People’s Artist Thanh Ngân has been nominated for the Best Theatre Actress at the Mai Vàng (Golden Apricot) Awards 2019, organised by the HCM City-based Người Lao Động (Labourer) newspaper. (Photo from the artist's facebook)
By Thu Anh
HCM CITY— Two artists from HCM City’s cải lương (reformed opera) theatres are competing for 2019’s Best Theatre Actress at the Mai Vàng (Golden Apricot) Awards, an annual event launched by Người Lao Động (Labourer) newspaper.
Veteran performers Thoại Mỹ and Thanh Ngân work for the city's Trần Hữu Trang Theatre, one of the region's leading cải lương troupes.
They have captured the hearts of audiences and experts in their roles in a number of blockbuster plays featuring their singing and dancing skills.
People’s Artist Ngân left a very strong impression in her role in Giấc Mộng Đêm Xuân (Dream in the Spring), a production about a cải lương actress working for a small troupe in the Cửu Long (Mekong) River Delta region.
Through her role, Ngân highlights the importance of cải lương, a 100-year performing art of the South, and its performers, particularly female artists who devote their life to singing.
“I always work very hard, improving both skills and creativity to advance the power of cải lương. My colleagues and I are trying to use our ability to revive the theatre," said the 47-year-old.
Ngân began her professional career when she was 18 and has worked hard to meet the challenge of luring audiences back to cải lương.
She studied cải lương with her parents, Hoài Châu and Kim Hoa, both famous artists from Tiền Giang Province, who shared their love and experience for the art with the younger generation.
She has worked for leading cải lương troupes from Tiền Giang, Hậu Giang and Cà Mau provinces, and has performed leading roles in several hundred plays, videos, DVDs and TV shows.
Ngân has won several top prizes at national traditional theatre festivals and competitions, including Trần Hữu Trang Awards in 1996 and HTV Awards in 2010 by HCM City Theatre’s Association and HCM Television.
“Ngân has worked to demonstrate her own personal style on stage, combining traditional and modern performance styles," said People’s Artist and theatre director Trần Ngọc Giàu.
Unlike Ngân, Thoại Mỹ improved her skills with her sister, Thoại Miêu, a cải lương star in the 1980s and 90s. The 13-year-old Mỹ was the youngest and most talented actor of Trần Hữu Trang Theatre in 1982.
She organised two live shows featuring the country’s historical plays in 2005 and 2007 in HCM City. Her events attracted more than 20,000 people.
Mỹ has travelled around the region to promote cải lương among young people.
“Like many of my friends, my love for cải lương came from lullabies sung by my grandmother and mother,” said Mỹ, one of four actresses to compete for Theatre Best Actress of the Year at Mai Vàng Awards this year.
Mỹ performed well in the drama play Diều Ơi (The Kite), a work staged by the 5B Small Theatre, one of the city’s leading private drama troupes.
In the play, Mỹ plays a rural woman who faces challenges to protect her children.
"Through Mai Vàng Awards, we want to encourage artists in different fields of theatre, movie, and television,” said Thanh Hiệp, a member of the awards’ organising board.
According to Hiệp, Ngân and Mỹ will compete with young actresses Khả Như and Diệu Nhi, both of whom work in drama, for the Best Theatre Actress at Mai Vàng Awards 2019.
“If Mai Vàng Awards go to a cải lương artist, we hope she will continue to work creatively to preserve the art," he said.
The annual awards began in 1995. It aims to recognise artists who make contributions to cultural and arts activities. This year the awards will be presented in early January. — VNS