The play telling legendary birth of King Lý Công Uẩn will hit the stage in Hà Nội. — Photo courtesy of Lệ Ngọc Theatre
HÀ NỘI — A play about the legendary birth of King Lý Công Uẩn (974-1028) who founded the Lý Dynasty and established the country’s capital in Thăng Long (modern-day Hà Nội) will hit the Hà Nội Opera House on September 21-23.
Huyền Thoại Gò Rồng Ấp (Legend of the Dragon’s Birthplace) aims to commemorate the 1,010th anniversary of Hà Nội and raise people’s awareness of national history and the Lý Dynasty.
Previews of the play on September 7-10 also at the Hà Nội Opera House drew a total of 2,000 spectators.
PhD Nguyễn Thế Kỷ wrote the script based on the legend of King Lý Công Uẩn, then artists of the Lệ Ngọc Theatre adapted it for the stage to honour the founding emperor of the Lý Dynasty.
In the legend, the mother of the king is Phạm Thị Ngà from Cổ Pháp Village, the northern province of Bắc Ninh. When pregnant, she was closely monitored by the rich family of Cù Hồng Kỳ. She gave her life to birth the child, who was brought up by the monk Vạn Hạnh and later grew up to become King Lý Công Uẩn who created Thăng Long.
The play ends up with the decision to move the capital from Hoa Lư (the northern province of Ninh Bình) to Thăng Long in 1010.
In addition to honouring the historical value of the masterpiece, the play also depicts maternal love, honesty and the moral values and human dignity that are necessary at any time.
The play depicts the civilisation of the Red River Delta a millennium ago with unique culture, legendary history and local festivals and rituals.
Director Triệu Trung Kiên said he thought carefully before making the play because of the historical factors of the story.
“King Lý Công Uẩn was an emperor in history but there are many miraculous legends surrounding him, I wonder how to narrate the story to the audiences but still bring a holy atmosphere to the work,” he said.
“Then my team and I decided to combine different traditional arts in the play, so the audience can feel the age-old cultural values through the dancing, singing and acting of the artists.”
Kiên used modern techniques like LED screens and lights to make the stage shimmer and appear fantastical.
The play stars People’s Artist Lệ Ngọc, who won hearts at the previews when her character mother Ngà sacrifices herself to give birth to her son.
Writer Nguyễn Văn Thọ, who watched a preview, said he highly appreciated the effort of Lệ Ngọc Theatre in adapting the play while the performing arts face many obstacles due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The play is invested carefully in terms of costumes, music and stage arrangements,” he said. “I noticed that the audience was drawn to the play from the start to the end.” — VNS