|Ninh Thị Như Quỳnh (centre kneeling) performs 'Medea'.|
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese audiences were treated to the ancient Greek work Medea, performed by cải lương (reformed opera) artists for the first time in Hà Nội.
Medea is one of the most popular works by playwright Euripides from the 5th century BCE. Based on a mythological background, the play focuses on the final part of Medea and Jason’s marriage, which is catastrophic for the couple alone and their families.
The play is among ancient Greek works to be translated into Vietnamese by Hoàng Hữu Đản.
Medea script for cải lương was penned by veteran artist Triệu Trung Kiên, director of Việt Nam Cải Lương Theatre. Originated in the southern area in the early 20th century, cải lương is a form of modern folk opera in Việt Nam.
Medea was directed by known artist Lê Chức making the new version meaningful and keeping the human value of the original work.
As well as being an ancient classic, one significant point about Euripides’ Medea is that this psychological tragedy refers to the mythological factors that foreshadow and prepare for the bloody final approaching.
After the adventures of the Golden Fleece, the Greek hero Jason took his wife Medea into exile at Corinth. However, he then left her, seeking to advance his political ambitions by marrying Glauce, the daughter of King Creon of Corinth.
Medea hints darkly that Jason may live to regret his decision and secretly plans to kill both Glauce and Creon. And she murders her children partly because she cannot bear the thought of seeing them hurt by the enemy.
"I respect the originality of the work," said Chức. "And it is the right way to stage Medea, which is one of the 100 greatest plays of all time."
Veteran director Chức graduated from the Kyiv National University of Theatre of Cinema and Television in 1987. He has directed some 50 theatre productions during his career.
Medea marks his return to theatre direction after he was an expert and a manager at different culture units such as Performing Art Department and Việt Nam Theatre Artists' Association.
|Medea has a simple set design with white poles and colourful silks. Photos coutersy of Việt Nam Cải Lương Theatre|
The director chose talented artist Ninh Thị Như Quỳnh to play Medea.
Quỳnh makes her name with several leading roles at the theatre. She won one of the ten best artists at the National Contest for Cải Lương and Folk Singing in 2022 and a gold medal at the National Contest for Cải Lương in 2017.
"It is lacking good script for not only cải lương but other art genres," Kiên said.
"Cải lương is always renovated and ready to get new factors. The theatre produces Medea aiming to diversify its repertoire and give to the artists a chance to perform the world classical work."
The theatre plans to perform Medea at colleges and universities nationwide. — VNS