The famed New York Philharmonic Orchestra announced January 12 that it will visit Vietnam for the first time in October as part of its Asian tour. The visit, to the circa-1911 Hanoi Opera House, will mark the first time that the orchestra, which has been to 59 countries, will have played in Vietnam. The New York Philharmonic made a historic visit to North Korea last February, after which orchestra officials broached the idea of playing in Vietnam, which has not been a popular spot for western orchestras.
The trip to North Korea “was so extraordinary that classical music became the center of attention, ” Zarin Mehta, the orchestra’s president, told The New York Times . “We sat back and said, ‘What can we do to follow this up?'”
Vietnam, Mehta said, “is a country that we felt as Americans we owed a visit to. We had a big war with them. The country was coming back, and we felt it was a good thing to reach out to the people there.”