Artists to recite Lưu Quang Vũ poems for the first time

August 14, 2023 - 08:14
Poems by poet-playwright Lưu Quang Vũ (1948-88) will be recited on the stage for the first time at Hà Nội Opera House on August 16.
From left to right, musician Nguyễn Vĩnh TIến, director Trần Lực and musician Trần Đức Minh will join the show to celebrate the 70th birthday of Lưu Quang Vũ. Photo courtesy of the organisation board

HÀ NỘI — Poems by poet-playwright Lưu Quang Vũ (1948-88) will be recited on the stage for the first time at Hà Nội Opera House on August 16.

The show entitled Gió Và Tình Yêu Thổi Trên Đất Nước Tôi (The Wind and The Love that Blow on My Homeland) is co-held by Vũ's family, the Nông Thôn Ngày Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper, and Dân Việt online newspaper to celebrate the 70th birthday and the 35th anniversary death of the poet.

"Vũ is popular for his romantic love poems," said journalist Lưu Quang Định, Vũ's younger brother and Nông Thôn Ngày Nay's editor-in-chief.

"He also wrote a series of works expressing his responsibility for the social problems and his empathy for vulnerable people.

"At this show, these works will be recited for the first time," said Định.

Vũ left a literary treasure of hundreds of works. Over the years, the art performances have been organised but they have shown a part of his treasure to audiences, according to Định.

The show includes four chapters titled popular verses and works by Vũ, including the theme The Wind and The Love that Blow on My Homeland, Hồn Dân Tộc Dạy Ta Làm Thi Sĩ (National Soul Teaches Me Poetry), Anh Yêu Em và Anh Tồn Tại (I Love You and I Survive), and Hồn Trương Ba Da Hàng Thịt (Trương Ba's Soul in Butcher's Body).

The show are co-produced by director Trần Lực, musician Trần Đức Minh and set designer Doãn Bằng, and with the participation of artists Lê Khanh, Lê Chức, Minh Trang, singer Mỹ Linh, and musician Nguyễn Vĩnh Tiến.

In the first chapter, the artists will recite poems and young singer Bùi Hà My will sing a song entitled Mắt Một Mí (Single Eyelid) which is set to lyrics by musician Tiến.

The second chapter will feature three important women who had an influence on Vũ's life and poetry career. They were actress Tố Uyên, painter Nguyễn Thị Hiền and poet Xuân Quỳnh - his last wife.

Playwright Lưu Quang Vũ and poet Xuân Quỳnh. Photo

In the third chapter, artists from Lucteam troupe will perform an extract from the play Hồn Trương Ba Da Hàng Thịt.

"Lucteam and I are honoured to perform on the night," said director Lực. "When I was young, I saw many plays by Vũ. I had a chance to see the play Hồn Trương Ba Da Hàng Thịt in Russia.

"It won a gold medal at Moscow International Drama Festival in 1990. It has social issues and social prediction. The play is considered a typical play by Vũ."

Gió và Tình Yêu Thổi Trên Đất Nước Tôi will close the night with a performance by A-list singer Mỹ Linh.

Vũ was born in 1948 in the northern province of Phú Thọ, although his father, playwright Lưu Quang Thuận, came from the central province of Quảng Nam.

He composed 53 short and long plays, hundreds of poems, short stories, and articles. He served as a soldier in the anti-American War from 1965-70, when his poems began to gain recognition.

But it was in the 1980s that he became a celebrated poet, writing about life in the post-war period and during the process of national renewal in the late 1980s.

His dramas, short stories and poems were characterised by their gritty realism and great humanity. His plays, most of which criticise the darker side of society, especially corruption and authoritarian behaviour. Many of them earned high literary acclaim.

He was among the most popular playwrights in the 1980s.

He was married to fellow poet Xuân Quỳnh, whose poem Sóng (Wave) became standard reading material in secondary schools. The couple died in a car crash in 1988 when travelling from Hải Phòng City back to their home in Hà Nội. Their 12-year-old son was also killed in the accident.

The country’s highest award, the Hồ Chí Minh Prize in art and literature, were posthumously given to Vũ in 2000 and Quỳnh in 2017. — VNS