Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– The second Vietnamese opera will debut on May 26 at the Hanoi Opera House marking a milestone for Vietnamese opera art. The first one debuted some 40 years ago.

The opera titled La Do (Red Leaf) will be performed by artists from leading theatres, such as the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet (VNOB) and the Vietnam National Symphony and Orchestra (VNSO).

The work was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and is a high quality art performance illustrating the spirit of national resistance against the French and the Americans.

The first Vietnamese opera was performed by VNOB in 1965. Titled Co Sao (Miss Sao), the opera was written by Do Nhuan. Since then, no opera works have been staged even though some musicians have written operas, such as Nhat Lai, Luu Huu Phuoc and Nguyen Dinh Tan.

“Vietnamese artists have so far been re-staging only foreign operas,” musician Do Hong Quan said. “Opera is art of the highest standard and combines music, singing, drama and poetry. Vietnamese artists are now trying to reach international opera standards.”

Musician Quan was ordered to compose the music for La Do based on the poetry of writer Nguyen Thi Hong Ngat.

“I have worked with writer Ngat extensively. As a poet and experienced playwright, she was excited to write the script. I am feeling emotional about the script,” Quan said.

Ngat was inspired by Nguyen Dinh Thi’s famous poem La Do and the historic story of the volunteers who sacrificed their lives in the national resistance movement against the Americans in Bo Trach District in the central province of Quang Binh.

The script has a sense of vitality thanks to Ngat’s own experiences at the Truong Son Range – a supply route from the north to the south during the war.

“The poem La Do was very popular among the Vietnamese people during the war. The image of the red leaf inspires me a lot,” poet Ngat said. “Red Leaf is also a character appearing in the opera. It personifies romance and grandeur.”

The opera comprises two acts and six scenes. VNSO’s principal conductor Tetsuji Honna, stage director People’s Artist Anh Tu, choreographer People’s Artist Pham Anh Phuong and set designer Nguyen Dat Tang all have roles in bringing the opera to life.

VNOB artists rehearsed for three months ahead of the opera’s debut at Hanoi Opera House on May 26 at 8pm.

The opera is expected to resonate with a Vietnamese audience as it is only the second made-in Vietnam opera stage production in the country’s history.-VNA