[KS] Finding a videotape of NK opera?
Tatiana.Gabroussenko at bigpond.com
Wed Jan 7 02:55:13 EST 2004
Are the revolutionary operas zany? It is an interesting question. Many
years ago, being a fresh student of Korean studies, I attended "Kot p'anu:n
ch'onyo" at Moscow Bolshoi Theatre--mostly, for educational purposes. It was
given by a North Korean group on tour. Since the very beginning it became
clear to me that it would not be the best time in my life. Three or four
hours of loud cries, stilted sentimental garbage and blatant propaganda, the
time, which I prepared to spend yawning and giggling. But I then looked
around and found something unexpected. I was,probably, the only non-Korean
person in the whole theatre, most of the public constituted middle-aged or
old Soviet Koreans. And those people around took the opera deadly serious!
They were fully attentive, they cried, not giggled, at the pathetic moments.
And they were too numerous to be just paid agents of Pyongyang.
It made me reconsider the situation. I still did not like the opera. But it
came to me that it must be much more than simple propagandistic exercise of
Stalinist type. Surely, the opera evoked some essential cultural images that
touched the Soviet Korean public so much. The images which I, as an outsider
barely familiar with Korean culture, just did not sense.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Keith Howard" <Kh at soas.ac.uk>
To: <Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2004 2:32 PM
Subject: Re: [KS] Finding a videotape of NK opera?
On watching CCTV the other night, and quite by accident, 'Spring Comes Every
Year', one of the pangch'ang from Kkot panun yoja/The Flower Girl came on.
This served to remind me that not just in North Korea, but in China as well,
people remain very fond of 'revolutionary operas' and 'people's operas', and
in no way consider them, or the speech that supposedly led to them, as zany.
Videos are available, as are some old LPs (CDs also show up in the standard
catalogues, but I have never seen them for sale in Pyongyang), from the
North Korean state film distribution company. Getting hold of them is never
particularly easy. At SOAS, I have LPs, scores, and a couple of videos of
revolutionary/people's operas, but that doesn't help much since I won't be
in my office for the next four months or so, I can't access them.
From: john at gorenfeld.net
To: Koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2004 14:25:43 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [KS] Finding a videotape of NK opera?
Dear Korean Studies List,
Hi, I'm a journalist writing an article on the tradition of North Korean
revolutionary opera (as promoted in Kim Jong-Il's zany 1970s treatise,
"Kim Jong-Il On the Art of Opera.")
I'm interested in seeing the production values first-hand, and was
wondering if anyone could offer advice on how one might go about finding a
tape of "Sea of Blood," "Flower Girl," or the like.
LPs, scores, and a couple of videos of revolutionary/people's operas, but
that doesn't help much since I won't be in my office for the next four
months or so, I can't access them.
From: john at gorenfeld.net
Dr Keith Howard
Reader in Music, SOAS; Director, AHRB Research Centre for Cross-Cultural
Music and Dance Performance
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