The Korea Herald


Daegu’s iconic opera festival set to attract operagoers with five tragic operas

20th Daegu International Opera Festival runs through Nov. 10

By Park Ga-young

Published : Oct. 10, 2023 - 16:32

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Opera Opera "Salame" (Daegu Opera House)

The Daegu International Opera Festival, marking its 20th anniversary this year, kicked off with Richard Strauss’ “Salome" last week, a modern interpretation by opera director Michael Struminger.

Through Nov. 10, the festival is set to offer four more productions including Strauss’ “Elektra,” and three Verdi operas at the Daegu Opera House.

Bulgaria's Sofia Opera and Ballet, together with Daegu Opera House, will put on the Korean premiere of “Elektra” on Oct. 20 and 21. Based on the Greek tragedy of the same title by Sophocles, the opera tells the story of Elektra, a woman consumed by a desire for vengeance against her mother who played a role in the murder of Elektra’s father.

On Friday and Saturday, Verdi’s “Rigoletto” will be presented by Seoul Metropolitan Opera, which is participating in the Daegu International Opera Festival for the first time in 13 years.

On Oct. 27 and 28, Korea National Opera will introduce its latest production, “Macbeth,” directed by Fabio Ceresa, an Italian opera director and librettist, and conducted by Sebastian Lang-Lessing.

Closing the festival, Daegu-based Yongnam Opera will bring Verdi’s “Otello” to the stage on Nov. 3 and 4.

“One notable aspect of this festival is the presentation of intense tragedies that aim to provide the audience with a catharsis,” Chung Kab-gun, the director of Daegu Opera House, commented on the lineup of the festival, adding, "Aristotle mentioned in 'Poetics' that tragedy achieves the catharsis of emotions. 'Catharsis' is a Greek word meaning 'purification,' signifying the purification of the soul through tragedy."

"This year's theme, 'Now, Start afresh!' also reflects the desire for the audience to experience the purification of the soul and be reborn through the medium of tragedy," he noted.

Daegu Opera House (Daegu Opera House) Daegu Opera House (Daegu Opera House)

In an effort to showcase and promote the talents of regional opera troupes beyond Daegu, a special opera program has been organized, featuring two local private opera troupes in North Gyeongsang Province: Gumi Opera Company, presenting "Baebijangjeon" at Gumi City Cultural Arts Center on Wednesday, and Andong Opera Company, offering "L'elisir d'amore" at Andong Arts Center on Nov. 8.

In addition to the opera productions, there will be various events taking place throughout Daegu including "Fringe Concerts" held at various locations in the city and the "Young Artist Opera Concertante ‘The Theater Manager & La Boheme,’" featuring vocalists from the Daegu Opera House Opern Studio, as well as the "Opera Gala Concert 50 Stars III," presenting 50 talented vocalists from the Daegu Vocal Association.

The 36-day festival will come to an end with an awards ceremony which will honor vocalists, directors and conductors who have contributed to the 20th Daegu International Opera Festival.

Tickets for the festival are available at online ticket platform Interpark and Daegu Opera House's website.