lack of Italian. I don’t speak a word so I was worried I wouldn’t know what was happening in the story. Luckily Korea is one step ahead of the game and has large screens displayed subtitles in both Korean and English. Although this can be distracting at times it is really useful in deciphering the story and adds to the enjoyment of the Opera. It is also a great way to introduce a new audience to Opera instead of it only being reserved for the elite who speak the beautiful languages these Operas are written in. La Traviata is in Italian and even though I didn’t understand it, it is a beautiful language to listen to. 

A photo stage for the audiences in Daegu opera house

A banner of Latraviata in Daegu opera house

The Opera is broken into three acts with two intermissions so there is plenty of time to walk around and see the beautiful building that is the Daegu Opera House. The great architecture not only means that there isn’t a bad seat in the theatre but that there are lots of reasons to come see this building during the festival even if you aren’t seeing a show. 

Costume are displayed in Daegu opera house

People enjoy wearing the costume that used for opera performance

Kids wearing the costume of opera at Daegu opera house
The organizers of this event have obviously thought a lot about their audience. You can see the effort that has been put into opening Opera to a new generation. This was done with editions to the festival such as an orchestra greeting you as you approach the doors. During the performance the conductor explained each instrument and its role in the opera. He also got the musicians to demonstrate each instrument with a beautiful solo. There is also a room where you can rent costumes for both adults and kids. These can be worn during the performance to allow smaller children to really get into the show. It was extremely cute to see little kids dressed in 18th century garb running around. 

A hall in Daegu Opera House

The audiences are taking picture of the players

Daegu International Opera Festival is on going at Daegu opera house
If you think that you would be interested in attending there are still tickets for upcoming performances in the Festival so grab a ticket as soon as possible. All the information for the event can be found here:
When the Opera finished my hands hurt from clapping. The audience went crazy. There were shouts of ‘Encore’ and ‘Bravo’ to be heard all around. The cast even came out into the lobby after the performance only to be mobbed by their waiting fans. It was safe to say they gave a thrilling performance.
Treat yourself to a little bit of culture and a lot of beautiful music in Daegu this autumn. You won’t regret it. 

How to get to the Opera House:

- By Bus
503, 410, 410-1, 653, 706 Express2, Donggu1-1
Get off in front of or across HomePlus
300, 323, 730, 704, 708, Donggu2, Bukgu3, Chilgok2
Get off in front of or across Daegu Urban Development Corporation

- By Subway
10~15 min. Walk from Subway Line1 Daegu Station
(Gyodong Flower Market > HomePlus > Daegu Opera House)

- By Car
Using Gyeongbu Expressway
Bukdaegu Tollgate > right turn toward downtown > left turn after passing Seobyeondaegyo (toward Daegu Station and Distribution Complex) > Enter Sincheondaero > Exit 4 (toward Daegu Station) after passing Exit 3 (Seongbukgyo) > right turn toward Daeguyeong > HomePlus > Daegu Opera House
Using Guma Expressway / 88 Expressway
Hwawon tollgate > Toward Paldalgyo before Seodaegu tollgate > Sincheondaero > Exit 4 (toward Daegu Station) after passing Exit 3 (Seongbukgyo) > Daegu Station > HomePlus > Daegu Opera House

* Go to see another post about Daegu International Opera Festival  →

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