Friday, 29 June 2007
Vietnamese theatre. Memories of Saigon. Vietnam
Vietnamese theatre or opera has basicly two forms if I exclude a very old style in North Vietnam called 'Hat cheo'. There is the 'Hat boi' which is classical opera very influenced by the Chinese and 'Cai luong' which is modern.
Cai luong remains popular because it has evolved and includes modern themes as well as traditional. It is a mixture of theatre and opera. My wife has over two hundred video cassettes of it. I think a lot is produced now in California.
If I love Vietnamese music from the sixties and seventies I've never really either understood or been able to like the opera. The spoken Vietnamese in it is also very hard for me to follow. The sad and slow melodies of singers really transport me though.
In my early days in South Vietnam I had been manager of a theatre as a sideline from my work with the army. Not altogether a succesful business venture.