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Puccini's opera set during California gold rush staged from July 1 to 4 Updated: 2021-07-02 16:14:59 KST

It's Friday, and that means our culture correspondent Kim Bo-kyoung is here in the studio.
Bo-kyoung, I heard the Korea National Opera is performing a rare opera by Puccini for the first time ever in Korea.

That's right Conn-young, due to its experimental and difficult orchestration, Puccini's opera "La Fanciulla del West" is quite hard to perform on stage even for great opera singers and production teams. The Korea National Opera took on the challenge and is showcasing the romantic story with the Italian production team for the first time in Korea. The production team says this wild west opera is like a movie with a wide variety of music. Let's take a peek.


"La Boheme" and "Tosca".
These are what Korean audiences are most familiar with when it comes to Italian composer Giacomo Puccini's masterpieces.
But now they can also have a taste of Puccini's rare opera with a happy ending "La Fanciulla del West".
It premiered in 1910 at the New York Metropolitan Opera,. after Puccini was inspired by the play "The Girl of the Golden West" written by American writer David Belasco.
Known to be innovative and experimental, "La Fanciulla del West" has never before been performed in Korea in its one-hundred-11 year history.
Set in a gold mine during the California gold rush, the show illustrates the lives and struggles of European immigrants who sought new lives in America in the 19th century.
The Italian production staff including the director and conductor who went through the two-week self-quarantine in Korea say audiences are able to enjoy the opera's unique setting.

"The setting is in the West with the miners of California so we tried to base it on historical facts. The surreal elements of a classical love triangle, tension between the bandits and sheriff and the story of a woman living with many miners in the mountains are still interesting now."

The conductor says the larger-than-usual orchestration with large woodwind and brass sections will add even more flavor to the performance.
The orchestration that leads the opera with sprinkles of opera singers' melodious voices on top, delivers a range of sounds; from the tough miners to touching moments between two lovers.

"In the music you have this brutality and violence of the men but also you have extremely lyrical and very passionate moments. We have really a palette of huge, big spectrum of all emotions from roughness, heaviness, violence to extreme beauty and passion."

The opera which Puccini called a “great symphonic poem”, will run until Sunday at Seoul Arts Center.

I am sure opera lovers will rush to Seoul Arts Center to enjoy this show. Now, is there anything special going on for art lovers this weekend?

As you may remember, some of the vast art collection donated by the late Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee has gone to regional museums across Korea, including the Park Soo-keun Museum.
More pieces of art that have returned to hometown museums have been unveiled this week.
Daegu Art Museum has opened an exhibition under the title of “Welcome Home: A Feast of Art”, showcasing 21 pieces by artists such as Yoo Young-Kuk and Lee In-sung.
This will run through August 29th.
At Gwangju in Jeollanam-do Province, the exhibition, titled “A Beautiful Legacy: An Affinity Brought by Lee Kun-hee’s Art Collection” presents 30 works by renowned Korean artists including Kim Whan-ki, Oh Ji-ho and Lee Ung-no.
The exhibition runs until August 15th.
The majority of the donated works that have gone to the two national museums the National Museum of Korea and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, are scheduled to be unveiled in late July.
Meanwhile, discussions on the location of a new museum dedicated to the late Lee Kun-hee's extensive art collection have not been concluded yet as several local governments are pushing for it to be in their region. The Culture Ministry has announced that the minister is going to have a briefing on Wednesday on this issue, so we might get some updates then.

Well, wherever is chosen for the new museum, I'm sure you'll check it out for us. Thanks Bo-kyoung for this week's cultural information. I will see you next week.

Thank you.
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