|SOUTHERN MUSIC - Bạc Liêu Province strives to become the cải lương (reformed opera) centre in Mekong Delta. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Sử|
BẠC LIÊU — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Bạc Liêu is carrying out a plan to turn the province into the cải lương (reformed opera) centre of the region.
Trần Thị Lan Phương, director of the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said, “cải lương plays a very important role in the life of people in Bạc Liêu. So the community needs to join with authorities and artists to develop the art into the province’s specific cultural trait.”
The plan will focus on educating the community, especially young people, about cải lương in order to raise their awareness of preserving the art.
Talk shows and cải lương performance will be held regularly in local community sites and schools to provide basic knowledge about the art to people and stimulate their interest in the art.
The province will invite cải lương gurus to offer training for young artists and clubs to improve their skills, and host exchange programmes for artists in Bạc Liêu and neighbouring provinces to share their skills and experiences.
In addition, the province will increase investment in the Cao Văn Lầu Theatre, a leading cải lương troupe in the region.
Phương said, “the first thing to do now is improve singing and acting skills for artists and performers of the troupe to prepare for three major national contests this year”.
The contests include the National Cải Lương Festival, the National Dance and Music Festival, and the Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Talented Performers.
The director added the province was mobilising financial support from organisations and businesses to upgrade and install modern equipment for the theatre.
The theatre also plans to premiere a new cải lương play every quarter, and work with local TV stations and tourism sites to bring the plays to serve audiences and visitors.
“The province is striving to build Bạc Liêu to become a cải lương centre of the region," Phương said. "The Cao Văn Lầu Theatre aims to become one of the best venues for enjoying cải lương in the country with the Musician Cao Văn Lầu Memorial Site the most visited attraction in the province, attracting more and more tourists.”
|MUSIC LEGEND - The Musician Cao Văn Lầu Memorial Site is the most visited attraction in Bạc Liêu. VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Kiệt|
The memorial site, where guru of cải lương Cao Văn Lầu was buried in 1976, was recognised as a national historical cultural site in 2014.
Bạc Liêu is also a birthplace of Lầu’s most famous vọng cổ song Dạ Cổ Hoài Lang (Night Drumbeats for the Absent Husband), which was composed in 1919. It tells of the love, anguish and pride of a young woman who awaits her husband’s return from the battlefield as she listens to the sounds of war drums.
Dạ Cổ Hoài Lang was known as the first vọng cổ song, which quickly became popular across Việt Nam.
Vọng cổ songs are sung by southern farmers after working in the fields. The songs, which feature the feelings, dreams and hopes of people, are often used in cải lương.
Dạ Cổ Hoài Lang has been performed by generations of singers. Its title is also used for a cải lương play, drama and movie, in which the song is used to highlight nostalgia.
The plays and the film have impressed local and foreign audiences, especially Vietnamese living in other countries. — VNS