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Classical opera still rooted among Vietnamese people (July 16, 2003)

A scene in a play of Khanh Hoa art troupe.
The recently concluded national amateur classical opera (tuong) festival in Nha Trang city, Khanh Hoa southern central province attracted the participation of more than 300 artists from 13 provinces and cities. The festival affirmed the vitality of this traditional valuable art.

The festival drew the participation of amateur tuong art troupes from both the north and the south, including Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Hai Duong, Haiphong, Ha Tay, Thanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Dak Lak, Phu Yen, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Ba Ria – Vung Tau and Ho Chi Minh City. Thirteen tuong plays featured a variety of themes and were imbued with the identity of this traditional art. Four plays had traditional themes, six others featured Vietnamese history and the three remaining works depicted contemporary life.

Many young amateur artists were very skillful in this traditional art, while off the stage they have ordinary jobs. It was their passion for the art and good acting skill that attracted a large number. During three days of the festival, people from many places flocked to the Culture - Information Centre of Khanh Hoa province, where the festival took place. This has rarely been seen in an amateur stage festival.

Mr Hoang Dac Thap, head of the art troupe from Bac Ninh province, a cradle of this art in the north, said: "There are ten amateur tuong clubs in the province. These troupes always received attention from the provincial administration and receive a warm response from the people. These artists, amateur as they are give about 100 performances every year."

While the survival of the art of tuong causes concerns, such an amateur festival will help preserve this traditional stage art of Vietnam.

Reprinted with permission from Nhan Dan Newspaper


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