I can’t help feeling that the Koreans have been taken for a bit of a ride with this Think Korea 2006 thing. I’d be interested to know for sure which government is investing more money in the programme, but I’d be willing to bet that it’s the Koreans. And let’s look at who’s getting what out of the Lee Soo Young / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra collaboration: in London (or actually, Croydon), there’s going to be one concert which no-one will notice and which only Koreans will go to. Will any Brit visit Korea as a result? No. Apart from the RPO that is, who get an all-expenses paid trip to Korea to do a five-concert tour with some big names in K-pop.
Shin Hae-chul, the leader of the rock band N.EX.T., has talked about his expectations and the pressure he has felt ahead of his first cross-over performance with the British Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
“This will be the most difficult performance in my 18-year career,” Shin told reporters in Seoul on Tuesday. “I feel so tense and pressured that I am preparing for it even all night.”
He also expressed his expectation that the performance can set an example for similar performances in the future, saying, “It will be a place to show the level of Korean music and technology.”
The British orchestra will also perform with other popular Korean singers including Lee Soo-young, SG Wannabe, Big Mama, and Vibe in Seoul, Busan and Daegu from May 25 through 28, after holding a concert at the National Theater of Korea in Seoul on May 24. The performances with N.EX.T. will last from May 25 through 27.
Will any Korean visit Britain as a result? Maybe. Big, young, Korean audiences; the RPO as cultural ambassadors for Britain. If anyone’s thinking about going abroad on holiday or to study, Britain will surely be on the list.