|LEARNING TO SING: Adults and children can take part in three-month training courses in cải lương (reformed opera) by veteran artists of the Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre in HCM City. Photo courtesy of the theatre.|
By Thu Anh
HCM CITY — Many adults and children in HCM City are joining in short-term courses that teach cải lương (reformed opera) launched by theatres, cultural houses and veteran artists.
They are trained in music, dance, singing and performance skills by professional performers, directors, and musicians of cải lương - a unique form of the South’s traditional theatre.
Children take part in selection rounds before taking courses, and later are trained at different levels of performance.
Since 2017, the Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre has offered three-month courses for students aged from 9 to 16 years old.
The students study with veteran artists and young talents of the theatre, including Meritorious Artists Lê Tứ, Võ Minh Luân and Diễm Kiều.
During training, they have opportunities to meet, talk and learn experiences from cải lương stars such as Kim Tử Long and Thoại Mỹ.
“We believe children cannot grow without knowledge of and love for traditional theatre, music and dance, which are an intrinsic part of the human spirit,” said the theatre’s director Phan Quốc Kiệt.
The HCM City Labour Cultural House offers performance courses every Wednesday and Sunday. The courses provide basic training in singing vọng cổ (nostalgia tunes), folk songs used in cải lương.
Vietnamese music and dance are also included.
The fee is VNĐ600,000 (US$25) for seven weeks.
The courses are free for poor students in the rural districts of Củ Chi, Nhà Bè and Hóc Môn.
“Our training courses will lure children away from online games and films on their Ipads and smartphones,” said cải lương actress and director Kim Loan of HCM City Labour Cultural House, who has more than 20 years of experience in the industry.
She said that many young people, from different backgrounds and ages, love and want to learn to sing cải lương.
“We have worked to find suitable ways to pitch special courses aimed at ordinary people offering both entertainment and education,” she said.
Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai, a mother of a teen girl, sent her child to a training course in cải lương launched by Labour Cultural House which opened on August 22.
“Many parents are not wealthy, but they still save money to support their kids to learn theatre, music and dance. They believe that the arts can help improve a kid's mind,” said Mai.
|TRADITIONAL ART - People are trained in cải lương (reformed opera), Vietnamese music and dance by People’s Artist and veteran actor Thanh Tuấn of HCM City. Photo courtesy of the artist.|
People’s Artist and veteran cải lương actor Thanh Tuấn offers three and six-month training courses for students of art schools who love traditional theatre.
His courses’ participants study basic knowledge of cải lương and traditional Vietnamese theatre before being trained at different performance levels.
They study with professional artists including Tuấn, traditional musicians and composers such as Hoàng Hiệu and Văn Giàu, as well as scriptwriter Văn Ngọc.
“My training would also help young participants learn more about the country’s culture and lifestyle through cải lương,” said Tuấn, who has 50 years in the art.
Tuấn’s courses have 60 students and are held every Saturday and Sunday. The fees are VNĐ1 million (US$45) and VNĐ2 million ($90) for three and six months courses, respectively.
Tuấn has performed in several hundred plays and TV shows and recorded albums featuring both traditional and modern styles of cải lương.
He has worked with Cần Thơ Television, HCM City Television (HTV) and several film studios to produce TV shows, videos and albums featuring quality plays on social issues. — VNS