B R I A N  B Y U N G K O O  A H N

 

MFA, SDC

La MaMa E.T.C.

74A East 4th Street

New York, NY 10003

 

eliamahn@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

byungkoo ahn, opera director, opera directing, stage director, theater director, stage directing, ucla directing, brian ahn, hamyul

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About

 

Since Byungkoo Ahn's first directorial work Cavalleria Rusticana was presented at the National Theatre of Korea as part of the Young Theatre Festival when he was 20, his opera, theatre and dance productions have been seen in the US, the UK, Korea, Italy, Germany, and Czech Republic for almost 30 years.

Byungkoo Ahn's recent work, 13 Fruitcakes, (conceived, directed, and produced by me) delves into the issues of identity, gender, and social change.  This work was premiered at New York’s La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in 2019, and also presented in Seoul in 2019 and 2020.  The show was officially selected for 2020 Seoul International Performing Arts Festival, and its performance at one of the National Theatres was streamed on NAVER TV, the biggest online platform in Korea. During the 4-hour streaming window period, the show accumulated thousands of viewers. 

13 Fruitcakes illuminates the stories of thirteen, historic LGBTQ+ figures that impacted humanity through their work in the arts, politics, literature, and science. It incorporated poems by Lorca, Whitman, Wilde, Rimbaud, and other Queer poets into a new musical collaboration with Gihieh Lee, one of the most important Korean musical theater composers.

 

The show was originally created to celebrate Stonewall Uprising’s 50th Anniversary, and it was recognized as a musical not to be missed during the World Pride 2019 by the New York Times.  New York critic, Eleanor Bader described the show as, “A dazzling multi-media extravaganza celebrating LGBTQ lives throughout world history.”  Joe Lombardi at BroadwayWorld.com wrote, “The style was frequently operatic and deeply emotional.” 

 

13 Fruitcakes was also invited for the Korean Season at the 2020 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and the digital production was streamed in 2021 Edinburgh Festival Fringe on Demand due to the pandemic, and the show received several 4 and 5-star reviews by UK critics.  Among many reviews, Fringe Biscuit Magazine particularly recognized the excellence of its form wrote “We are totally impressed by 13 Fruitcakes’ mastery of the digital theatre medium.  Definitely worth a look for those just starting out!”  The digital production also was officially selected by the Korea Queer Film Festival as the genre of feature film. 

 

Byungkoo Ahn's Korean adaptation of Hamlet, Hamyul/Hamlet (La MaMa ETC, 2011), represents all of his artistic experiments and endeavors for interdisciplinary and intercultural collaborations.  He integrated Shakespearean texts with Asian aesthetics adapted from Japanese Noh drama, Korean Court dance and music, and Korean Shamanism.  Ken Jaworowsky of the New York Times wrote, “The play is beguiling to watch, a reinterpretation with a dark mind all its own, and it creates a delicious mood of menace,” “Extended pauses carry great weight here, and the play-within-a-play scene is severe and frightening.”  The Villager wrote, “Korean Hamlet casts shaman’s spell over Shakespeare’s long shadow.” Nytheatre.com wrote, “Director Byungkoo Ahn delivers grace amidst formality.”

 

Born into a Korean theatre family as a third generation artist, Byungkoo Ahn studied theatre directing and design in Korea and the United States.  After his graduate study at UCLA on scholarship as the first recipient of the MAMPIST Award by Samsung Foundation of Culture, he formally trained in opera in Italy and the Czech Republic.  He also studied music interpretation of opera arias and art songs under the late Dr. Natalie Limonick, a world renowned opera coach, for many years. 

 

Before he started directing as a freelance director professionally, he interned at Los Angeles Opera, Opera National de Paris, and Long Beach opera, and he served as a stage director at California State University, Long Beach, where he directed four productions.  As a performer, he has appeared in numerous productions including Il Corvo, the opening production of The Venice Biennale, 2006. 


He currently resides in Seoul, Korea teaching Directing, Acting and Voice at various colleges.  He also continues directing, and serves as a board member and resident artist at La MaMa ETC.

Complete CV

Education

 

Master of Fine Arts

Theatre Directing

U.C.L.A., USA

 

Diploma

Voice

Konzervtor Brno, Czech Republic

 

Bachelor of Arts

Theater Directing

Dongguk University, Korea

 

Professional Diploma

Opera Vocal Performance Accademia Musicale “G. Donizetti”, Italy

 

 

Directing Credits

 

 

The Marriage of Pi Galho*

The National Theatre, Seoul, Korea, 2021

Director

New operatic work based on the Marriage of Figaro.

