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Lottery to give free tickets to see Samjiyon Orchestra

Feb 02,2018
Over 1,000 tickets for a North Korean orchestra concert in Seoul and Gangneung, Gangwon, will be available to the public for free through an online lottery system, the Unification Ministry announced Thursday.

A total of 560 seats will be offered for the concert in Gangneung next Thursday, to be held at the Gangneung Arts Center from 8 to 9:30 p.m., while 500 seats will be handed out for the Seoul performance three days later at the National Theater of Korea in Jung District, central Seoul from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The ministry did not specify the type of performance North Korea’s Samjiyon Orchestra will put on, saying discussions on the matter were still ongoing between the two countries.

But Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung said last month that Seoul requested that the orchestra play Korean folk songs and classical music, to which Pyongyang replied they will play folk songs and well-known world classics.

A major issue of contention is whether the group will play propaganda music, as is normally the case for North Korean orchestras. Seoul officials downplayed the possibility because the regime reportedly said it would send a video featuring a rehearsal of the performances.

The name of the orchestra has never before appeared in North Korean media, prompting local authorities to believe it is a makeshift combination of several orchestras specially convened for the concerts in the South.

To register for the lottery, people can log on to ticket.interpark.com by computer or mticket.interpark.com by mobile phone starting at noon today until noon tomorrow.

From there, they can choose one of the two concerts. New users to the website must sign up.

Winners will be required to identify themselves on the site. Applying for both concerts is not allowed, and any violators will have their applications automatically rejected.

Winners will be announced next Tuesday on the same website and will receive a text message informing them that they have been chosen. Each winner will be given two tickets. There will be 530 winners.

Some 140 members of the orchestra, including singers, dancers, instrumentalists and staff, will cross the border next Monday and Tuesday by a road connecting the two countries near the west coast, returning back to North Korea on Feb. 12.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]