Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The second Vietnamese opera will debut on Thursday at the Hà Nội Opera House marking a milestone for Vietnamese opera art. The first one debuted some 40 years ago.
The opera titled Lá Đỏ (Red Leaf) will be performed by artists from leading theatres, such as the Việt Nam National Opera and Ballet (VNOB) and the Việt Nam National Symphony and Orchestra (VNSO).
The work was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and is a high quality art performance illustrating the spirit of national resistance against the French and the Americans.
The first Vietnamese opera was performed by VNOB in 1965. Titled Cô Sao (Miss Sao), the opera was written by Đỗ Nhuận. Since then, no opera works have been staged even though some musicians have written operas, such as Nhật Lai, Lưu Hữu Phước and Nguyễn Đình Tấn.
“Vietnamese artists have so far been re-staging only foreign operas,” musician Đỗ Hồng Quân said. “Opera is art of the highest standard and combines music, singing, drama and poetry. Vietnamese artists are now trying to reach international opera standards.”
Musician Quân was ordered to compose the music for Lá Đỏ based on the poetry of writer Nguyễn Thị Hồng Ngát.
“I have worked with writer Ngát extensively. As a poet and experienced playwright, she was excited to write the script. I am feeling emotional about the script,” Quân said.
Ngát was inspired by Nguyễn Đình Thi’s famous poem Lá Đỏ and the historic story of the volunteers who sacrificed their lives in the national resistance movement against the Americans in Bố Trạch District in the central province of Quảng Bình.
The script has a sense of vitality thanks to Ngát’s own experiences at the Trường Sơn Range – a supply route from the north to the south during the war.
“The poem Lá Đỏ was very popular among the Vietnamese people during the war. The image of the red leaf inspires me a lot,” poet Ngát said. “Red leaf is also a character appearing in the opera. It personifies romance and grandeur.”
The opera comprises two acts and six scenes. VNSO’s principal conductor Tetsuji Honna, stage director People’s Artist Anh Tú, choreographer People’s Artist Phạm Anh Phương and set designer Nguyễn Đạt Tăng all have roles in bringing the opera to life.
VNOB artists rehearsed for three months ahead of the opera’s debut at Hà Nội Opera House on Thursday at 8pm.
The opera is expected to resonate with a Vietnamese audience as it is only the second made-in Việt Nam opera stage production in the country’s history. — VNS