Cải lương guru holds show to celebrate 60-year career

February 24, 2024 - 08:47
People’s Artist Minh Vương, a guru of cải lương (reformed opera), is working to organise a live show in HCM City celebrating his 60-year career. 


LIVING LEGEND - People’s Artist Minh Vương, a guru of cải lương (reformed opera), will perform in a live show in HCM City celebrating his 60-year career. Photo courtesy of the producer

HCM CITY — People’s Artist Minh Vương, a guru of cải lương (reformed opera), is working to organise a live show in HCM City celebrating his 60-year career. 

The event, Nghệ Sĩ Nhân Dân Minh Vương- Khôi Nguyên Vọng Cổ (Cải Lương Artist Minh  Vương), will feature excerpts from cải lương plays that made Vương famous for more than two decades.

Highlighted works will be Tô Ánh Nguyệt (Ms. Tô Ánh Nguyệt) and Đời Cô Lựu (Life of Ms Lựu) - both plays portray Southern women living in a feudal society. 

Vương will perform with his female peers, People’s Artist Bạch Tuyết and Lệ Thuỷ, who have played roles in the 100-year-old development of cải lương

The highlight of the concert will include famous vọng cổ (nostalgia tunes) songs, which are often used in cải lương.  

Producer Gia Bảo invited 30 theatre artists, including young talents, to perform in the show. The actors are working to perfect their performance.

Vương said during an interview with local media at his show’s launching event in HCM City on February 19: “I’m very interested in working with young actors. I believe they help preserve traditional music and theatre.” 


CELEBRATING CẢI LƯƠNG - People’s Artist Minh Vương and his peers, People’s Artist Bạch Tuyết (second from left) and Lệ Thuỷ, have worked to preserve cải lương. Photo courtesy of the HCM City Theatre Artists' Association

Born in 1949 in Cần Giuộc District in Long An, Vương began his professional career when he was 14 after winning first prize at a cải lương singing competition on Sài Gòn Radio for young artists.

Vương later worked for Kim Chung Theatre in Sài Gòn (now HCM City), one of the region’s leading cải lương troupes. 

In 1967, he played his first leading role, and after that, was hired to play mostly leading characters.

His voice and dance skills are considered a standard for cải lương.

In the 1990s, Vương worked with Cần Thơ Television, HCM City Television (HTV) and film studios to produce TV shows, videos and albums featuring quality plays on social issues.

Through his productions, Vương and his colleagues such as Lê Thủy, Mỹ Châu and Ngọc Giàu found ways to win the hearts of people living in remote areas who enjoy theatre via TV or radio.

He has performed in the lead role in several hundred plays, TV shows and albums in praise of Vietnamese culture and lifestyle in both traditional and modern styles of cải lương

He has also worked with art schools and traditional theatres to train students.

In 2019, Vương was awarded the title People’s Artist by the Prime Minister in recognition of his great contribution to cải lương

"Cải lương is my life. I have worked every single day to improve my art. Besides my love for cải lương, self-discipline has helped me develop my career," 74-year-old Vương said. 

Vương’s show will begin at 8pm at Bến Thành Theatre, 6D Mạc Đĩnh Chi Street, District 1, on March 16. — VNS