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An ‘unusual' cai luong live show

Update: July, 11/2015 - 10:07
Doyen of the art: With her biggest ever live show on July 17, People's Artist Ngoc Giau (right), 70, will treat theatre lovers in HCM City to traditional cai luong songs. — VNS Photo Thanh Hiep
HCM CITY  (VNS) — People's Artist Ngoc Giau, a leading cai luong (reformed opera) performer, will return to the stage for a live show in HCM City next week.

Duyen Lam Nguoi Oi (Charming Cai Luong) at the Cong Nhan Theatre will also be her biggest ever liveshow.

"I will bring original tunes of the traditional music for theatre lovers, particularly younger audiences," she said.

Giau is hoping that the event, which will feature guest singers like pop stars Dam Vinh Hung and Phuong Thanh, will attract young people just like a pop concert.

"To make an impression on young audiences, we need to offer productions with unusual performing styles," the 70-year-old said.

The highlight of the concert will be excerpts from Doi Co Luu (The Life of Ms Luu), Luc Van Tien, and Thai Hau Duong Van Nga (Queen Mother Duong Van Nga), plays that have made Giau famous for more than five decades.

"I think cai luong artists should revive the genre with their skills and creativity," the show's art director, Nguyen Dat, said.

Dat invited pop singers to perform in Giau's show.

"I want to renew the theatre by combining traditional and modern performance styles," he said.

Giau will perform excerpts from comedies like Cuoi Xuyen Viet (Vietnamese Comedies) and Tam va Cam (The Sisters' Tam Cam) with support from pop singers who will sing cai luong in contemporary style.

"It will be hard for me to perform well beside younger pop singers in a two-hour live show. I have been practising my vocal and dance skills for several hours a day," admitted Giau, adding that her commitment to innovate was to attract audiences and sustain cai luong, a southern theatrical art that originated in the Mekong River Delta early last century.

Born in a poor family in Sai Gon (now HCM City), Giau began her career at a very early age.

During her stage debut for the Ngoc Kieu Troupe in 1957, she bowled over the audience with her voice, looks and performance.

She later joined Kim Chuong Theatre, one of the region's leading cai luong troupes, becoming one of its brightest stars.

In 1960 she worked for Thanh Minh-Thanh Nga, which was co-owned by her husband, cai luong artist Nam Nghia.

She now works as a lecturer at the Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre.

Her strong and melodic voice and remarkable stage presence have helped Giau leave an indelible mark on the art, and she has used her popularity to promote the art further.

She has performed in more than 150 plays and dozens of video films and movies.

The show, which begins at 8pm on July 17, is expected to attract an audience of 500. Cong Nhan Theatre is on 30 Tran Hung Dao Street, District 1. — VNS

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