|At the Golden Bell finale on Sunday in HCM City, Nguyễn Văn Khởi and Meritorious Quế Trân perform in Sóng Dậy Bạch Đằng Giang (Wave at Bạch Đằng River), a famous historical play about Vietnamese hero Ngô Quyền by Tô Thiên Kiều. — Photo courtesy of the organiser
HCM CITY — Nguyễn Văn Khởi of Kiên Giang Province has won the 2017 Chuông Vàng (Golden Bell) contest, an annual cải lương (reformed opera) competition launched by the HCM City Television (HTV).
At the finale on Sunday at the HTV Theatre, Khởi, 29, received long applause from the judges and audiences for his performance Sóng Dậy Bạch Đằng Giang (Waves at Bạch Đằng River), a famous historical play on Vietnamese hero Ngô Quyền by Tô Thiên Kiều.
With the support of Meritorious Artist Quế Trân, Chí Bảo and Thanh Nhường, his performance gained 98.1 points from the judges People’s Artist Bạch Tuyết, and Meritorious Artists Minh Vương and Thanh Tuấn.
Lê Kim Cương, also 29, of Bạc Liêu Province was the runner-up with 97 points, while her closest competitor, 28-year-old Phan Thị Hoàng Oanh of Long An Province, finished third with 94.33 points.
“I’ve learned many lessons in singing and performance skills from my coach, Meritorious Quế Trân, and judges,” Khởi said after wining the contest. “Thanks to them, I made great progress through the competition.”
With his voice and skills, Khởi attracted attention from the judges in the preliminary round.
Veteran artist Minh Vương said: “Khởi has a strong and beautiful voice, skills and good-looking appearance, which will help him to become a prominent cải lương performer.”
Before becoming involved in cải lương, Khởi worked at the People’s Court of Kiên Giang Province. He quit job three years ago to join the Kiên Giang Cải Lương Troupe.
“I wanted to live with my passion for cải lương, but I had not yet performed in front of an audience,” Khởi said.
This year, he decided to take part in the Golden Bell Competition to learn more about his art and improve his skills.
During the event, he worked with veteran artists such as Quế Trân, Kim Tử Long, Lê Tứ and Minh Trường.
“The competition was a chance for me and other contestants to develop our career professionally, and learn how to preserve and promote cải lương,” Khời added.
The Golden Bell Competition began in July, attracting 1,000 amateur and professional artists from HCM City and the Cửu Long (Mekong) River Delta provinces. — VNS