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New York Phil's North Korean Update (Updated)

Kim Il Jong and BeethovenYesterday the New York Philharmonic announced that a deal had been made with the "Democratic People's Republic" of Korea to broadcast the New York Philharmonic's concert (February 26th) live on national (state- what else is there) Television. Daniel J. Wakin also reported on this in today's New York Times.

This about three, four days after the latest of several critical articles about the New York's concert appeared in the Washington Times - explicitly mentioning the lamentable lack of a broadcast in North Korea. Correlation/Causation, anyone?

The question remains how truly public even a TV broadcast can be in North Korea. There are an estimated quarter- to half-million TV sets in North Korea, likely in the hands of the privileged, party line toeing upper bureaucratic echelons. To be truly meaningful, the NYPhil concert would have to be broadcast on national NK radio, which reaches anywhere up to four million people.

The TV broadcast takes the concert from being a cultural diplomacy bunt to a base hit. A radio broadcast might bring it to third base, anyway - though a home-run would still require music that speaks more strongly the language of freedom. Beethoven's Fidelio Overture, maybe. Or a choir to perform something catchy from, say, Nabucco?

Update, February 22nd:
Read the article in the Far Eastern Economic Review that makes more or less the same point.


Charles T. Downey said...

Fantasy programming is so much fun. If you had a chorus, how about the Patria oppressa chorus of the Scottish exiles from Verdi's Macbeth?

jfl said...

Accompanied by an unexplained purge of all Italian speakers in NK, an hour before the broadcast.