|On stage: Pho An My performs at her show in 2011. — Photo vietnamnet.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — The duo of pianist Pho An My and composer Dang Tue Nguyen will present a new stage production that combines the traditional art of tuong and chamber music.
The show, entiled Lua Thieng (Sacred Fire), is a unique creative collaboration of the two artists. The beauty and philosophical depth of tuong, or traditional opera, had inspired Nguyen to write the work for piano using the traditional theatrical art form's musical language and dramaturgical materials.
Sacred Fire will be produced with a team of popular artists that include composer Pho Duc Phuong, costume designer Minh Hanh, tuong drummer Nguyen Van Quy and orchestra drummer Tran Xuan Hoa.
It will be shown at Ha Noi Opera House on November 29. Interested parties may visit ticketbox.com for more information.
Tuong, also called hat bo or hat boi, dates back to the reign of King Tran Nhan Tong from 1279 to 1284 and blossomed during the reign of King Le Hien Tong from 1740 to 1766.
Sacred Fire focuses on orchestra and tuong drums to enhance the dialogue between an ancient art, tuong, and western musical instruments.
"Drums play an important role in tuong. The work is my personal expression in music," said Nguyen.
Sacred Fire was taken from Luong Tu Duc's work of the same name which is adapted from the traditional Ngon Lua Hong Son (Fire of the Red Mountain) created in the 17th century.
The plot reflects a turbulent historical period. Unlike other traditional works which recount struggles against foreign enemies, Fire of the Red Mountain deals with a domestic conflict between two political forces.
"The speed and intensity of its plot as well as the complexity and variety of its characters contribute to the status of Fire of the Red Mountain as a shining achievement of tuong," said veteran artist Le Tien Tho.
My will accompany the performance of four artists from the Viet Nam Tuong Theatre and will perform nearly continuously during the 60-minute show which consists of four parts.
Making her debut in 2005, My has repeatedly impressed domestic and international audiences. Specialising in contemporary music, My tends toward a style that is both expressive and sophisticated and employs a unique improvisation technique.
She began to work on the idea of a musical discourse between Vietnamese traditional melody and western modern instrumentation.
Since 2008, she has had performances that involved the use of Vietnamese traditional musical genres such as tuong, chau van (a kind of Vietnamese ancient chamber music genre), ho Hue (Hue folk singing) and hat Coi (Coi singing).
"Sacred Fire will bring a new and unique emotion to tuong and music lovers. But it will not be strange," said My, who spent a long time understanding the art form before taking on the show.
"In music, each one in the audience will find their individual feelings."
Through this work which they have prepared for since 2007, My and Nguyen aimed to create a musical conversation between East and West. The duo have collaborated in making various works for nearly 10 years since their first debut at the Hue Festival in 2006.
Nguyen began his professional career with Khuc Tuy Hung (Impromptu), which was written for the violoncello and piano and chosen as one of 10 works to be performed at the Young Composers' Festival for Contemporary Music in South Korea.
Like My, he has been working on creating a new musical language based on Vietnamese folk music since 2005. — VNS