Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Vietnamese tuồng (classical opera) performance Ông Già Cõng Vợ Đi Xem Hội (Old Man Carries His Wife on His Back to Festival) will open a night of traditional art at Hồng Hà Theatre in downtown Hà Nội on September 18.
The 10-minute piece will be performed by Meritorious Artist Kiều Oanh from the Việt Nam Tuồng Theatre. The performance features an old man carrying his young wife to a spring festival. During the journey, he is teased and mocked by a mandarin’s son. The old man fights back and is able to protect his love.
In this piece artist Kiều Oanh performs two characters – the old man and the young wife. This is designed to make the performance more interesting and stimulate the audience’s imagination.
Ông Già Cõng Vợ Đi Xem Hội is a milestone in artist Oanh’s career. She has done the piece many times since she started tuồng. "The piece is a fun folk tale and it is usually performed to open a traditional art show," said Kiều Oanh.
"The most difficult part for me was to divide myself between the old man and his young wife. I had to make the under part of my body shaky like an old man, while the upper part I had the voice of the young wife," Kiều Oanh said.
The performance has toured many countries such as France, Germany, India and Russia.
The night will also highlight Hồ Nguyệt Cô Hóa Cáo – another typical tuồng performance. The piece tells the story of a magical lady who falls in love with a young general.
Apart from humanist values, it is hoped that audiences can appreciate the harmony of singing, dancing, music and acting in the performance. Two young artists, Đỗ Quyên and Trần Long, will play the roles in Hồ Nguyệt Cô Hóa Cáo.
During the night, audiences will enjoy two nhã nhạc (court music) pieces entitled Đại Nhạc (Major Music) and Tiểu Nhạc (Minor Music). Established in the 13th century, nhã nhạc had been increasingly developed and refined and has become professional since the Nguyễn dynasty (1802-1945).
Đại Nhạc was often performed at festivals, announcements of royal births, funerals and religious ceremonies whilst Tiểu Nhạc, with elegant and lighthearted music, was often performed at royal banquets, national ceremonies and during the Lunar New Year. Tiểu Nhạc is not as formal as Đại Nhạc.
Other Vietnamese traditional arts including xẩm (blind buskers singing); ca trù (ceremonial music) and hầu đồng (trance ritual) will be performed. The event is being co-organised by the Việt Nam Tuồng Theatre and the Hà Nội Academy of Theatre and Cinema to introduce traditional Vietnamese art to foreign diplomatic corps in Hà Nội. — VNS