Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — From this June, Hanoians can enjoy chèo plays (traditional Vietnamese opera) every Saturday night at Đại Nam theatre.
The initiative by Hà Nội Chèo Theatre is called Hà Nội Đêm Thứ Bảy (Hà Nội’s Saturday Night), and aims to attract audiences - both locals and tourists - and interest to this traditional artform.
The weekly programme will feature chèo performances (both ancient and modern chèo) as well as comedy and chầu văn (ritual songs) performances.
“The leadership board and theatre artists have been preparing for Hà Nội’s Saturday Night programmes from early this year. We have been meticulous in choosing the best works for the audience. Artists are rehearsing and are eager to bring chèo in front of audiences,” said Thúy Mùi, director of Hà Nội Chèo Theatre. “It’s not just chèo, other forms of theatre are also struggling to draw audiences.”
“It is common for audiences to come in large groups, maybe a dozen, to watch chèo. For the first performance on June 3, tickets are sold out for three groups of audience. Our ticket prices are as low as possible to make it affordable for chèo lovers,” Mùi said, adding that Hà Nội Chèo Theatre is confident that it will draw people as it has nice facilities, is well-located in the centre of the city, and has three performing troupes and a diverse array of performances.
The list of upcoming repertoires for the first three months is ready. Famous works that helped build the reputation of Hà Nội’s chèo in the past will be staged, including Quan Âm Thị Kính (Goddess of Mercy), Ngọc Hân Công Chúa (Princess Ngọc Hân) and Nàng Sita (Sita).
Participating artists include big names such as Thúy Mùi, Quốc Anh and Đức Thuận.
Every month, there will also be a performance featuring 12 acts of trance to introduce the practice of Mother Goddess worship, which was recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity last year.
Chèo, which originated in the 12th century in the northern delta region, used to be a popular form of theatre in Việt Nam, and has its roots in traditional village festivals. The plays typically consist of folk songs with pantomime, instrumental music and dance, combined with instructive or interpretative sketches based on stories from legends, poetry, history, or even daily life. — VNS