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Cai luong masterpiece to be performed in Hanoi

The tragic love story of Lan and Diep in a famous cai luong (reformed theatre) piece will be performed in Hanoi on November 23.


Meritorious Artist Thanh Kim Hue is seen at the rehearsal of Lan And Điệp, the famous cai luong (reformed theatre) piece. Photo courtesy of the director


It’s a part of Tài Danh Đất Việt (Vietnamese Talents) series of performances honouring traditional art. This is the first time the programme has been introduced in Hanoi, after big success in HCM City and Da Nang in June and August, respectively.

The cai luong piece Lan và Điệp (Lan and Diep) tells a story from the 1930s.

Lan and Diep had a beautiful love and were to marry when Diep finished his studies. While living and studying in the city, Diep fell into a trap and had to marry a rich woman, even though she was already pregnant by another man. She took the opportunity to sleep with a drunken Diep and then claimed to be pregnant with Diep's child. The news made Lan shocked and broke her heart. She left the village for a far-away temple where she became a Buddhist nun. Tragically, when Diep found Lan, she breathed her last in his arms.

With the plot from a novel written by Nguyen Cong Hoan, the piece was staged for the first time in 1936 by Tran Huu Trang, a leading scriptwriter of the south.

In 1974, choreographer/director Loan Thao remade it with the participation of Chi Tam and Thanh Kim Hue. The recordings of the performance are popular at home and abroad. The roles also brought fame for Tam and Hue.

After 45 years, director Gia Bao once again has two cai luong stars involved. Bao changed the performance a little to blow new life into the piece and bring more emotions for the audience. The story will be narrated by Meritorious Artist Thanh Thanh Hien.

Hien was born to a family of cai luong artists. Since when she was little, she has loved Lan và Điệp, and often listens to it with an old cassette, the piece recorded in 1974.

“I listened to the piece during the meals and cried, my mother told me not to cry while eating, but I still cried whenever I listened to it,” said Hien.

“I know all songs, all conversations of the piece, director Bao knows how much I love it. Maybe it’s why he gave me the role of narrator.

“That role hasn’t appeared in other versions of the piece before. I expect that I can help bring bright colours to the tragedy.”

People’s Artist Minh Vuong, who is famous for cai luong performances, and Hoai Lam, winner of Gương Mặt Thân Quen (Your Face Sounds Familiar) television show in 2014, will also star.

The three-hour piece will bring unforgettable emotions for the audiences, said director Bao.

Bao is the initiator of Vietnamese Talents series. Launched since 2014, the series gathered leading artists in cai luong, tuong (classical drama), singing, comedy and cinema.

The show will take place on November 23 at Au Co Art Centre, 8 Huynh Thuc Khang Street, Hanoi. Tickets are now on sale at the venue.VNS


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