Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) attended a pair of concerts on 15 October (Tuesday). One concert was given by Russia’s Orchestra of the 21st Century at the East Pyongyang Grand theater and the other was given by the Moranbong Band and Merited State Chorus (a.k.a. Merited State Choir). Attending the concert of the Orchestra of the 21st Century were Kim Jong Un’s wife Ri Sol Ju (Ri So’l-chu), Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Secretary Kim Ki Nam “creators and artistes of the art organizations of the Korean People’s Army [KPA] and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces [KPISF] and art education institutions, teachers, students and other citizens in Pyongyang” and officials of the Russian Federation’s Embassy in Pyongyang. Attending the concert of the Moranbong Band and State Merited Chorus were Director of the KPA General Political Department VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Kim Ki Nam, Orchestra of the 21st Century Chief Conductor Pavel Ovsyannikov and the Orchestra’s manager Natalia Ivanovna Semyonova. Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his visit to Munsu Water Park.
Prior to the start of the Orchestra of the 21st Century concert, given to mark the 65th anniversary of DPRK-Russia relations, Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol Ju greeted the orchestra’s management and recalled that his father, late leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) “watched the performance of the orchestra several times” and Kim Jong Un “appreciated the performing activities conducted by the orchestra, contributing to the development of the bilateral friendly relations.” The orchestra performed songs from the opera Ruslan and Ludmilla, “Flying in the Sky over Russia,” “Forward towards Stars,” “Ardent Desire,” “Song of Comradeship” and other songs. According to KCNA, “the artistes made a truthful artistic representation of the warm love of the Russian people for the country and their traditional custom and national emotion.” After the concert Kim Jong Un congratulated the orchestra members and “met with the leading members of the orchestra and expressed thanks to them for presenting a splendid performance to the delight of the Korean people.”
The joint concert by the Moranbong Band and State Merited Chorus began with “We Sing of the Party” and included “Ode to the Motherland,” “Mother Party Which Protected My Destiny,” “Our Future is Bright,” “Let’s Defend Socialism,” “His Great Name Is the Banner of Victory,” “Long Live the Workers’ Party of Korea” and other sons. According to KCNA, “the audience was mesmerized by the performance” and Kim Jong Un congratulated members of the two DPRK performance troupes. After the concert Kim Jong Un met with the lead conducted or Orchestra of the 21st Century Pavel Ovsyannikov and the orchestra’s manager Natalia Ivonova Semyonova. According to KCNA, Ovsyannikov “expressed sincere thanks to Kim Jong Un, saying that he invited the orchestra to watch the joint performance given by the Moranbong Band and the State Merited Chorus after appreciating the performance of his orchestra” and he “said in an excited tone that the joint performance was the performance of the highest level and a really splendid one full of dynamism, vigor and stamina.” Kim Jong Un “expressed belief and expectation that artistes of the two countries would conduct joint performances and a lot of exchanges to contribute to enriching the mankind’s treasure house of culture and arts.”