From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]

Kim Jong Il on the Art of Opera: Talk to Creative Workers in the Field
of Art and Literature September 4-6, 1974 (Paperback)

“Independence, peace, art, literature and friendship are ideas that
have been consistently adhered to by the government of the North Korean
Republic in foreign relations. As in the past, we will actively
endeavor to develop relations of friendship and cooperation with the
peoples of the world’s various countries, including socialist countries
and nonaligned countries, out of the principle of independence.

The harmonious whole between the leader and the leader that has been
all the more consolidated with belief and cemented with filial
obligation is the most valuable gain of our revolution, as well as the
source of the Republic’s invincible power.”

About the Author
Kim Jong Il (1942- ) is leader of North Korea (1994- ). Kim Jong Il
succeeded his father, Kim Il Sung , who had ruled North Korea since

Comment  —   A Masterpiece of the Twentieth Century
March 2, 2001     Reviewer: Gjergj Plazh “comecon” (Tirana, Albania)

“It is a true blessing to be able to read and write for which I am
eternally greatfull. One of the many perks of this ability is that it
enables me to get in touch with novel ideas and great controversies.
Reading this book by this great Korean leader and the best man of his
country put me in true ecstacy. The depth of his work is so immense.
Yet he is able to put the most complex problems of his country in so
simple terms that one begins to wander if his career would be better
off as a writer or a philosopher. How he explains the evolution of
mankind, the importance of science and steel production is pure magic.
I recommend that all young intellectuals as well as workers should
carefully read this work. Forward to the triumph of socialism!”

Customers interested in this title may also be interested in:

On The Juche Idea (Paperback)

Better Together – Buy this book with “Our Socialism Centered on the
Masses Shall Not Perish” by Kim Jong Il today!

Our Socialism Centered on the Masses Shall Not Perish (Paperback)

On the Art of Cinema (Paperback)

“In his preface the author states: “The cinema is now one of the main
objects on which efforts should be concentrated in order to conduct the
revolution in art and literature. The cinema occupies an important
place in the overall development of art and literature. As such it is a
powerful ideological weapon for the revolution and construction.
Therefore, concentrating efforts on the cinema, making breakthroughs
and following up success in all areas of art and literature is the
basic principle that we must adhere to in revolutionizing art and


Formation and Change in Individual Identity Between the Bell Beaker
Culture and the Early Bronze Age in Bavaria, South Germany (Bar
International) by Jong-Il Kim (Hardcover – Jan 2005)
Currently unavailable

On the Guche idea: Treatise sent to the National Seminar on the juche
idea held to mark the 70th birthday of the great leader Comrade Kim Il
Sung March 31, 1982 by Jong-il Kim (Unknown Binding – Jan 1, 1982)
Currently unavailable



Kim Jong Il on Opera: A book report

Well, with all the nasty apparently ceaseless activity in Lebanon and
Iraq, I thought now would be a good time to do a little research in to
Kim Jong Il, while there is a temporary lull.

I am kind of fascinated by Kim Jong Il. But of all the details in his
official biography, I was especially taken by this sentence: “In 1964
he graduated from the Kim Sung Il University where legend has it he
wrote 1,500 books, all of which are stored in the state’s library. It
is also said that he wrote six operas, all of which are better then any
in the history of music.” What better way to gain insights in to the
man than by studying his literary and musical canon. So I checked to
see if any of his books were available on Amazon. And Lo and Behold, a
mere 3 alphabet letters away from my own listings I found four of his
books for sale.

While I am waiting for the other 1496 to be made available, (or ANY of
his operas) I thought I would summarize the one book I just finished
reading: “Kim Jong Il On The Art Of Opera.” For those of you who
haven’t already read it, here is what I learned:

1. Oddly enough, Dear Leader does not appear to employ the services of
an editor when he writes. MY editor is fond of writing GWS on
manuscript pages where he thinks I am overstating my case. It stands
for “Goes Without Saying.” I suspect these words have never been
uttered anywhere near the writings of Kim Jong Il whose insights in to
the creation of opera often run along the lines of this exerpt from
Chapter 6:Opera Stage Representation. “In the first place, an opera
singer must sing well. A stage actor’s main task is to speak well and
act well. While an opera singer’s main task is to sing well. The opera
singer has to sing while acting and act while singing. This is similar
to the method of depiction used by stage and film actors who speak
while acting and act while speaking….If singing is to be supported
properly by acting, the distinctive features of opera acting should be
understood. It is easy to act while speaking but it is not easy to act
while singing.”

