Kicker: People’s Artist and cải lương star Lệ Thủy (right). Her career is featured in the web series Hồi Ký Một Kiếp Cầm Ca- Sinh Ra Để Hát (Memoirs of a Performer - Born to be on Stage), which has attracted more than 2.7 million views on YouTube. — Photo courtesy of the producer
HCM CITY — The fourth part of the web series featuring People’s Artist and theatre actress Lệ Thủy, a star of cải lương (reformed opera), has attracted more than 65,000 views on YouTube just one week after its release.
The film Hồi Ký Một Kiếp Cầm Ca - Sinh Ra Để Hát (Memoirs of a Performer - Born to be on Stage), written and directed by Đình Trí, features the career of Thủy, one of the region’s leading performers in cải lương.
It was filmed to celebrate the artist’s 40-year career. The film's first part has attracted more than 1.4 million views since it was released in November.
The film’s fourth part, called Huy Chương vàng Giải Thanh Tâm Năm 16 Tuổi (Lệ Thủy won Thanh Tâm Golden Award for Best Cải Lương Actress when she was 16 years old), reviews the actress’s first prize in then Sài Gòn (now HCM City) and her talent in the 1960s.
“My film, Hồi Ký Một Kiếp Cầm Ca - Sinh Ra Để Hát, includes 32 episodes and highlights Lệ Thủy, my mother, and her devotion to cải lương,” said the film’s director Dương Đình Trí, who is also a cải lương actor.
“The work also features the actress’s important role in developing the southern traditional theatre between the 1970s and 90s.”
“Each 60-minute part of the film helps viewers, particularly young ones, learn more about cải lương and the art’s developments in Vietnamese theatre,” said Trí, who watched and learned about cải lương from more than 200 CDs and DVDs featuring Thủy.
The film, Hồi Ký Một Kiếp Cầm Ca - Sinh Ra Để Hát, has attracted more than 2.7 million viewers.
Born in 1948 in a farmer family in Vĩnh Long Province, Thủy (real name Trần Thị Lệ Thủy) began her career when she was a child.
She learned the art from actors Năm Truyền and Tám Đen before working as a prompter at the Trâm Vàng Troupe in Đồng Nai Province.
In 1963, she became a bright star after playing a leading role in Bẽ Bàng Duyên Mới (Love Story) staged by the Kim Chung Theatre in then Sài Gòn.
She performed leading roles in hundreds of plays, working with veteran artists Minh Phụng, Minh Vương and Diệp Lang, all gurus of cải lương.
Her voice and dance skills left a strong impression on audiences.
After 1975, she worked for the HCM City Music and Dance Theatre.
In 1984, she and her colleagues, Bạch Tuyết and Ngọc Giàu, were invited to perform cải lương in France. Their performance impressed many overseas Vietnamese and foreigners.
Thủy has performed in more than 300 plays, videos and films, including famous historical works Tô Ánh Nguyệt (Ms Tô Ánh Nguyệt) and Câu Thơ Yên Ngựa (Poetry and Saddle).
She won several top prizes at national traditional theatre competitions and festivals, including 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 1964.
She was honoured with the title "People’s Artist" by the government in 2012.
“I hope young people will love the art after watching my web series, Hồi Ký Một Kiếp Cầm Ca - Sinh Ra Để Hát,” said the 72-year-old Thủy. — VNS