Saturday, December 14 2019


Historic Vietnamese opera re-staged

Update: March, 26/2014 - 10:07
Showtime: A scene from a 1965 performance of Co Sao. — File Photo

SON LA (VNS)— The Viet Nam National Opera and Ballet (VNOB) will perform opera Co Sao (Miss Sao) at the Culture Centre in Son La tonight.

The opera has not been performed in the northern mountainous province since it was written by late composer Do Nhuan in 1963.

The work tells the story of an ethnic Thai girl named A Sao, living in the northeast mountainous area of Viet Nam. Sao was an orphan and suffered various injustices at the hands of the local ruling colonial powers until she met revolutionaries, who gradually persuaded her to follow their path against the French colonists.

Born in 1922, composer Nhuan joined a scout team at age 14, where he learned Western music. Later, he was among the first Vietnamese composers to study at the Tchaikovski Music Academy in Russia.

Written during the 1960s, the opera was one of the highlights of Nhuan's career. Co Sao measures up to international opera standards and incorporates the bel canto singing technique. The work also resonates with Vietnamese audiences because it illustrates the spirit of national resistance against the French colonists in Son La in the 1947-52 period.

The two-night show will take place at the 500-seat provincial Culture Centre. The show will be produced by the VNOB's principal conductor Tetsuji Honna, the choir's conductor Manh Chung, choreographer Nguyen Anh Phuong, theatre director Huyen Nga and music director Do Hong Quan. The VNOB's leading singers, Ha Pham Thang Long and Manh Dung, will star.

The opera was first staged in 1965 to mark the 10th anniversary of Ha Noi Liberation (October 10). A shorter version was performed in 1976 in Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Nam Dinh and Quang Ninh.

The 2012 version was revived by Nhuan's son, composer Quan, who found the hand-written draft from 1963 and recovered nearly 1,000 pages of original music.

That performance commemorated composer Nhuan's 90th birthday anniversary and the 55th anniversary of the Viet Nam's Composers Association, which he was general secretary of from its 1957 inception until 1983.

"Performing Co Sao in Son La Province was always my father's desire," said Quan. — VNS

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