Korean Soap Opera “Hwang Jini”
Viktoria Kaunzner’s Der koreanische Tropfenfänger

Korean television dramas tend to be rather popular throughout Southeast and East Asia. And the 2006 TV series “Hwang Jini” was one of the most popular and successful of all times. The title references the most famous poetess of the Joseon Dynasty, Hwang Jini (1506-1560), who was noted for her exceptional beauty, charming quick wit, extraordinary intellect, and her assertive and independent nature. An illegitimate child, she grew more beautiful with age and men of the upper class and lower classes wanted to marry her.

Hwang Jini TV Drama

Hwang Jini TV Drama

The story goes that after losing her lover at the age of 15, she became a gisaeng; similar to a Japanese geisha or an Italian courtesan. She asked riddles to the men who came to visit her, and according to legend she presented such difficult riddles that only the most intelligent men would be able to interact and talk with her. It seems that only one man was ever smart enough to solve her famous marriage riddle “Jeomiligu Idubulchool.”

Der koreanische Tropfenfanger (The Korean Drip Catcher) (Duo 47/4)



Refusing to follow the strict social conventions of her time, she learned how to dance and to play music, and mastered art, literature and poetry. Hwang Jini has become an almost myth-like figure in modern Korea, inspiring novels, operas, films, television series, and compositions.

Viktoria Kaunzner

Viktoria Kaunzner © alionbalticfestival.com

Inspired by Hwang Jini’s poetry, Viktoria Kaunzner crafted film-music poetry titled Der koreanische Tropfenfänger (The Korean Drip Catcher). According to the composer, “Drip Catcher” symbolizes the “phase transition consisting of holding firm, letting go and transforming into a new vitality.” The dream-like improvisation, is based on one of Hwang Jini’s Sijo poems. Each time in concert, the artists improvise on a different Sijo poem from a different era, and thus the piece is always created anew.

Blue valley-river of the blue mountain; do not be proud of running fast
Once you end up in the sea it is hard for you to come back again
The moon shines brightly above all mountains alike once to recover, how would it be?

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