La Traviata is a story about a young man from a powerful family from Provence (Alfredo Germont) who falls in love with a rich prostitute (Violetta Valéry). The father (Giorgio Germont) interfered in this love affair to protect the family’s reputation leading to a misunderstanding, causing all the characters involved to make mistakes, and in the end Violetta died in Alfredo arms.
La Traviata opens and is the most representative of the musical tragedy series centered on complex, sensitive women and their love (other representatives include Wagner’s Tristan, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. …).
In VNOB’s Paradiso dell’opera, the audience will step into the dream of couple’s happiness through Aria Ah fors’e lui che l’anima with the wonderful Soprano voice of artists To Loan or Duo Parigi o cara talks about the reunion of Alfredo and Violetta through two voices of guest artists: Won Kim- Truong Linh.
Don’t wait any longer! Enjoy the Paradiso dell’opera by VNOB on June, 21st and 22nd at Hanoi Opera House.
Ticket price: 500.000, 800.000, 1.000.000VND
The 2 night’s performance of Opera Cavalleria Rusticana to celebrate the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic cooperation between Italia and Vietnam took place successfully with warm support and reception from guests and audiences. The event organizers including Vietnam National Opera and Ballet (VNOB), Saigon Symphony Orchestra (SPO) and Hanoi Opera House would like to thank everyone who came and enjoyed the show with us.
Throughout the show, we saw the passion, and happiness from everyone at every detail of the show. With us, this is the success of the organizers to carry out this academic art form to get closer to the Vietnamese audience. From the vocal to the music filled the auditorium with unique and hard-to-find emotions.
Thank you very much and see you all on the next performance.
Photos: Đặng Vũ Trung Kiên
A few pictures from the first night of Opera Cavalleria Rusticana at the Hanoi Opera House.
Photos: Đặng Vũ Trung Kiên
A successful Opera master piece comes from a blend of quality vocals, acting and music. Audiences will see and feel this on the nights of April 15 and 16, through the cooperation between Vietnam National Opera and Ballet (VNOB) and Saigon Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO). In the academic art world in Vietnam, VNOB is considered the leading bird in opera, ballet and orchestra. SPO also has set up a number of successful concerts. Both have created some shows which attracted audiences nationwide and become a bridge, bringing Vietnamese closer and closer to the art forms that are labeled “academic, academic, difficult feeling”.
Opera masterpiece Cavalleria Rusticana, under the auspices of the Italian Embassy to Vietnam, the creative and production team of SPO – VNOB is very excited to bring together a product that reproduces one of the works as timeless opera, full of symbolism of a new era in Opera history. Together with some soloists from Hong Kong, Italy, there are powerful and emotional vocals from VNOB’s chorus. This promises to be an impressive combination and will affirm Vietnam’s talent and potential on the path of Opera development in the country in particular and in Asia in general.
The transmission of emotions through melodies and musical notes will be performed by musicians from Hong Kong and Thailand, being invited by SPO. Through the organization of classical and chamber music events, we are confident that we will create an Italian music space and reproduce the emotions and atmosphere of 19th century Sicily naturally and live. The most dynamic under the guidance of Fan Ting, a conductor with 40 years of experience working and conducting many international orchestras.
Be at Hanoi Opera House on April 15 and 16 to enjoy and experience the first international standard Opera show in Vietnam and an exciting combination between the VNOB and SPO.
Limited Platinium: 3.000.000 VNĐ
VVIP: 2,200,000 VNĐ
VIP: 1,300,000 VNĐ
Gold: 1,000,000 VNĐ
Silver: 500,000 VNĐ
Hotline: 0977377456 (Huyền); 0902218185 (Linh)
Booking tickets: https://nhahatnhacvukichvietnam.com/en/ve-ban/
Consider “Séance on a Wet Afternoon,” the first venture into opera by Stephen Schwartz, the composer and lyricist of “Pippin,” “Godspell” and the long-running “Wicked.” “Séance” was presented this spring by the struggling New York City Opera. The promise here was that a leading musical-theater artist might bring fresh energy to opera. But Mr. Schwartz’s tepid, sappy score had little of the spark and originality of “Wicked.”
Another much-discussed production this season, presented by the Lincoln Center Theater, earnestly tried to split the difference between opera and musical theater: “A Minister’s Wife,” with a book by Austin Pendleton, music by Joshua Schmidt and lyrics by Jan Levy Tranen. It was adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play “Candida,” about an officious minister with Socialist convictions, his ebullient wife and a dreamy, dangerous young man who idolizes her. As performed by a chamber ensemble and a small, gifted cast, the musical score was alluring and nuanced, with intricate ensemble numbers and long-lined melodic writing cushioned by lush orchestral harmonies and rippling figurations. But “A Minister’s Wife” seemed a precious piece: either pretentious musical theater or tame quasi-opera; take your pick. And with Mr. Pendleton’s adaptation of Shaw’s brilliant dialogue, the musical numbers sometimes felt superfluous.
In some fields fusing different kinds of music is a potentially creative and liberating endeavor. But creators in musical theater and opera are better off working their native turfs. It’s fine to pull in other styles and influences as long you stay rooted in what you, and your art form, do best.
The reason attempts to combine opera with the musical have been problem prone, I think, is that these genres are too close for comfort. The differences, though slight, are crucial. So what are they, exactly? To begin with, in no way do I see the matter as a lowbrow-highbrow debate. Opera is not by definition the more elevated form. Few operas are as overwrought as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard.” And there is no bigger crowd pleaser than Leoncavallo’s impassioned “Pagliacci.”
Nor is the distinction dependent on musical complexity. Frank Loesser’s “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” currently enjoying a vibrant revival on Broadway starring a disarming Daniel Radcliffe, is a more musically sophisticated piece than Carlisle Floyd’s affecting opera “Susannah,” the story of a sensual young woman in rural Tennessee who is unfairly branded a temptress by her community. And you cannot argue that operas tell stories only through music, whereas musicals rely heavily on spoken dialogue. Lots of operas, and not just comic works, have spoken dialogue, including “Carmen” and “Fidelio.”
Here’s the difference: Both genres seek to combine words and music in dynamic, felicitous and, to invoke that all-purpose term, artistic ways. But in opera, music is the driving force; in musical theater, words come first.
This explains why for centuries opera-goers have revered works written in languages they do not speak. Though supertitles have revolutionized the art form, many buffs grew up without this innovation and loved opera anyway. As long as you basically know what is going on and what is more or less being said, you can be swept away by a great opera, not just by music, but by visceral drama.
In contrast, imagine if the exhilarating production of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” now on Broadway, starring the amazing triple threat Sutton Foster, were to play in Japan without any kind of titling technology. The wit of the musical is embedded in its lyrics like:
Good authors too who once knew better words
Now only use four-letter words,
(And this point leaves aside the whole issue that musicals like this one are also about dance.)
If you accept the distinction that words have the upper hand in musical theater but music does in opera, then lots of matters fall right into place: the nature of lyrics, singing styles, subject matter, orchestration, musical complexity. Theatergoing audiences may not care much whether a show is a musical or an opera. But the best achievements in each genre, and the occasional standout hybrid work (I’m thinking of Bernstein’s “Candide” and Adam Guettel’s “The Light in the Piazza”) have been from composers and writers who grounded themselves in a tradition, even while reaching across the divide.
To underscore this point, let me compare, of all things, Bernstein’s opera “A Quiet Place,” which had a revelatory production at the City Opera last fall, and the audacious hit musical “The Book of Mormon,” with book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone.
“Mormon” is a show that proudly hails from the words-first heritage of Broadway musicals. For all the outrageousness of the blasphemous story and the foul-mouthed satire, at its core, as Ben Brantley argued in his review in The New York Times, “Mormon” is an “old-fashioned, pleasure-giving musical.” The opening song, “Hello,” an ensemble piece in which the fresh-faced Mormon missionaries introduce themselves, both mocks and embraces a lineage of similar numbers. Think of “So Long, Farewell,” the treacly goodnight greeting of the Von Trapp children in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Sound of Music.” Or even Stephen Sondheim’s bracing title song of “Company,” with its insistent refrains of “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby baby” over a rhythmic riff that evokes a telephone busy signal.
“A Quiet Place” is a special case. Here was Bernstein, who in earlier life was Mr. Broadway (“Wonderful Town” and “West Side Story”), striving to write a stylistically eclectic yet full-fledged opera, an epic family drama about a prosperous, unhappily married suburban couple and what happens to them and their two troubled children over 30 years.
That in Christopher Alden’s inspired production “A Quiet Place” came across as Bernstein’s most ambitious, personal and moving work was a surprise. For more than 20 years the piece had been considered a hodgepodge that folded a jazzy one-act opera from 1951 (“Trouble in Tahiti”) into an elaborate three-act structure, composed and revised in the early 1980s. Bernstein draws upon myriad styles here: atonal angst, contemplative Coplandesque harmonies, kinetic musical theater dance music, a trio of jazz vocalists. The libretto by Stephen Wadsworth (and by Bernstein in the “Trouble in Tahiti” scenes) is of course crucially important. Yet when Bernstein evokes diverse styles, even jazz, he does so for the musical and emotional resonances of the sources. He is not just switching on his musical-theater voice. Though “A Quiet Place” has design flaws, it is a music-driven opera in the grand tradition.
You would have thought that Stephen Schwartz had a good opera in him. The main problem with “Séance on a Wet Afternoon,” a psychological drama about an unstable middle-aged medium and her mousy husband who kidnap a little girl as a publicity stunt, is that Mr. Schwartz did not stay true to his own voice. He was approached by Opera Santa Barbara to write the piece, and my guess is that some well-meaning colleague sat him down and explained that the problem with contemporary opera is that those grating scores do not sing; they lack soaring melody, the supposed hallmark of great opera.
“Séance” sings all right. And sings and sings and sings, cloying aria after cloying aria. Mr. Schwartz would have been wiser to give us something closer to “Wicked” but more subdued and menacing and structured as a continuous musical piece.
Now, I am not suggesting that staying true to a words-first tradition of musical theater means a composer cannot stretch musically. The genre can carry a lot of musical complexity, as long as words do most of the heavy lifting.
Tom Kitt, for example, is a standout among the new generation of Broadway composers, and I admired his pop-infused music for “Next to Normal.” But I felt he was being cautious, letting his music animate the drama without getting in the way. I got a stronger sense of his capacity for invention from the multistyled, haunting incidental music he wrote for two productions at Shakespeare in the Park: “The Winter’s Tale” last summer, and now “All’s Well That Ends Well,” currently in a terrific production directed by Daniel Sullivan.
Mr. Sondheim has long offered exhilarating proof that you can be true to the musical-theater tradition and musically sophisticated at the same time. He is completely at home in the words-driven world. Consequently he can draw upon his ingenious compositional imagination, knowing that he will by instinct taper his voice to the demands of his lyrics and the needs of the story. “Sweeney Todd” is often considered his most operatic work. I might pick “Passion,” which, inspired by an Italian film about an unlikely and eerie love story, evokes somewhat the lush lyricism of opera. The songs are woven into an almost continuous musical fabric. Mr. Sondheim has described this flowing score as having “arioso passages that sometimes take song form.”
There was a time when musical-theater composers, impressed by the mega-success of Mr. Lloyd Webber, strove for pumped-up operatic grandeur. This was the era of the schlock-opera. But the success of Jonathan Larson’s “Rent,” in the 1990s helped puncture the Lloyd Webber bubble and inspired a burst of pop-driven musical-theater scores.
Overall I am not so happy that pop-driven musicals have come to dominate Broadway. Many of those in Larson’s wake miss something about the achievement of “Rent.” Here was a work specifically inspired by Puccini’s “Bohème,” also a tale of young artists struggling with love affairs, poverty and disease. But Larson thought the best way to pay homage to “Bohème” was not to mimic opera but to write an up-to-date, pop-infused, sophisticated musical-theater score. Yes, Larson was attempting to bring rock and pop styles into the musical-theater heritage. But “Rent” is a words-driven musical in the honored tradition.
Attempts to draw from and blur the two traditions continue. This summer the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, N.Y., is presenting the premiere production of “A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck,” a one-act collaboration between the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner and the Tony Award-winning musical-theater composer Jeanine Tesori, part of a double-bill with “Later That Same Evening” by the composer John Musto and the librettist Mark Campbell.
Mr. Kushner and Ms. Tesori’s acclaimed work “Caroline, or Change” was definitely a musical. “Blizzard” is billed as an opera. What is the difference between the genres in the minds of the creators? This new piece will surely affect the debate.
Drawing from different genres and styles can, of course, produce dynamic results. In contemporary classical music, some of the most interesting young composers are those who unabashedly steal from the diverse musical styles that excite them — atonal modernism, punk, whatever — to fashion a quirky and personal voice. More power to them.
But opera and especially musical theater are art forms with specific needs and challenges. Composers with populist aspirations who merge traditions into some mushy middle ground are asking for trouble. Traditions, even those supposedly confining categories, have their value.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has praised the contributions made by intellectuals, scientists, writers and artists to national defence and development, and pledged favourable conditions for their development.
The PM made the remarks at a meeting in Hanoi on July 30 with 203 delegates representing more than 6.5 million intellectuals, scientists, writers and artists nationwide.He stressed that under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, in every historical period, Vietnamese intellectuals, scientists, writers and artists have dedicated their work, talent and brainpower to the cause of national defence and construction.
The Government leader affirmed the policy of developing the contingent of intellectuals, scientists, writers and artists in both quantity and quality, noting that many mechanisms and policies have been issued to ensure the freedom to creativity.
According to him, the education and popularisation work is one of the three pillars of Party building, which is extremely important in building the national unity, thus bringing success for the country.
PM Phuc noted that the intellectuals, scientists, writers and artists should strive harder to meet the increasing demand of the cause of national industrialisation and modernisation in the context of international integration.
As the country is moving towards the 13th National Party Congress, the PM urged the intellectuals, scientists, writers and artists to make recommendations to the Party and State in the process of building and implementing policies for socio-economic development and improvement of the people’s spiritual and material life.
Delegates at the meeting presented proposals on building development strategies for the country’s spearhead scientific and technological sectors in the next 20 years and further. They also asked for incentives, including improvement to the working environment, to persuade overseas Vietnamese scholars and scientists to return to the homeland to work.
A concert was held at Saturday Coffee House in Hanoi recently to pay tribute to late opera singer Vu Manh Dung.
The concert featured famous opera artists including soprano Dao To Loan, mezzo soprano Quynh Huong, baritone Van Giap, and pianist Thuong Ha. They are Dung’s colleagues at the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
The audience was treated to masterpieces by world-renowned composers Frank Liszt and Beethoven and Vietnamese musicians Van Cao, Duong Thieu Tuoc and Pham Duy.
All proceeds from the concert have been donated to the late opera singer’s family.
Born in 1978, Dung was one of the leading opera singers in Vietnam. He served as deputy director of Opera Group of the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet before he was killed last month by his brother-in-law. He left behind his wife and four children.
Dung also taught at the Vietnam National Academy of Music and Military University of Culture and Arts.
He won domestic and international prizes during his career. In 2019, Dung was awarded the title of Emeritus Artist.
It’s her first day off in more than a week, and when the Baton Rouge-raised, New Orleans-born opera singer and her husband realize the latest Parisian metro strike means they might miss an intercontinental phone call, they know they have but one option to get to their apartment in time: Run.
“We’re cold because we’re sweaty. We’re in our running clothes, and we’d already run seven and a half miles, so, you know, what’s another mile?” Oropesa laughs.
It’s hard not to think that sense of adventure has helped Oropesa get where she is now, which at that particular moment meant preparing to star in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Opéra National de Paris. But in the past year, she’s also earned both the Richard Tucker Award and the Beverly Sills Award, two of opera’s top prizes. Her return to the Metropolitan Opera to star in Massenet’s Manon was applauded by The New York Times; critic Joshua Barone said Oropesa “slips into the title role as if it were custom couture.”
Somehow, she also managed to get home to LSU to host master classes and perform at her alma mater.
“Her roots in Louisiana are very precious to her, as is her family,” says Robert Grayson, the LSU professor of voice who still serves as Oropesa’s vocal teacher, occasionally flying out to her performances and rehearsals to offer advice. “She really understands the struggle and working at all times to do your best, and that continued outlook is what has really helped her achieve the gift of her talents, which is just amazing.”
Oropesa’s path has never been linear. Her parents fled from Cuba to New Orleans, landing later in Baton Rouge, where Oropesa’s mother, Rebecca, also a soprano, is a music teacher. Despite Rebecca’s insistence that Lisette would make a talented vocalist, a teenage Lisette didn’t yet put her focus there.
In its rescheduling proposal, the organising board said it would be inappropriate for the 11th edition of the Hue Festival to take place amid the COVID-19 epidemic, highlighting the need to protect local people and visitors’ health.
About the expected time of the 11th Hue Festival, there will be two options. If COVID-19 situation is soon controlled, Hue Festival will be held on the occasion of National Day on September 2, 2020. In case of complicated epidemics, the 11 th Hue Festival may be moved to 2021 in combination with the Hue Traditional Craft Festival.
The Organizing Board of Hue Festival 2020 said that in the next few days, they will hold a meeting to discuss the official time and widely announce it to visitors, to the public, the partners and sponsors.
Previously, Hue Festival 2020 is scheduled to be held from April 1 to 6, coinciding with the occasion of the Death Anniversary of the Hung Kings (March 10 of the lunar calendar) with the theme “Cultural heritage with integration and development – Hue is always new ”.