January, 11 2014 09:47:58

Modern opera tells classic love story

Pop opera: Artist Duy Tan plays the hunchback Quasimodo in Vu Huy Tien's contemporary opera Notre Dame de Paris. — VNS File Photo

HCM CITY (VNS)— Veteran musician Vu Huy Tien has spent 30 years writing Vietnamese lyrics and the music score for the contemporary opera Notre Dame de Paris, based on the French author Victor Hugo's classic novel.

The work will be staged at the HCM City Conservatory of Music, next week.

"The play's music is a mixture of jazz, blues and Vietnamese pop in order to reach the Vietnamese audiences, while its lyrics honour love," Tien said.

Tien, who began to compose songs, musicals and operas at the age of 17, has worked at art troupes like the National Dance School, the Ha Noi Art Troupe, and Tuoi Tre (Youth Theatre). He received the prize from the Viet Nam Composer's Association in 1999 for his contribution to Vietnamese music.

Notre Dame de Paris tells the story of the hunchback of Notre Dame's (Quasimodo) unrequited love to the gypsy girl Esmeralda.

It depicts the star-crossed romance between the two main characters and Frollo, the archdeacon of Notre Dame, and Phoebus, the captain of the Royal Archers.

The story is told by a poet, played by Tien.

Respected artist Duy Tan, lecturer at the conservatory, will play the hunchback. Young singers Phuong Trinh and Thanh Huyen will be Esmeralda.

Both young and veteran singers and musicians from the conservatory will be performing.

The 90-minute opera is directed by Le Quan and Phan Dien who have spent the past few months with the actors and musicians rehearsing.

Money problems

Dien says the full opera is more than two and a half hours long – too long to dramatise all of it. But we can try and bring part of it to the stage.

However, "We can't do much without money," he added.

There will not be huge stage, just a few props, costumes and lights to support the performance.

Speaking frankly Tien said he and his partner, singer Thanh Hieu, have little experience in business and sponsorship, their priority and passion is the music.

"I thought my work would never be staged," he added.

Fortunately, Tien received the support from the Viet Nam Composers' Association and the conservatory. All the artists agreed to take part despite not being paid.

"I'm grateful to my colleagues and the artists who have made my dream come true," Tien said.

The opera will begin at 8pm on January 13 and 14 at 112 Nguyen Du Street in District 1.

Tickets are available at the venue. — VNS

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