HCM CITY — A doyen of cai luong (reformed opera), 64-year-old Le Thuy is now focused on winning audiences back to the stage and having them enjoy the traditional art form.
|Song in her heart: Through her biggest live show tomorrow, veteran artist Le Thuy will treat theatre lovers to traditional cai luong songs. — VNS Photo Thanh Hiep
It is a challenging task.
Tomorrow, Thuy will face up to that challenge with her biggest ever live show at HCM City's Ben Thanh Theatre. The show is called A Half Century of Singing Cai Luong.
"Cai luong is truly unique. I will bring original tunes of the traditional music for theatre lovers, particularly younger audiences," Thuy said.
Cai luong is a southern Vietnamese theatrical art that originated in the Mekong River Delta after World War I.
Thuy is hoping that the live show, which will feature several cai luong stars, young and old, will lure young audiences just like a pop concert.
"I think cai luong artists, particularly the younger generation, should revive the theatre with their skills and creativity," she said.
"We are living in a modern world. Therefore, to make an impression on audiences, cai luong artists need to improve their productions with new performing styles."
Thuy said she supported younger artists who were combining traditional and modern performance styles.
The highlight of the concert will be excerpts from La Sau Rieng (Durian Leaf), Lan Va Diep (The Love Story of Lan and Diep) to To Anh Nguyet (Ms To Anh Nguyet), plays that have made Thuy famous for nearly 50 years.
It is hard for anyone, including experienced artists like Thuy, to perform well in a two-hour live show. She has been practising her vocal and dance skills for several hours a day to perfect her performance.
Thuy's commitment and willingness to innovate in order to attract audiences and sustain the traditional art form has been appreciated by fans and critics alike.
"The cai luong theatre needs brave artists like Thuy," said theatre critic Do Hanh.
Born to a farming household in Vinh Long Province, Thuy began her career at a very early age.
In her first performance on stage for the Tram Vang Troupe, she won the audience over with her voice, appearance and performing skills.
She later joined Kim Chung Theatre, the region's leading cai luong troupe, becoming one of the theatre's brightest stars.
She chose to leave the troupe as well.
"Cai luong had big stars like Phung Ha but I didn't want to live in their shadow. So I had to work hard to demonstrate my own abilities on stage," said Thuy.
Her strong and melodic voice and her remarkable stage presence helped Thuy make her mark on the stage, and she has used her popularity to promote the art further.
Thuy's live show will begin at 8pm on March 31. It is expected to attract more than 1,000 people.
Working with her colleagues and the region's most talented performers including a group of skilled musicians, Thuy is well set to dazzle fans tomorrow.
"We have all worked hard to provide audiences with a better stage performance.
"I don't want to make a mistake in my show. I will give my performances every thing I have." — VNS