VietNamNet Bridge – A team of traditional opera artists from the Viet Nam Cheo Theatre recently delighted a French audience with a classical cheo play during the Festival of Imagination held in Paris's House of World Cultures.
It was the 12-member team's first performance of Quan Am Thi Kinh (early life of Avalokitesvara) with the addition of French subtitles, which were translated by Nguyen Thuy Tien of the Viet Nam Music Research Institute.
Meet and greet: An audience (left) gets an artist's autograph after cheo performance in Paris by a team from the Viet Nam Cheo Theatre. (Photo: VNS)
The play includes 11 scenes of various genres of drama like comedy and satire, with some simplification in content to suit the foreign audience.
"The traditional opera has been staged since 2005 with the help of Yves Defrance, an expert on Vietnamese music from the University of Rennes 2," said Tien. "I have tried my best to translate the best dialogues, basic content as well as finest features of the script."
The show attracted a lot of French viewers as well as international friends who were interested in Vietnamese culture, said Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoan, deputy director of the theatre, who led the team to Paris.
Despite the simply decorated stage featuring scenes of life in Viet Nam's feudal villages, audiences were able to somewhat understand the show and a piece of Vietnamese culture, Ngoan said.
Deflo Gilbert, a Belgian-German expressed his feelings after seeing the show.
"I think the artists perform very well," he said. "They combine singing, acting and dancing very smoothly. Through the story, I understand the women in Viet Nam's rural society. They work hard and sacrifice for others. I like traditional Vietnamese culture."
Ambassador Duong Van Quang, head of Viet Nam's delegation to UNESCO noted that the performance was one of the most important cultural events in Paris.
A team of cheo artists from Viet Nam was invited to perform here which was "an honour and an encouraging sign", he said.
"Watching a cheo play in modern Paris is so interesting," he said. "But what surprises me is seeing the primarily foreign audience enjoy the show."
He said cultural exchange was crucial and sometimes did not require an understanding of a foreign language.
Quang said he hoped the documents requesting recognition of cheo and hat van (spiritual singing) as examples of world intangible heritage would soon be ready for submission to the UN cultural organisation.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News