Sunday, 17 May 2015

A Day @ The Uijeongbu Music Theater Festival

It was my first time to Uijeongbu, a city in Gyeonggi Province, which is just east of Seoul. Over the years, whenever my friends and I enjoyed a large, shallow pot of buddae-jiggae, they tell me that this dish originated from Uijeongbu, where an old U.S. army base was located.

            (The outdoor stage of the Festival)

But on this trip to neighboring city wouldn't be about buddae-jiggae. It was about the city's premiere cultural event: the Uijeongbu Music and Theater Festival.

As it's quite far if you travel by subway, we were lucky that we had chartered buses to ferry us to the Uijeongbu Arts Center, where all performances and events were held.

          (An outdoor theatrical performance)

            (Inside the Uijeongbu Arts Center, 
                     which has piano stairs)

In and around the Arts Center, outdoor theatrical and musical performances were enjoyed by the locals, and arts and crafts activities enjoyed by kids and adults wanting to find out if they still have their creative talents in watercolor painting.

             (The piano stairs of the arts center. It lights up and plays a note when you step on it. )

There were giant puppets and fairy tale characters around the festival for kids, and food stalls for everyone who needs something to eat.

A showcase feature, Mahlermania, staged by Nico and The Navigators, a theater group based in Berlin, was supposed to be the highlight of our trip. The libretto was in German with a mix of English, but since my basic Deustche classes were a long time ago, I hardly understood the whole thing. And even if this was based on the life of Gustav Mahler, the Austrian-Hungarian composer, my only knowledge about him was limited to the piano exercise books named after him. The staging of the opera was very good, but it was the connection with the audience that was lost.
(Dinner at Verdi's restaurant in the arts center)

             (Performers hanging on the side of 
                       the arts center building)

Thanks to the K-Performance Supporters team of the Korea Tourism Organization, I was able to set foot on Uijeongbu City for the first time. And although I would have wanted to enjoy buddae-jiggae in the place where it originated, the buffet dinner for all the bloggers at Verdi's was good enough.

Until the next festival!
            (Fireworks to end the second night 
                             of the festival)

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