The 16th Daegu International Opera Festival will be held one month early from September 14th to October 21st. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean opera and the Daegu Opera House has been its crown jewel by hosting Asia’s major opera festival for 16 years. The theme will be the same as last year: “OPERA and HUMAN”, with the added subtitles “eternal opera, dreamers” conveying a sense of the past, present, and future.
Bass Youn Kwang-chul won the 1993 Domingo International Competition, was an active member of the German Wiener Staatsopper for 10 years and performed in numerous countries including the United States. Youn was recently granted the title of Kammersaenger (royal court singer) from the German government and according to Austrian publications, is considered one of the top 50 vocalists in the world.
The opening of the festival will be a production of the Berdi Opera’s “Don Carlo”. It will feature all-star cast members including Youn, soprano Seo Sun-young, tenor Kwon Jae-hee, and baritone Lee Eung-kwang. The Yeongnam Opera House, in conjunction with the Daegu Opera House, will present Yun Sim deok’s “Praise of Death”. This will be followed by Franz Lehar’s “A Merry Widow”, prepared by the Austrian Morbisch festival. The last production will be Verdi’s “La traviata” (the first Korean opera production 70 years ago), produced by the Daegu Opera House.
“Don Carlo”, “Praise of Death”, “The Merry Widow”, and “La traviata” will be featured as the main operas. Other operas include “Salome”, from the Deutsche Opera Berlin, which will focus on musical perfection as opposed to visual effects. This production of “Salome” will be highly anticipated as it is rarely seen on the Korean stage.
The head of the Daegu Opera House said the festival will take place in September to accommodate the schedules of overseas theatres. He emphasized that inviting artists from abroad would improve the festival’s quality. Another new feature this year will be expanded audience choice. Along with the main operas, audiences can see “Opera Concertante” and “Mini Opera”, shows performed in small local theatres. The Plaza Opera is a reproduction of Café Momus which is based on the second act of “La Boheme”, giving people a unique opportunity to appreciate the opera in-person. In addition, there will be free lectures given by famous music critics, talk concerts, and other various programs.