Images and objects featuring cải lương (reformed opera) and its artists will be on display at a new exhibit hall at Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre in HCM City, one of the region’s leading traditional art troupes. The hall is expected to open in September to celebrate the country’s National Day on September 2. — VNA/VNS Photo by Thanh Vũ
HCM CITY— A new exhibit hall featuring information and images about cải lương (reformed opera) will be opened in September by the HCM City-based Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre, one of the region’s leading traditional art troupes.
The hall will display photos, books, documents and videos featuring the history and development of cải lương, a traditional genre of southern theatre which began in the early 1920s in the Cửu Long (Mekong) River Delta region.
Images of Cải Lương Nam Bộ Troupe, which opened in 1950 and attracted artists in the revolutionary movement in South Việt Nam, will be highlighted.
The troupe joined the National Music and Theatre Fesival in Hà Nội in 1955 after the 1954 Geneva Agreement on Indochina was signed. It played a very important role in the theatre’s developments in the South. Its shows portrayed patriotism and Vietnamese culture and characters. Its talented artists, such as Meritorious Artist Lê Thiện and Ca Lê Hồng, still work to keep their art alive and show it to younger artists.
“Our hall aims to honour cải lương and its veteran artists who used their art to encourage southern people and soldiers during the country’s two wars of resistance and national construction,” Meritorious Artist Lê Thiện, director of Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre, said.
“Through the images and objects, we hope visitors, particularly young people, learn more about the country’s heroic history and the great contributions that southern artists made to the country and people,” he added.
Thiện and his colleagues worked with Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre to offer training tom young artists because they hope their students will “follow the older generations’ footsteps to preserve and develop cải lương,” Thiện said.
Young artists of Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre follow their older generations’ footsteps to preserve and develop cải lương. — Photo courtesy of the theatre
Thiện’s theatre,Trần Hữu Trang Cải Lương Theatre, was named after late playwright Trần Hữu Trang, one of the region’s foremost artists in cải lương.
Trang, a son of Mỹ Tho Province (now Tiền Giang Province), began his professional career in 1928 working for leading troupes owned by Trần Đắc, Năm Phỉ and Năm Châu, great veterans of cải lương.
After the August Revolution in 1945, Trang joined the revolutionary cause and worked in Sài Gòn-Chợ Lớn. He was a member of the National Front for the Liberation of the South. He died in 1966 in a battle. His body has never been found.
He created more than 30 plays which all feature Vietnamese patriotism and characteristics. Most have been staged many times by different generations at home and abroad. For his contributions, he was awarded the Hồ Chí Minh Prize by the Government in 1996.
“Trang’s career highlights will be displayed at our hall,” said Thiện.
The theatre’s exhibit hall will open on National Day, September 2, at 515 Trần Hưng Đạo Street, District 1. VNS