HBSO will restage Yesterday’s Memory: An Operatic Crime at the Saigon Opera House on November 17 - PHOTO: SON TRAN



It’s important to note that this date has been changed. It was originally announced for Saturday, November 16, but has now been re-scheduled for Sunday, November 17.

The work is a compilation of opera and some other extracts, put together so as to tell the story of a murder mystery set in an opera house.

Entitled “Yesterday’s Memory”, it was created by two German directors, David Hermann and Anna-Sophie Weber. Both work in the field of opera production, and both live in Berlin.

The music is by Mozart, Wagner, Handel, Bach, Beethoven, Weber, Lehar, Hanns Eisler and Kurt Weill.

The inspecting police officer will be sung by Phan Huu Trung Kiet, and the victim, Mr X, by Dao Mac. Other soloists are Pham Khanh Ngoc, Pham Trang, Pham Duyen Huyen, Tran Thanh Nam and Nguyen Thi Thanh Nguyen.

Quynh Paris has designed the costumes, and the vocal coach is Askan Geisler. The conductor will be Tran Nhat Minh.

In addition, lighting is by David Hermann and Nguyen Phuc Hai, scenery and props by Judith Philipp, and the stage manager is Nguyen Manh Duy Linh.

This show was first seen in August as the opening item of HCMC’s Autumn Melodies Festival. Yesterday’s Memory is the name of a bar which features half-way through the story.

Among the show’s highlights are the opening scene, to the accompaniment of the Dies Irae from Mozart’s Requiem, a scene in a mortuary where everyone is dressed in white, and a form of Medieval ‘Dance of Death’ close to the end of the performance.

Especially notable in August was the singing of the HBSO chorus. Their singing high up in the two opera house boxes was formidable.

The production comes with the support of the Goethe Institut and the Quynh Paris Foundation.

The show intelligently incorporates items from operas recently produced in HCMC, notably Der Freischutz (‘the marksman’) and Die Zauberflote (‘the magic flute’), but also features 20th century music such as Kurt Weill’s ‘Surabaya Jonny’.

The sung items will be given in their original languages, mostly German but some in Latin, and there is in addition spoken dialogue in Vietnamese.

The entire work, which will be performed without an interval, will be accompanied by the HBSO orchestra.

Anna Sophia Weber has commented that conditions here in Vietnam vary from those back home in Germany. Most notable, she said, was the fact that in HCMC the chorus was available every day for rehearsals. In Germany you would be lucky if they were present four times before the first performance.

Yesterday’s Memory: An Operatic Crime would be a significant event in any country, and it was highly appreciated in HCMC three months ago. Its revival is therefore greatly to be welcomed.

Ticket prices range from VND450,000 to VND900,000, with a special student price of VND150,000, available on production of a student card. SGT
Bradley Winterton