Part one of our attempt to penetrate the nearly-impenetrable culture of North Korea explored the "pop" songs of the World's Strangest Country. Today, we're getting all high-culture and whatnot, with one of the "Five Great Revolutionary Operas," "The Flower Girl."

The plot concerns a poor girl's attempt to deal with her evil landlord. Ghosts are, apparently, also involved. Supposedly written by North Korea's founder Kim Il-Jong, it was one of a series of operas "...intended to promote the communist ideology, by incorporating themes such as the
class struggle against the bourgeois." Attention: cabaret singers! How catchy toe-tappers like "Covering 280 km Road after Leaving the Home Village" have not entered the standard showtune songbook, I do not know.

Mansudae Art Troupe: "The Flower Girl"

I guess I was expecting this to be more folkloric, like Chinese opera with it's clanging percussion and shrill vocals. It actually sounds pretty Broadway, all melodramatic string orchestrations and emotional music-theater vocals. Not nearly as relentlessly peppy as the pop songs. Goes down smooth, as good propaganda should.

Recently, She Walks Softly posted some amazing photos, and a link to a documentary shot surreptitiously in North Korea. Truly, some must-see viewing.

Thanks again to

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