Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — A traditional-theatre TV programme staged once a month produced by the HCM City Television (HTV) has attracted a growing number of young viewers.
The programme, called Vầng Trăng Cổ Nhạc (Moon of Traditional Music), offers 200 live shows featuring cải lương (reformed theatre) and vọng cổ (traditional tunes), two popular genres of traditional theatre in the south.
The latest show was staged at HTV’s Theatre Hall in HCM City last weekend.
More than 1,000 people attended the theatre to see veteran artists such as Trọng Hữu and Cẩm Tiên, who have taught many young cải lương stars, mostly from neighbouring provinces.
In September, the show was staged outdoors in Cần Giuộc District in Long An Province. It attracted more than 9,000 people and 26,000 TV viewers.
“Vầng Trăng Cổ Nhạc is produced using quality and talented performers. Its live shows offer traditional songs and plays in new styles mainly for young people," said Ba Tuấn, a resident of Cần Giuộc, a fan of the programme.
TV producer Hiền Phương, deputy head of HTV, one of the programme’s makers, said: "We hope to keep Việt Nam’s traditional theatre alive and expand the art to young generations, who can learn many valuable things about the country, history, culture and traditional lifestyles through our shows.”
The first show of Vầng Trăng Cổ Nhạc, released in 2000, left a strong impression on viewers, particularly rural residents who rarely see live shows.
It featured songs and extracts from historical plays in praise of the character of southern women.
The show’s producers, late People’s Artist Phạm Khắc and late scriptwriter Huỳnh Minh Nhị, knew they would face challenges along the way, but they believed in the future.
In coming shows, veteran and young artists will present cải lương and vọng cổ in different styles, using sound and light effects.
Young talents such as Võ Thành Phê and Thanh Tâm, winners of top prizes at national cải lương contests and festivals, are introducing their art through Vầng Trăng Cổ Nhạc.
These artists turned down attractive invitations from other producers to join the programme.
"Our country’s traditional theatre and cải lương in particular are unique. We should find a way to expand our art forms," said Phê, winner of the Vọng Cổ Golden Bell Award in 2008, a contest held every two years by HCM City Television.
The award was created to support young talent in cải lương.
"My roots are in traditional theatre. I’ve often staged shows at Vầng Trăng Cổ Nhạc because the programme brings cải lương to Vietnamese at home and abroad,” he said. — VNS