|The cover of the 225-page book, Nữ Nghệ Sĩ Tiên Phong Năm Sa Đéc và Nghệ Thuật Sân Khấu Nam Bộ (Pioneering Actress Năm Sa Đéc and the Traditional Theatre of the South), published by HCM City General Publishing House to celebrate 100 years of cải lương (reformed opera) this year. — Photo courtesy of the publisher
HCM CITY— A book on the 58-year-long career of late theatre actress Năm Sa Đéc, a guru of cải lương (reformed opera) and hát bội or tuồng (classical drama), has been released in HCM City.
Nữ Nghệ Sĩ Tiên Phong Năm Sa Đéc và Nghệ Thuật Sân Khấu Nam Bộ (Pioneering Actress Năm Sa Đéc and the Traditional Theatre of the South), written by Thiện Mộc Lan and published by HCM City General Publishing House, features the development of cải lương and hát bội, genres of traditional theatre in the southern and central regions between the 1930s and 1980s.
It highlights the love and devotion for traditional theatre of Năm Sa Đéc, one of the region’s pioneering performers.
It includes 225 pages and dozens of professional black-and-white and colour photographs of Năm Sa Đéc and her colleagues who played an important role in developing the southern traditional theatre.
The book will help readers, particularly youth, learn more about cải lương and hát bội, and their status in Vietnamese theatre.
Born in 1907 in a traditional family in Sa Đéc (now Đồng Tháp Province), Năm Sa Đéc (real name Nguyễn Kim Chung) began her career when she was a child.
She learned the art on her own and became a bright star after working for leading troupes such as Trần Đắt, Bàu Bồn, Huỳnh Kỳ and Song Phụng.
She performed leading roles in several famous plays, working with late People’s Artist Diệp Lang, People’s Artist Đinh Bằng Phi and composer Nguyễn Vĩnh Bảo, all gurus of cải lương and hát bội.
She offered a new performance style in hát bội that helped popularise the art during the 1930s to 1960s.
Her voice and dance skills left a strong impression on audiences.
In 1947, she lived in Sài Gòn and married to Vương Hồng Sến, the greatest, most beloved scholar of southern Vietnamese culture. She later became involved in theatrical drama and films.
In the early 1980s, she played in winning-prize films directed by talented artists Hồng Sến, Huy Thành, Hồ Quang Minh and Việt Linh.
She died in 1988.
The book, Nữ Nghệ Sĩ Tiên Phong Năm Sa Đéc và Nghệ Thuật Sân Khấu Nam Bộ, describes how the traditional theatre of the south is still alive after 100 years through the career of Năm Sa Đéc. — VNS