Sports Here's a look at North Korea's first musical performance in South Korea in 12 years

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As North Koreans arrived in South Korea ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, this particular group stood out amongst the delegation.

Members of North Korea's Samjiyon art troupe wave as they leave the Gangneung Arts Center after touring the facility ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, February 7, 2018. play

Members of North Korea's Samjiyon art troupe wave as they leave the Gangneung Arts Center after touring the facility ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

(Jae C. Hong/AP)
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As North Koreans arrived in South Korea ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, one particular group stood out from among the delegation.

The Samjiyon Orchestra, a musical ensemble that consists of 137 vocalists and musicians, showcased the start of the Winter Olympics with a highly choreographed performance in the city of Gangneung.

The orchestra wrapped up its 90-minute performance before an audience of 812 people on Thursday, and its second and final performance is scheduled for Saturday in Seoul.

Here's a look at Samjiyon Orchestra's first performance in South Korea since 2002:

Members of the Samjiyon Orchestra traveled to South Korea by ship on Tuesday. There, they were met by groups of conservative protesters, who shouted slurs at the art troupe from the docks below.

Members of the Samjiyon Orchestra traveled to South Korea by ship on Tuesday. There, they were met by groups of conservative protesters, who shouted slurs at the art troupe from the docks below. play

Members of the Samjiyon Orchestra traveled to South Korea by ship on Tuesday. There, they were met by groups of conservative protesters, who shouted slurs at the art troupe from the docks below.

(Lee Jin-man/AP)


The orchestra is part of a larger art troupe that includes the much-hyped Moranbong Band, a pop-music band comprised of women selected by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Hyon Song Wol, the leader of North Korea's art troupe, gets off a bus in Seoul, South Korea, January 21, 2018. Song Wol was part of an advance team to inspect locations for the art troupe's performances. play

Hyon Song Wol, the leader of North Korea's art troupe, gets off a bus in Seoul, South Korea, January 21, 2018. Song Wol was part of an advance team to inspect locations for the art troupe's performances.

(Kim Sun-ung/Newsis via AP)


The bilateral negotiations that took place before the orchestra's performance hit several snags. In late January, North Korea abruptly canceled a joint cultural performance that would have included performances from both countries. The country attributed its decision to South Korea's "insulting" media coverage.

North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra performs in Gangneung, South Korea, February 8, 2018. play

North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra performs in Gangneung, South Korea, February 8, 2018.

(Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Source: Reuters



Free tickets were available though a lottery system to both South Koreans and foreigners. After 150,000 South Koreans applied for 1,060 available tickets for the two shows, the government increased the number of seats.

Free tickets were available though a lottery system to both South Koreans and foreigners. After 150,000 South Koreans applied for 1,060 available tickets for the two shows, the government increased the number of seats. play

Free tickets were available though a lottery system to both South Koreans and foreigners. After 150,000 South Koreans applied for 1,060 available tickets for the two shows, the government increased the number of seats.

(Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Source: CNBC



Over a thousand tickets were also reportedly given to dignitaries and family members whose relatives were still in North Korea.

Audience members watch North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra perform in Gangneung, South Korea, February 8, 2018. play

Audience members watch North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra perform in Gangneung, South Korea, February 8, 2018.

(Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Source: NK News



Around 80 anti-North Korean protestors who oppose making concessions for North Korea were staged outside. About 100 police officers were reportedly on the scene.

A protester holds a large South Korean flag as he is surrounded by police officers during a rally outside the Gangneung Arts Center in Gangneung, South Korea, February 8, 2018. play

A protester holds a large South Korean flag as he is surrounded by police officers during a rally outside the Gangneung Arts Center in Gangneung, South Korea, February 8, 2018.

(Jae C. Hong/AP)

Source: Reuters



Wearing brightly colored tuxedos and traditional Korean garments, the orchestra catered to a wide-ranging audience, including an older generation of Koreans.

Wearing brightly colored tuxedos and traditional Korean garments, the orchestra catered to a wide-ranging audience, including an older generation of Koreans. play

Wearing brightly colored tuxedos and traditional Korean garments, the orchestra catered to a wide-ranging audience, including an older generation of Koreans.

(Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Source: The New York Times



The orchestra's playlist ranged from traditional songs familiar to both countries, to classical music by Mozart. The orchestra also performed singer Josh Groban's ballad "You Raise Me Up" and Broadway musicals, such as "Phantom of the Opera."

A North Korean operator conducts his duties as Samjiyon Orchestra prepares to perform in Gangneung, South Korea, February 8, 2018. play

A North Korean operator conducts his duties as Samjiyon Orchestra prepares to perform in Gangneung, South Korea, February 8, 2018.

(Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Source: The New York Times, Reuters



Although the orchestra's theme would typically focus on North Korea's propaganda messages, the performance did not mention North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Although the orchestra's theme would typically focus on North Korea's propaganda messages, the performance did not mention North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. play

Although the orchestra's theme would typically focus on North Korea's propaganda messages, the performance did not mention North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

(Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Source: The New York Times



The orchestra ended its performance with a theme that reflected the country's supposed desire for reunification, and included songs titled "Our Wish Is Unification."

The orchestra ended its performance with a theme that reflected the country's supposed desire for reunification, and included songs titled "Our Wish Is Unification." play

The orchestra ended its performance with a theme that reflected the country's supposed desire for reunification, and included songs titled "Our Wish Is Unification."

(Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Source: New York Times