Viet Nam News
Xuân Hinh is the first chèo (traditional opera) actor to give a retrospective performance highlighting his life’s work. His show October 5 show at the National Convention Centre will mark the 40th year of his career.
Hinh was born in 1960 in the northern province of Bắc Ninh, the cradle of quan họ (love duet) singing. His passion for this style of folk art developed at an early age and he joined the provincial art troupe as a singer in 1977.
He was the first student to study with Cinema and Theatre College’s Chèo Faculty. He has contributed his talent to preserving the traditional hề chèo (chèo clown) and has played many roles in traditional pieces, including Người Ngựa-Ngựa Người and Lý Toét Xử Kiện.
Xuân Hinh spoke about his retrospective show.
You have performed for 40 years in this profession. Do you feel it is too late for you to perform your first retrospective show?
Frankly, I do not dare think about a show marking my 40-year career. I am holding the live show because of the unwavering support of my friends who are also my fans. They have poured money into my retrospective show.
Like any other artiste, I have dreamed about this "once in a lifetime" show. I am one of the lucky few who have received tremendous support from spectators who are sincere and who respect my contribution to traditional treasures, such as chèo, quan họ and xẩm (blind busker’s singing).
I think these art genres are the soul of Việt Nam.
Can you share any details about your upcoming show?
I have so much to cherish. Traditional art genres are in a difficult situation and are fading away. The young audience is not really keen about folk music. I want to reaffirm the value of folk arts, which will be lost if the Vietnamese people do not show interest in.
The show is an attempt by my colleagues and me to continue to encourage the love of traditional arts among today’s youth. We will do our best to make the live show creative and exciting. The show will be a combination of tradition and modernity, aimed at breathing new life into traditional folk arts.
I do not dare talk about how significant this is, but we want each performance to create a completely new space and portray a new sense of the traditional arts. It is the first time a retrospective show is being staged by three directors: Phạm Hoàng Nam, Đỗ Thanh Hải and Lê Hùng.
I have invited some established artists to join my show. I want the show to be an opportunity for different generations of artistes to perform together.
How has your homeland influenced you?
I was never satisfied with what I had. I always want to take up a challenge. I was lucky to be born in Bắc Ninh Province, the home of quan họ. Not only quan họ, but many other genres, such as xẩm and văn singing (a folk art of the north that combines trance singing and dancing), were embedded in me very early in life.
I liked to hear songs and I learned the simple melodies by heart easily when I was a child.
You will be the first chèo actor to perform a retrospective show. Are you concerned about ticket sales?
I never worry about ticket sales. Every show I have performed has always sold out. I was the first chèo artiste to perform comedy in Hà Nội.
I also produce CDs every year. I used my own money to produce the first CD on a Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday. The CD series have been successful and producers want to collaborate with me. My CDs are always welcomed by the audience.
I cannot remember how many times I have performed abroad. I have visited countries, such as Ukraine, some 8-9 times. I was invited to play the Ukraine by Vietnamese businessmen living there.
In the past, fans admired me from a distance. Now, after a show, excited fans grab my shirt and ask me for a photograph.
What is your dream?
I wish for good health with which to entertain my audiences. Life is really hard. There are too many things that make people worry and they forget to laugh. Laughter makes people feel better and more relaxed. Everyone loves a person who can make them laugh. I want to be loved forever. -- VNS