Production of “Singing Actors Repertory Company” sponsored by “Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture”.

 

13 Fruitcakes

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, UK, 2021

Director/Writer/Producer

Official Selection for the Korean Season at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 

Streamed online for 3 weeks due to Covid-19.

13 Fruitcakes

Korea Queer Film Festival, Seoul, Korea, 2021

Director/Writer/Producer

“Special Selection” for the Korea Queer Film Festival 2021 as a feature film.

 

Myungyeh, the Musical 

Paju Civic Arts Center, Paju, Korea 2020

Director

A new Korean contemporary musical theatre.

Production of Paju Civic Arts Company.

 

1828, Yeon Kyung Dang*

National Gugak Center, Seoul, Korea 2020

Director/Writer

Korean Traditional Court Dance Production by the National Traditional Arts Company of Korea. 

Recreation of Dance Manuscript by Prince Hyomyung Dating Back to 1828.

 

13 Fruitcakes

Seoul International Performing Arts Festival; ARKO Arts Theatre of Korea, Seoul, Korea 2020

Director/Writer/Producer

Official Selection for the SPAF. Experimental LGBTQ Musical Theatre. Production co-produced by “La MaMa ETC” and “Singing Actors Repertory Company”.

 

13 Fruitcakes

Baekam Art Hall, Seoul, Korea 2019

Director/Writer/Producer

Experimental LGBTQ Musical Theatre Production Co-Produced by “La MaMa ETC” and “Singing Actors Repertory Company”.

 

13 Fruitcakes*

La MaMa ETC, New York, New York 2019

Director/Writer/Producer

Experimental LGBTQ Musical Theatre Production Co-Produced by “La MaMa ETC” and “Singing Actors Repertory Company” as part of La MaMa’s Stonewall 50.

To You at the Speed of Light

JTN Theatre, Seoul, Korea, 2018
Director/co-Writer
A Musical Theatre Production by Lucky Blue Company

 

Three Women

Munhak Civic Theatre, Incheon, Korea, 2018
Director/co-W riter/Co-Producer
Experimental Opera based on La Bohem, La Traviata, and La Madama Butterfly featuring ‘The Singing Actors Group International’ Invited by the City of Incheon

 

Three Women, Admitted

La Mama Spoleto Open, Itlay, 2017
Director/Writer/Co-Producer
Experimental Opera based on La Bohem, La Traviata, and La Madama Butterfly featuring ‘The Singing Actors Group International’

Tre Donne, Ammesse

La Mama Spoleto Open, Itlay, 2017
Director/Writer/Co-Producer
Experimental Opera based on La Bohem, La Traviata, and La Madama Butterfly featuring ‘The Singing Actors GroupInternational’

Three Women, Admitted

The National Theatre, Seoul, Korea, 2017
Director/Writer/Co-Producer
Experimental Opera based on La Bohem, La Traviata, and La Madama Butterfly featuring ‘The Singing Actors Group International’

Voyage: Musical Vignettes

HamburgerSprechwerk, Hamburg, Germany, 2017
Director/Writer/Production Designer/Performer/Co-Producer
A Series of Musical Vignettes/mini operas with German Art Songs.
Featuring ‘The Cole Laptop Ensemble’, US and ‘The Singing Actors Group’, Korea.

Voyage: Musical Vignettes

Kulturhaus ‘alte feuerwache’, Berlin, Germany, 2017
Director/Writer/Production Designer/Performer/Co-Producer
A Series of Musical Vignettes/mini operas with German Art Songs.
Featuring ‘The Cole Laptop Ensemble’, US and ‘The Singing Actors Group’, Korea.

Dido and Aeneas, Admitted

The National Theatre of Korea, Seoul, Korea, 2016
Director/Co-Producer
An Adaptation of an Opera by Henry Purcell featuring ‘The Singing Actors Group International’

Nakrang

Bucheon Civic Stadium, Bucheon, Korea, 2015
Director
A Circus Musical Theatre Production by Buchoen Symphony Orchestra and Dongchun Circus Company.

Days & Nights, Four Chekhovian Interludes

Art Theatre Moon, Seoul, Korea, 2015 Director/Playwright
Four theatrical adaptations of A. Chekhov’s short stories.

