Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — So if you are an expat living in Hà Nội and HCM City with your family Christmas is a big deal, and just around the corner.
So what better way to celebrate the festive season than taking your little girl to her first Nutcracker ballet, just like you are living in Europe, Russia or North America.
This year, the Việt Nam Opera and Ballet (VNOB) casts a new remake of the traditional show, which has become a seasoned event in both big cities of Việt Nam. A brand new take of the much-loved ballet has a new concept and outfit for the magical performance on stage of the Hà Nội Opera House.
New VNOB Director Trần Ly Ly who took the job just a few months ago, choreographers Nguyễn Hồng Phong, Lưu Thu Lan who starred as the Sugar Plum in her previous role as the theatre’s principal dancer, and orchestra conductor Đồng Quang Vinh all represent a new generation in performing arts of the country.
The opening scene features a children’s world full of games and playful activities happening in the auditorium. The curtain opened and a festive atmosphere filled the room.
You may disagree that Chrismas is not a traditional holiday in Việt Nam, but gradually, the commercial decorations in shopping malls in big cities make people feel like they are part of the celebration.
Final act: The ballet is not over until you see dancing girls in tutu. — VNS Photo
Yet the 2018 Nutcracker team opted to change what was supposed to be the Christmas tree on stage for a tree with conical hats all sizes and colours with Hội An lanterns were dropping from the ceiling.
They had made a mid-19th century story by German Author E.T.A. Hoffman relevant to Vietnamese audience. Though children everywhere love to see magic taking place on a special occasion, some real-life stage setting even make them believe in what they saw.
Costumes of the first act were also adapted from the world-famous Vietnamese áo dài with the romantic length tutus, which were so much fun to watch.
It was actually not new in the world, where classical ballet and opera get renewed in stage settings and costumes and a certain level of adaptation to the original libretto.
The corps de ballet of VNOB made the major dancing part, but the invited young students from Việt Nam Dance School infused young and vibrant colours to the stage.
The young girl Clara has been given a Vietnamese name Quỳnh Lan, starring ballerina Thu Hằng, Sugar Plum fairy staring ballerina Thu Huệ, the Prince – by Đàm Hàn Giang.
Accompanied by their parents, children made up half of the Opera House, laughing at the jolly acts during the first act and dropped their jaws in the second act to see fairies in blue tutu dance under falling snow.
One of the challenges of this ballet is to keep adult viewers attention and the team succeeded. VNOB Director Trần Ly Ly was trained in ballet, but she has been active as choreographer in many contemporary dance shows.
We as spectators have reason to expect more from the troika of Trần Ly Ly, choreographer Lưu Thu Lan and conductor Đồng Quang Vinh.
Only 1,200 spectators of a city more than seven million people got to see the show. This cries out for a repeat performance.
So my message to The Nutcracker, come back, we want more. — VNS