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Hue Festival opens with a bang

Update: April, 14/2014 - 08:45
Vietnamese artists stage the Viet Nam – My Country performance at the opening ceremony of the biennial Hue Festival at the former royal city's Noon Gate Square. Sixty-five international art troupes and 14 local troupes will perform during the nine-day event. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Duc.

by Phuoc Buu

THUA THIEN - HUE (VNS)— A grand ceremony on Saturday night set the eighth Hue Festival on its way, soaking the city in festive cheer and applause.

However, there were people who felt the quality of some of the event failed to match expectations, hoping for a much better show in the coming days.

The opening ceremony won plaudits for its symbolic stage and background that highlighted the rich architectural heritage of the former capital city.

The purple-coloured theme of the stage, reflecting the city's colour, was also appreciated.

The ceremony celebrated the solidarity between nations as the names of art troupes from different countries performing at the festival showed up on plates used to decorate the background.

The performances of local and foreign troupes gave the event an international aura that the audience enjoyed.

The entire city seemed to be in a festive mood with several exhibitions and other events opening up during the day, including a photo-op on the iconic Truong Tien Bridge for all visitors.

An exhibition at the Hue Culture Museum told stories of Hue at different periods in time, including the reign of the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945), colonial rule, war time and the present.

Vibrant display: Visitors enjoy the colours of the Hue Festival kite exhibition at night time.— VNS Photo Phuoc Buu

A kite exhibition charmed visitors with their variety, with those from Hue style drawing admiration for their complexity and colourful appearance.

Thousands flocked to the Thanh Thuy Chanh Village, known for its tile-roofed Japanese style bridges, to take part in the "Countryside Market Day" festival that also included a boat race in a local canal.

After sunset, the crowd moved to the Thai Hoa Palace, where the kings used to hold court everyday. The palace was the setting for an "Oriental Night" that took visitors to a bygone era.

Art troupes from Japan, America, Australia, Belgium, Thailand, Norway, China, and South Korea entertained visitors with music, dance and other performances.

A letdown

While many welcomed the opportunity provided by the Hue Festival to enjoy different cultures, there were some who felt careful thought had not been given to improve the event's overall quality.

"It is a complicated task to interpret thoroughly the theme of the Hue Festival as it gives so many levels of culture," said Jay Hartwell, a Fulbright scholar who teaches journalism at the Hue University of Sciences.

Hartwell said he was also concerned about the effectiveness of the investment that has gone into staging the shows.

Culture researcher Nguyen Huu Thong said he was disappointed with the quality of shows at the opening ceremony, saying they were mundane, offered nothing new, and several performances looked ill-prepared.

Media personnel present at the event expressed dissatisfaction with the "vague and insufficient" information provided by the organisers about investment, programmes and performing artists.

Other experts said that the participation of 65 troupes from 38 countries could prove unwieldy for festival organisers.

However, the general mood was upbeat with people expecting more interesting programmes and performances during the remaining days of the nine-day festival. — VNS

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