Thursday, May 19, 2011

Morricone: Take 2

Post Karsh exhibit, the rabbit and I made it to the 2nd night of Ennion Morricone's 3 night run at Seoul's Sejeong Centre for the Performing Arts. This is the same venue where I sat front row for Harry Connick Jr., and while I was happy to pay the 120,000 won for those seats, I wasn't about to do 200,000 for the same seats for a full orchestra.

The rabbit wanted to sit as far away as possible anyway and let the music wash up and over her. As I've mentioned countless times before, Koreans love them some Morricone. That is perhaps why he has been able to sell-out the Olympic Gymnasium in 2007, again in 2009, and now the Sejeong Centre for three sold-out nights. This was essentially the same concert as when I first saw him in October of 2007 - highlights of his cinematic scoring career. It's all amazing music, and it's very cool to be able to hear it live. Highlights for me (and likely most others) are his selections from The Mission and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

It is perhaps a strange thought that people would pay hundreds of dollars to see live orchestral and choral movie music, but for most everyone who was there, it's a chance to see a beloved genius cleberating his career. Our seats were only 40,000 won, but even at a great distance, it's clear that he loves his work, he's appreciative of his musicians, and he's grateful to the point of tears for his audience. For evidence of this, check out his reception of his honorary Oscar from a few years back.

One addition to the repertoire on this night, however, was a solo by Korean pop-turned stage musical superstar Ok Ju-hyeon - a singer who famously transformed herself through excercise and plastic surgery during her stint as a member of the K-Pop group FIN.K.L. ("Fine Korean Ladies?") alongside Lee Hyori. She was by far the most vocally competent of the group but apparently the least attractive. Think Effie White of Dreamgirls. And Ju-hyeon is telling Hyori now! Ok Ju-hyeon has gone-on to have a successful solo career and has been cast as high profile leads in a number of recent broadway musicals here in Korea. One minute you're being mocked as the "fat one" and the next you're standing alongside an Oscar Winning Italian composer. All it takes is a little "hot yoga" and a willingness to go under the knife. Young and impressionable Korean school girls, take note.

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