N.Korean Troupe Bring Chinese Classic to Beijing

      May 06, 2010 09:54

      The official Chinese news media have given extensive coverage of the upcoming premiere of a North Korean version of the Chinese classic "Dream of the Red Mansion" by an opera troupe from the reclusive country. North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who is in Beijing, is tipped to watch the show with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

      The Chinese press is all abuzz about the show but has been silent about Kim's visit, which is officially secret. Some 198 members of Phibada Opera Troupe arrived in China by train on Sunday, a day before Kim's departure from Pyongyang. The performance runs at the Beijing TV Grand Theater from Thursday through Sunday.

      The Xinhua news agency, CCTV and Beijing TV have been giving extensive coverage to the troupe since it arrived in Dandong. "A North Korean version of 'Dream of the Red Mansion' will premiere in China 50 years after it was created," Beijing TV said. "The North Korean troupe consists of a new cast of actors born after the 1980s."

      A scene from "Dream of the Red Mansion" at the Pyongyang Grand Theater in October last year /Choson Sinbo-Yonhap

      Based on a classic novel written during the Qing Dynasty, "Dream of the Red Mansion" is a love story in an aristocratic family. The North Korean version was created in 1961 at the orders of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung after he saw an adaptation in China.

      China sent a director, costumes and props for assistance. Since then, "Dream of the Red Mansion" has been considered a symbol of the close alliance between the two countries. Visiting Pyongyang in October last year, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao watched the show with Kim there.

      All tickets for the Beijing performances for Thursday and Friday were reportedly bought by the Chinese government, indicating that Kim and Hu will watch the performance together.

      A North Korean source in Beijing said the show is a new version of the original work adapted on Kim Jong-il's orders last October. "It seems the two leaders will watch it together as part of events marking the 60th anniversary of China's participation in the Korean War this year," the source added.

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