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30 November 2009

[NEWS] 091125 Mozart to be Portrayed as Modern Rock Star

By Chung Ah-young
Staff Reporter

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a fascinating figure whose life has been covered in various films and theater arts. Now the beloved musician will be recreated in the Korean rendition of the Austrian musical “Mozart!” which will be presented by EMK Musical Company in Seoul early next year.

This time, the genius musician will once again be the center of the work, but, besides classical music, he’ll also be accompanied by rock ‘n’ roll. The muscial’s Grammy Award-winning composer, Sylvester Levay, said that he decided to write a musical about Mozart’s life rather than his music with his writing partner Michael Kunze.

Grammy Award-winning composer Sylvester Levay,
who wrote the musical “Mozart!,” talks to The Korea Times
about recreating the musician into a modernday rock star.
/ Courtesy of EMK
Musical Company

“We decided to use his music only at some certain points but most of the time, the rest of the music is our works. We also put rock ‘n’ roll parts in it. So we can represent a nowadays Mozart. I think maybe when he was alive he could have been one of the rock ‘n’ roll stars in the world,” Levay said in an e-mail interview with The Korea Times.

In the musical, Mozart will dress like a rock star, a distinct contrast from the other characters, who are clad in 18th-century costumes.

The Hungarian composer collaborated with Kunze on other musicals, including “Elizabeth” and “Rebecca,” which were well received in Europe and Japan.

From there, they sat down and mulled over how to dissect a famous person’s life. They wanted to create a similar musical to “Elizabeth,” which focused on the main character’s life rather than her successful career. “That touched the audience and was a success. Like this, ‘Mozart!’ was also made about his life. He is very well known as a genius composer but he was also a human. The scene where he has a conflict with his father shows that Michael Kunze and I focused on the life of the person, and a human Mozart,” he said.

To better immerse himself in Mozart’s world, Levay tried to get a sense of how the Austrian composer felt by looking at his body of work. Levay visited where Mozart used to live and read many books on him.

“Also, I tried not to work continuously but also rest for several weeks and come back to the studio and listen to the work I had done. Once I felt this was the right music, then I used it, but if not, I just said ‘no’ to the music,” the composer said.

Levay said that Mozart also had a good sense of humor and was open-minded.
“I looked at more than a thousand of his works and read thousands of books about him. This actually made me connect with him a little bit closer. Also, I tried to feel the emotion he had while he wrote his songs,” he said.

The 64-year-old composer said that telling about his life through his music was the most pleasurable thing. “But the most difficult aspect was thinking, ‘What if I tell his musical life in the wrong way?’ It was a very challenging work to do,” said Levay.

Localizing foreign musicals is another difficult task due to the language difference, the composer said. Levay said that he constantly tells cast members from certain countries to feel the lyrics rather than reading them.

“I have felt that the quality of the Korean artists is very high. They are the best cast members I have seen so far. Also, the EMK production is well organized so I think the Korean version of ‘Mozart!’ will be of high quality, too,” he said.

Levay lived in Hollywood and concentrated on composing music for films from 1980 to 2000. His most famous and popular work was written for the mid-1980s U.S. TV action series “Airwolf” (1984-1986). Since the 1990s, Levay has dedicated himself to musicals.

Poster for musical “Mozart!,” which will go on stage from
Jan. 20 to Feb. 21 at Sejong Center for the Performing
Arts in downtown Seoul.

For the Korean rendition, musical heartthrobs Im Tae-kyung, Park Gun-hyung and Jo Sung-mo will alternate playing Mozart.

The musical will be staged from Jan. 20 to Feb. 21 at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets cost from 30,000 to 130,000 won. For more information, call (02) 6391-6333 or visit www.musicalmozart.co.kr.



And just for reference, to see what he means by looking like a rockstar, here's the link to a part of the Hungarian performance, you can check out how Junsu would look as Mozart.

Mozart musical - A zene az vagyok én

Source: The Korea Times
Shared by: vik720 @ LJ + OneTVXQ.com + Dbsk Dream

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