By the way, the afore mentioned is just Mr. Il getting started.
Stylistically speaking, Kim Jong Il does quite a bit of writerly
padding by stating the obvious. If he has speech writers, they also
have this flaw. He frequently makes points like “The orchestra must
accompany songs skillfully.” Or “Excellent lyrics are a prerequisite
for excellent music.” In this way I confess that Kim Jong Il kind of
reminds me of my father, Gerry Markoe, who once, while telling me how
to carry out his wishes, actually said “And here, where it says YOUR
NAME, you write YOUR NAME: Merrill Markoe.”

I was about 40 at the time.

2. Kim Jong Il’s main point is that he thinks Korean opera should shed
the “unattractive and incomprehensible” model of classical operas. Over
and over again he states that “For an opera to be popular, arias and
recitatives must be replaced by popular songs and orchestral music
which are comprehensible to everyone and capable of being sung by
everyone. ” Dear Leader wants all Korean opera to be full of “stanzaic
songs, which can be understood easily and loved by the people.”

At first glimpse, this sounds a lot like “Mama Mia.” But lest you think
that Kim Jong Il is using “Mama Mia” as his best case scenario, he goes
on to explain that “the seed of an opera must be capable of providing a
solution to the problem of the destiny of the popular masses who are
struggling for an independent and creative life and to the problems of
national liberation, class emancipation and man’s freedom.”

I haven’t SEEN Mama Mia, but from what I hear it skirts those issues

No, no… When Kim Jong Il is talking about popular songs capable of
being sung by everyone, he is referring to songs with titles such as
“Avenge the Punitive Expedition ” Other hummable favorites he mentions
are “Its an Honor to Be Alive Or Dead on the Road to Revolution” ” You
Have Brought Medicine For Your Mother.” “I Shall Remain Singleheartedly
Loyal” and, ofcourse, the crowd pleasing “”Do not Cry, My Dear Ul Nam”,
a song in which ” the audience boils with resentment at the Japanese
imperialists who have plunged the whole country in to a Sea of Blood.”

What we can learn from all this about how to negotiate with him is not
clear. I have a feeling George Bush also probably prefers operas full
of stanzaic songs. Maybe somewhere within an evening of “Mama Mia”
there lies some kind of an unexplored middle ground.
Next on my Kim Jong Il reading list: “Our Socialism Centered on the
Masses Shall Not Perish.” I think I’ll take this one along with me to
the beach.


from the author’s Bio:

Merrill Markoe was born in New York City and lived there for the first
three years of her life.

After that, nothing notable happened until High School. By then the
Markoe family had moved five times, eventually landing on the San
Francisco peninsula where, during her sophomore year, Merrill began a
decade long tradition of attending the biggest most important cultural
events of the sixties and seventies, only to leave them early. “The
Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park”, ” The Ken Kesey Acid Test” in San
Francisco, “The People’s Park Protest”, and ” The Black Power
Conference” in Berkeley, and the famous Rolling Stone’s Concert at
Altamont are just a few of the famous events that Merrill Markoe showed
up for but didn’t have the patience to sit through because, according
to her still unpublished childhood diaries, she found them “too smokey”
or “too stinky from all the incense and free form dancing.”

Merrill Markoe got a job on Mary Tyler Moore’s short lived and
ill-conceived attempt to star in her own variety show on CBS. During
those few strange months, she believes she actually witnessed a
choreographed production number being taped in which a young David
Letterman and an even younger Michael Keaton were forced to sing and
dance to the Village People song Macho Man. Sometimes, late at night,
when she is having trouble sleeping, she wonders if this could have
been a feverish hallucination.

It was during this period that she began writing and creating shows
with David Letterman, who she knew from the Comedy Store in the late
seventies. Together Merrill Markoe and Mr. Letterman eventually
designed the beloved NBC talk show, Late Night with David Letterman,
But first there was an Emmy award winning NBC day time talk show, live
from New York City every morning at 10 a.m.. which had, among it’s
highlights, an episode during which the studio caught fire, live on
network TV, due to a shower of flammable, igniting rose petals meant to
enhance the fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration of an obscure
couple from Long Island. Not so surprisingly, the show only lasted 4

After five or six years of writing and producing what seemed like
thousands of individual units of late night comedy and winning a bunch
of Emmies for Late Night with David Letterman, Merrill Markoe felt that
she had plumbed the depths of her ability to invent off-beat, comedic
ideas for acerbic witty white hosts in suits. Haunted by the fear that
the creation of Stupid Pet Tricks was going to be the only thing that
would appear in her obituary should she die right then, Merrill Markoe
decided to abandon the talk show game entirely unless she herself had
something she needed to plug.

In the years that followed, Merrill Markoe continued to work as an
on-air reporter for a number of magazine shows, including Michael
Moore’s TV Nation and HBO’s satirical hit ‘Not Necessarily the News’.

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