The Rite of Autumn: Rituals and Celebrations

Naru Centre for the Arts, Seoul, Korea, 2013

Director/Writer/Co-Producer

7 Musical Vignettes by Brian Byungkoo Ahn and Opera Music Gala featuring ‘The Singing Actors Group International’.

 

Brian Ahn’s 7 Musical Veignettes

Sungam Arts Centre, Seoul, Korea, 2013

Director/Music Director/Writer/Co-Producer

7 Musical Vignettes by Brian Byungkoo Ahn featuring ‘The Singing Actors Group International’.

 

Voyage: Musical Vignettes

La MaMa Spoleto Open, Spoleto Due Mondi Festival, Italy, 2013

Director/Writer/Production Designer/Performer/Co-Producer

The world premiere of the series of Musical Vignettes/mini operas with German art songs. Featuring ‘The Cole Laptop Ensemble’, US and ‘The Singing Actors Group’, Korea.

 

The Merry Widow

Naru Centre for the Arts, Seoul, Korea, 2013

DirectorProduction of Kim Haknam Opera Company.

 

Jonah

The National Theatre of Korea, Seoul, Korea, 2013

Director/Performer/Co-Production Designer/Co-Producer

New oratorio by JY Choi.  Featuring ‘The Singing Actors Group’.

 

A Joke

The National Theatre of Korea, Seoul, Korea, 2013

Director/Book/Lyrics/Co-Production Designer/Co-Producer

New musical theater composed by JY Choi.  Featuring ‘The Singing Actors Group’.

 

Love and Dream, Painted with Songs

The National Theatre of Korea, Seoul, Korea, 2013

Director/Writer/Production Designer/Co-Producer/Music Director

Opera/Musical Theater Gala and 3 New Musical Vignettes.  Featuring ‘The Singing Actors Group’.

 

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

Kookmin Main Theatre, Seoul, Korea, 2012

Director

Kookmin University Theatre Program production.

 

Mozart Opera Highlights

The National Theatre of Korea, Seoul, Korea, 2012

Director

Korean Chamber Opera Company’s 4-hour excerpts from Le nozze di Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, Don Giovanni, and Zauberlote.

 

Hamyul/Hamlet

La MaMa ETC, New York, NY, 2011

Director/Co-Writer/Co-Producer

A Korean adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

 

The Doctor

LaMaMa ETC, New York, NY, 2009

Director/Writer

A chamber opera composed by Martin Herman based on Anton Chekhov’s short story of the same title.

 

A Joke

La MaMa ETC, New York, NY, 2009

Director/WriterA musical theatre composed by Younghun Lee based on Anton Chekhov’s short story of the same title.

Director-composer collaboration of new work development.

 

B-Alive!

La MaMa ETC, New York, NY, 2008

Director

A touring dance theatre production with world champion B-Boys and Hip-Hop dancers.

 

The Doctor

The Music Now Prague Festival, Czech Republic

Director/Writer/Production Designer

New chamber opera composed by Martin Herman based on Anton Chekhov’s short story of the same title.

Director-composer collaboration of new work development.  The Californian production was invited to Prague and Bruno in Czech Republic funded by Trust for Mutual Understanding.

 

Orlando

Long Beach Opera-Downtown Opera, CA

Director/Co-Production DesignerChamber opera composed by Martin Herman.  The original story by Virginia Woolf.  Director-composer collaboration of new work development.

 

Consumer’s Paradise

Long Beach Opera-Downtown Opera, CA

Director/Co-Production Designer

Opera composed by William HoustonDirector-composer collaboration of new work development.

 

Dido & Aeneas

CSULB Opera, Long Beach, CA

Director

Fully-staged student opera production of California State University Opera Program.  Composed by H. Purcell.

 

Der Schauspieldirektor

CSULB Opera, Long Beach

Director

Fully-staged student opera production of California State University Opera Program.  Composed by W. A. Mozart.

 

Operatic Scene Highlights

CSULB Opera, Long Beach

Director

Various scenes from La Rondine, Der Rosenkavalie, La Traviata, Dialogue des Carmetlies, and Centrillon.

 

Telephone

West Valley Opera Theater, Los Angeles, CA

Director/Production Designer

Opera composed by G.C. Menotti

 

Coffee Cantata

West Valley Opera Theater, Los Angeles, CA

Director/Production DesignerFully staged opera style cantata J. S. Bach.

 

Amahl & the Night Visitors

 

La Calisto

 

Days & Nights

 

The Fishbow

 

The Hostage

 

Antigone

 

The Letter & 4 plays by S. Beckett

 

Cavalleria rusticana

 

and More

 

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