Viet Nam News
HCM CITY— A documentary film on the late theatre actress Thanh Nga, a guru of cải lương (reformed opera), has been released on YouTube to pay tribute to the artist 40 years after her death.
The film 40 Năm Tưởng Nhớ Cố Nghệ Sĩ Tài Danh, NSUT-Nữ Hoàng Sân Khấu - Ảnh Hậu Châu Á Thanh Nga (40 years in memory of Meritorious Artist and Queen of Theatre Thanh Nga), written and directed by Lê Quang Thanh Tâm, features the career of Thanh Nga, one of the region’s pioneering performers between the 1950s and 70s.
The work highlights her devotion for cải lương and her important role in developing the southern traditional theatre.
The film helps viewers, particularly youth, learn more about cải lương and the art’s developments in Vietnamese theatre.
Born in 1942 in a traditional family in Tây Ninh Province, Nga (real name Juliette Nguyễn Thị Nga) began her career when she was a child.
She learned the art from her parents, Năm Nghĩa and Nguyễn Thị Thơ, owners of Thanh Minh-Thanh Nga Troupe, one of the region’s leading cải lương troupes.
She became a bright star after playing a leading role in Người Vợ Không Bao Giờ Cưới (Unmarried Wife ) staged by Thanh Minh-Thanh Nga.
For her performance in the play, she won the Golden Medal for Best Theatre Actress at the Thanh Tâm Awards (now Trần Hữu Trang Awards presented by the HCM City Theatre Association) in 1958.
She performed leading roles in several famous plays, working with People’s Artist Phùng Há, Thành Được and Hữu Phước, all gurus of cải lương.
Her voice and dance skills left a strong impression on audiences.
In 1971, she became involved in films. She played in prize-winning films directed by talented artists such as Lê Dân and Lê Hoàng Hoa.
She received the Best Film Actress at the Asian Film Festival in 1973 in Taiwan.
Nga performed in more than 50 plays, including famous historical works Thái Hậu Dương Vân Nga (Queen Mother Dương Vân Nga) and Tiếng Trống Mê Linh (The Sounds of Mê Linh Drum).
She was assassinated in 1978 after her show in HCM City.
She was posthumously honoured as a Meritorious Artist by the Government in 1984.
A street in District 6 was named after her.
“Thanh Nga was a star when I was at school. She was my idol. Her art inspired me to devote my life to cải lương,” said People’s Artist Bạch Tuyết, who has spent more than 60 years on the stage.
The film, 40 Năm Tưởng Nhớ Cố Nghệ Sĩ Tài Danh Thanh Nga, describes the 100-year period of traditional theatre in the south through the career of Thanh Nga. —VNS