Vietnamese version of 'Carmen' takes stage hinh anh 1About 150 artists will perform in Carmen. (Photo: VNOB)

Hanoi (VNA) - Characters from the popular opera Carmen have performed as contemporary Vietnamese people by artists from Vietnam National Opera and Ballet (VNOB) at Hanoi Opera House on November 23 and 24.

The modern Carmen features about 150 artists and musicians of the VNOB, Hanoi Voices Choir and Erato Children Choir. The opera was completed in 1874 based on the novel by Prosper Merimee. It was the last work of composer Georges Bizet.

Through music and dramatic melodies with Spanish elements, the composer told a tragic story and depicted a Gipsy woman who is straightforward but wild. Swedish director Helena Rohr and set designer Annsofi Nyberg will aim to bring one of the most popular and frequently performed operas in the world closer to Vietnamese audience.

"This version of Carmen focuses on the theme of domestic violence in today’s society, particularly towards women," said opera singer Thanh Binh. "The opera portrays Carmen as a victim rather than someone who is to blame for what happens - as is so often seen in more traditional versions."

"The director is skillful to tell the story in contemporary society in Vietnam, so the audience will follow and understand the story, and connect it to their own lives," said Binh, who plays Jose.

This Carmen is set inside a Vietnamese cigarette factory where the two main characters work. Carmen is from Hanoi and Jose is from the northern province of Yen Bai.

Carmen decides to divorce Jose because he acts like a caveman. Becoming a single mother and facing many difficulties doesn’t get Carmen down, though her future is far from certain.

Huong Diep voices Carmen while Thanh Binh and Anh Vu do so for Jose. Manh Dung lends his voice to the toreador, who in this version is a famous Thai boxer.

The artists sing in French and have dialogue in Vietnamese under the baton of conductor Dong Quang Vinh. The opera debuted at Hanoi Opera House to celebrate the building’s 100th anniversary in 2011.-VNA