The National Opera of Korea

The National Opera of Korea, having the longest history and prominent vocalists, has performed over 80 productions regularly, some of which were first staged in Korea and most of which were grand operas.
Since it was organized in 1962, the National Opera of Korea has promoted home opera through systematic programs introduced below. It imported a repertory system of its birthplace and tried to produce two works of opera at a time. It has helped home music circles to create operas suitable for Korean usage and sense of life. In addition, it has held various opera festivals for young music fans and potential audience.
So far The National Opera of Korea has tried to seek out opera creations, which are based on the traditional ones, and to make them reach a standard. We can name a few recommendable ones; Chun-hyang-jeon, A life of chun-hyang and Saint Won-hyo of Chang Il-nam, Non-gae of Hong Yeon-taek, Cheo-yong of Lee Yeong-jo, A Wedding Day of Kong Seok-jin, and Jewelry and Women of Park Yeong-geun.
Adopting the open audition system, The National Opera of Korea has scouted for promising vocalists. It has done its best to be the great opera band worthy of the name. Prof. Lee In-beom, Hong Jin-pyo, O Hyeon-myong, Park Seong-won have served as the leaders, and now Park Su-gil, art director, make efforts to promote the artistic quality of it.
At the time of organization, the National Opera of Korea affiliated itself with the National Theater of Korea. Now, greeting the new millennium, it restarts as an independent foundation, which acts on its own responsibility.

The Korea National Ballet

The Korea National Ballet was organized under the name of "The National Dance Company" in support of the government in 1962. In the early days, it devoted to ballet and Korean traditional dance as well. Since its start, it has served as the model of professional ballet companies in Korea. In 1973 when the National Theater of Korea had moved to Jangchung-dong nestling under Mt. Namsan, it was isolated from the National Dance Company and became a ballet company affiliated with The National Central Theater.
Until 1992, it had been led by Im Seong-nam who was a pioneer of ballet arts in Korea. Since 1993, Kim Hye-sik has served as the leader and art director, and formed a Sponsor Association. The Sponsor Association has given regular supports to it, which helped it to get a firm stand for continuous development.
The Korea National Ballet has more than 50 ballet dancers under exclusive contract with it. It presents over 40 public performances a year, which consists of 30 plus more regular performances at the main hall of the National Theater of Korea having a seating capacity of 1,500 persons and the program of "Balletic Creation of the Member" which is planned to develop its repertory for small-sized ballet performance and to inspire the member to create more balletic creations, and has about 6 performance tours and some other special programs.
The repertory of a professional ballet company tells its artistic character. So far the National Ballet Company has developed a form of ballet drama based on classical ballet. The whole acts of Swan Lake, Giselle, Nutcracker, Notre-Dame de Paris, Carmen, Coppelia, Le Corsaire, and La Bayadere have been performed by the National Ballet Company for the first time in Korea. In addition, it has made efforts to develop ballet creations fit for Korean emotion, and introduced the followings to the public; Dream of Ji-goi, Cheo-yong, Baebi-jang, and Lover of Chun-hyang which was presented for the Culture & Arts Festival of '86 Asian Games, and Prince Ho-dong which was on the stage of Seoul Olympic Culture & Arts Festival.
In the meantime, the National Ballet Company has invited international dance directors and trainers in order to diversify its repertory and to render the member a chance to experience the international trend. With such purposes, it has invited Asida Taneo, Marina Contrvachva, Voris Afeman, and Pernande Nolt. They joined hands in presenting Don Quixote, Requiem, Bravo Figaro, Carmina Burana, and La Bayadere, Don Quixote of which was praised highly: "With the stage of Don Quixote, Korean ballet circles enter on a new phase." The rest were also recognized as outstanding performances.

The National Chorus of Korea

Since its start in May 1973, The National Chorus of Korea has done its most to render professionalism and artistic quality to home choral music. It is the first to open the age of professional choral music, and has been at the head of choral music movement. So far it has had more than 70 performances including 4 regular performances, 2 concert tours, a performance in concert with The National Opera of Korea and special concerts every year.
Various music pieces ranging from the Renaissance to our own day and sacred music as well are in its repertory. Dealing with all sorts of choral music, it gave choral music movement a certain artistic quality. Many of vocalists who were once its members act in the leading parts or as soloists in the opera circles. This is just one of the important achievements equal to its success at the stage of The National Opera of Korea where it once presented harmonious and touching performances.
It is remarkable that it has contributed to the promotion of choral music creation through various activities such as holding festivals for development of home choral music and for choral music creations of the undergraduates. Since 1977 it has held the "Undergraduate Choral Music Festival" where over 150 choral music creations has been introduced.
Hoping to form the characters of our own music, The National Chorus of Korea has layed experimentally a series of opera creations in the style of music play in which choral music, dance and acting are mixed one another. It requested composers to compose cantatas, and held "Prize Contest for Cantata" in order to stimulate them to create more cantatas.
Youngbiachunga, a cantata creation performed in Oct. 1995, was meaningful in every respect. The performance in remembrance of the 50th Independence Day of Korea attracted public attention. It was founded on , the first poem of Korea, dealing with great ambition of the Korean people. And it tried to mix Korean traditional music expressed in sijo(three-stanza Korean ode) or pansori(solo opera drama) with Western music and computer-aided sound effects.
Prof. Na Young-su who served as the 1st and 3rd leader and permanent conductor raised the artistic level of the National Chorus. O Se-jong, the 4th leader and art director, has tried for the continuous development of it in corporation with its members since 1993.

The Seoul Performing Arts Company

The Seoul Performing Arts Company was established on August 1, 1986, with the founding ideal of dressing the indigenous Korean performing arts in new attire and promoting them around the world so as to share their cultural benefits as widely as possible.
The Seoul Performing Arts Company has created many magnificent productions including musicals and traditional Korean songs and dances with its highly talented members.
Many of the members have been awarded top prizes by the Korean National Musical Awards as well as a variety of dance awards. The company has gone on the road in 40 countries, staging about 800 performances. All told it has attracted over three million viewers at home and abroad. Its performances at the closing and opening ceremonies of the Seoul Olympic Games '88, at the presentation to promote the World Cup 2002, and at the '99 Winter Asian Games have raised the company to a high standard of accomplishment.
For its participation in international events held in the United States, Japan, Africa, and Europe, the company has received superb reviews.
The remarkable and talented 62 members of the musical staff and dance staff of the Seoul Performing Arts Company are devoted to turning out new productions at a steady pace to serve as a window on the essence of Korea and its culture.

Korean Symphony Orchestra

The Korean Symphony Orchestra, which has been growing into an orchestra of Korean people, is making another start under an exclusive contract with the Seoul Arts Center as it celebrates its 17th anniversary.