Sea of Blood
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Sea of Blood
Sea of Blood
LibrettistKim Il-sung (attributed)
17 July 1971 (1971-07-17)

Sea of Blood (Korean; MRP'ibada) is a North Korean opera credited to Kim Il-sung. It was first produced as an opera by Sea of Blood Theatrical Troupe (Pibada Guekdan) in 1971.[1] It was then later adapted into a novel by the Choseon Novelist Association of the 4.15 Culture Creation Group (? 4·15) in 1973.[2]

History and synopsis

Scene from Sea of Blood painted as a mural at the Pyongyang Grand Theatre, where the opera was premiered

Sea of Blood is set in the 1930s, during the Japanese occupation of Korea, and follows the life of protagonist Sun-Nyo and her family as they suffer numerous tragedies at the hands of the Japanese before eventually gaining the willpower and means to join the communist revolution and fight against their oppressors. The story is meant to exemplify the values of the Juche ideology, with self-reliance and solidarity being the central themes. The novel is notable for its highly detailed descriptions and lengthy narrations of each character's point of view as well as its graphic depiction of violence. It is also mandatory reading in North Korea's literature curriculum.[3]

Along with The Flower Girl (Korean ), Tell O'the Forest! (Korean ), A True Daughter of the Party (Korean ?) and The Song of Mount Kumgang (Korean? ), Sea of Blood is considered one of the "Five Great Revolutionary Operas" (Korean revolutionary opera) (Korean5? ?; Hanja?), which are the five most critically acclaimed operas within North Korea with revolutionary themes. The opera is considered as a masterpiece in North Korea since it expresses the unique aspects of the Juche regime's revolutionary ideology. It is also regarded as an exemplary revolutionary piece because of its unique use of visual and auditory effect and unprecedented theme, which was unlike other existing operas.[4] In truth, the opera was influenced by Chinese model ballets like The White Haired Girl and operas like The Legend of the Red Lantern.[5]

Sea of Blood premiered on 17 July 1971 at the Pyongyang Grand Theatre in the attendance of Kim Il-sung.[6] The opera is known for being North Korea's longest-running production, having been staged over 1,500 times, and is presented three to four times a week at Pyongyang's main theater.[7] It is also sometimes performed abroad.[8] The North Korean Opera Troupe, which was established in 1946, was renamed "Sea of Blood Opera Troupe" shortly after the opera's release in 1971.[9] Through being involved in the making of the opera, Kim Jong-il could systematize his thought on the art form. Many of the features of the opera are included in his treatise On the Art of Opera (1974), which lauds Sea of Blood as a model opera.[6]

Sea of Blood was also produced as a four-hour black-and-white film, in the early 1970s, which was produced by Korea Films.[] Kim Jong-il produced the film, directed by Choe Ik-gyu.[10]


  • The Novel. Sea of Blood, Pyongyang: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1982

See also


  1. ^ KCNA. "Revolutionary opera "Sea of Blood" 30 years old". Retrieved .
  2. ^ Naver Encyclopedia. "Pibada". Retrieved .
  3. ^ Naver Encyclopedia. "Pibada". Retrieved .
  4. ^ Naver Encyclopedia. "Pibada". Retrieved .
  5. ^ Howard 2004, p. 118.
  6. ^ a b Burnett 2016, p. 85.
  7. ^ John Gorenfeld. "Dear Playwright". Archived from the original on 2006-10-29. Retrieved .
  8. ^ Brown, Jeffrey Arlo (18 February 2016). "Chorus and Orchestra of Generals: On North Korean Opera". VAN Magazine. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ "Phibada Opera Troupe". Korean Central News Agency. 19 June 2002. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ Fischer, Paul (2016). A Kim Jong-Il Production: Kidnap, Torture, Murder... Making Movies North Korean-Style. London: Penguin Books. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-241-97000-3.

Works cited

Further reading

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes