Classic opera & ballet restaged to celebrate VNOB’s anniversary

The Việt Nam National Opera and Ballet (VNOB) will perform a Vietnamese classical opera and a Russian ballet between October 5 and 7 at the Ha Noi Opera House to celebrate the 60th anniversary.

The opera titled Người Tạc Tượng (Sculptor) by late composer Đỗ Nhuận (1922-1991) will be performed on October 5 and ballet Swan Lake will take place on October 7.

This is the first time since 1975 the opera has been restaged by the theatre. Composer Đỗ Hồng Quân, Đỗ Nhuận’s son and also the music director for the show, said the performance is a great effort of the theatre to restage an opera, which is considered a musical heritage of the country.

Panorama of the press conference

This time, a team of experienced artists will include Emeritus Artist Trần Ly Ly, acting director of the VNOB, who acts as the show’s art director; composer Đỗ Hồng Quân, chairman of Việt Nam Musicians’ Association, as music director; Emeritus Artist Trần Lực, as the director; painter Hoàng Hà Tùng as fine art designer; and People’s Artist Hồng Phong, as dancing director.

The opera will gather other famed performing artists like Mạnh Dũng, Tố Loan and Bùi Thị Trang.

Composer Quân said though the content features love in a fierce war, the opera will focus on love, loyalty and patriotism rather than the war itself.

Artists rehearse for the opera

Composer Nhuận was the first General Secretary of the Việt Nam Musicians’ Association between 1958 and 1983. He is among leading composers of revolutionary music. He was also the only composer of Vietnamese contemporary music’s first generation to be trained professionally at Tchaikovsky Music Conservatory in 1960-62.

Nhuận was among the first composers, who laid the foundations for Western opera in Việt Nam.

His first operas were composed in late 1950s.

He then composed opera Cô Sao (Miss Sao), Người Tạc Tượng (Sculptor) and Nguyễn Trãi in the 1980s.

He was the author of various historical songs of Vietnamese contemporary music like Du kích sông Thao (Guerillas by Thao River), Việt Nam Quê Hương Tôi (Việt Nam – My Homeland), and Tôi Thích Thể Thao (I Like Sports).

Beside opera Người Tạc Tượng, the world famous Swan Lake ballet will be performed on this special occasion.

This is the first time ever the full ballet will be performed instead of excerpts by Vietnamese dancers over the last 30 years.

Swan Lake is ready

Hundreds of artists, including Meritorious Artists Dam Han Giang and Nhu Quynh, Thu Hue, Thu Hang, dancers of the Vietnam Academy of Dance, artists of VNOB, the instrumental ensemble of 60 musicians will join the performance under the baton of conductor Dong Quang Vinh.

They took 6 months of practice to prepare for the concert, said Emeritus Artist Tran Ly Ly, director of the VNOB.

Emeritus Artist Trần Ly Ly initiated the idea of restaging the full Swan Lake by only Vietnamese dancers.

“This is a brave decision by the theatre’s managing board and the artists,” she said. “As the task does not only require financial investment but also high concentration of the whole team with 60 musicians and 60 dancers.”

It took the artists six months to rehearse for the show.

This version of the Swan Lake will be basically in Russian style but will be mingled with some special highlights to create significant features of the Vietnamese version,” she said.

Costumes for the show have been made by Ellie Vu’s team with Russian royal designs decorated with Vietnamese lotus patterns.

This is the first time a Vietnamese full version of Swan Lake will be staged.

The most loved and mesmerizing of classical ballets, “Swan Lake” was Tchaikovsky’s first. It was composed in 1875 and over 100 years later it remains a favorite with ballet companies regularly performing it throughout the world. “Swan Lake” debuted in 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, but it was not well-received at the time.

In 1895, Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov reworked the choreography for their St Petersburg performance and this has remained the most popular version. “Swan Lake” made its American debut with a 1940 performance by the San Francisco Ballet.

“Swan Lake” is a timeless love story that mixes magic, tragedy and romance. It has mesmerized audiences for over a century, is based on a German fairy tale. Tchaikovsky’s score tells the tragic love story of Prince Siegfried and Swan Princess, Odette, who is cursed to be a swan by day but a young woman at night.

Tuyet Hoa

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