HÀ NỘI — A series of TV broadcasts dedicated to different art genres will be screened nationwide this month, to help struggling theatre troops that have been unable to perform due to restrictions on gatherings caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deputy head of the Culture Ministry’s Department of Performing Arts Trần Hướng Dương, said the department's representatives have worked with theatres under the culture ministry to select several quality stage productions to film and broadcast on VTV (Việt Nam Television), VOV (Voice of Việt Nam) as well as on other provincial TV and radio channels.
"With 12 theatres under the ministry and a large crew of talented artists, the TV broadcast programme is expected to offer the best productions of performing arts from drama, tuồng (classic opera), chèo (traditional opera), cải lương (reformed opera), puppetry, circus, to folk and contemporary dance and music," he said.
To open the series, on Tuesday, an art programme celebrating the 74th anniversary of the Vietnamese War Invalids and Martyrs' Day (27/7/1947 – 27/7/2021) will be live broadcast on VTV2 from the Hà Nội Opera House.
As COVID-19 restriction has been tightening in the city, the programme, titled Những Ngôi Sao Bất Tử (The Immortal Stars), will be staged without an audience.
Performed by artists of the Việt Bắc Folk Music and Dance Theatre, the performance will depict the great sacrifices of the invalids and martyrs, who, during the resistance wars, devoted their lives and blood to the country's freedom and independence. Vietnamese heroic mothers, whose husbands and children died during the wars, will also be praised at the event.
Acting director of the theatre, Meritous Artist Lê Khánh Toàn said that the programme has been created as an emotional and "poetic" production featuring the performances of several talented artists.
The programme will include dance performances by young choreographers Thanh Hằng, Hải Trường, Trần Thảo Nhi, Lê Hoàng Phương Linh, who are expected to bring fresh and cheerful dance repertoires.
"However, the specific folk dance style, which is the 'signature style' of our theatre, still remains in those performances," he said.
Together with the art performance by the Việt Bắc Folk Music and Dance Theatre, a play entitled Trung Thần (A Loyal Court Servant) by the Việt Nam Tuồng Theatre will be presented on TV screens this month.
Directed by People's Artist Hoàng Quỳnh Mai, the play won the Silver Medal at the National Festival of Classic Opera, Drama and Folk Music 2019.
It is about General Lê Văn Duyệt (1763-1832), a loyal servant of the Nguyễn Dynasty who made great contributions to the country. A brilliant politician and military strategist, Duyệt helped Nguyễn Ánh [the future founding emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty] to take down the Tây Sơn troop, unify the country and establish the Nguyễn Dynasty. After Nguyễn Ánh came to power as Emperor Gia Long in 1802, Duyệt became a high-ranking mandarin, serving the two first Nguyễn emperors Gia Long (1802-1819) and Minh Mạng (1820-1840).
The play features the most outstanding tuồng artist including Mạnh Linh (as General Lê Văn Duyệt), Lộc Huyền (as Mrs Phân, wife of Lê Văn Duyệt), and Tuấn Hiệp (as Emperor Minh Mạng).
The play will be screened in the Television Theatre programme on July 31.
"Having such an unexpected 'long break' due to COVID-19, all of us are longing to be on the stage again. Although the show will be presented without an offline audience, everyone is very happy to be under the spotlight to sing and to live with our passion,” actress Lộc Huyền said.
“Like a bridge, we hope the Television Theatre programme can help to maintain the audience's habit of enjoying performing art, and it will also help to bring them back to the theatres once the pandemic is over."
4.0 solution for the stage
Heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the theatres and stages have been operating without any revenue. The theatres' management board have struggled to cover essential expenditure, and at the same time to find new solutions for their artists to perform.
However, the theatres do not have to manage on their own in this difficult time.
In order to ensure COVID-19 safety measures, the Department of Performing Arts has created the Youtube channel Nghệ Thuật Biểu Diễn Việt Nam (Vietnamese Performing Art) to introduce a number of stage productions that were presented in national competitions and art festivals in 2020.
Deputy head of the Department of Performing Arts Dương affirmed that both the Television Theatre programme and 'online theatre' are essential to bringing professional art closer to the audience, especially in the pandemic.
"These forms can help both artists and audiences get all up-to-date information about professional art competitions and festivals," he said.
He also added that even if the theatres and stages re-opened, the TV broadcast of performances still needed to be maintained because "this is a trend for performing art to be promoted widely to all audiences in the current 4.0 era," he said. VNS
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