Friday, 01/03/2024 10:00

Soprano pens first Vietnamese-language book about origin of Italian opera

HÀ NỘI — The first ever Vietnamese-language book about the origin of Italian opera has been launched in Hà Nội, offering music lovers a new source of information about this theatrical art.

Entitled Lịch Sử Opera Ý (History of Italian Opera), the book has been penned by Italian Musical Prof Gianni Kriscak, currently a lecturer of theatrical music at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austris.

From left: Authors of the Lịch Sử Opera Ý (History of Italian Opera) soprano Hiền Nguyễn, Prof Gianni Kriscak and vocal lecturer Trịnh Thị Oanh. — Photo courtesy of the artist

The book has also been completed with the contribution of two Vietnamese authors – Vietnamese soprano Hiền Nguyễn (real name Nguyễn Thị Hiền), who was a student of Prof Kriscak, and vocal lecturer Trịnh Thị Oanh, currently working at the National University of Art Education in Hà Nội.

Talking about her reasons for working on the book, soprano Hiền Nguyễn, who spent three years working in Italy, said that she has nurtured the idea for many years, especially when she became involved in teaching music.

“Contributing to the classical music in Việt Nam, at the same time, being a representative to introduce Italian cultural heritage to art enthusiasts in Việt Nam – those are my missions and responsibilities,” the singer said.

Hiền Nguyễn has a special bond with this Mediterranean country. In 2012, she won a scholarship to study Italian language and culture at the University for Foreigners Perugia in Perugia, Italy. A year later, she was the only graduate of Việt Nam National Academy of Music to win a scholarship from the Milan Conservatory where she studied for two years.

The cover of the book features the painting of Orpheus and Eurydice, two famous characters in Greek mythology, whose love story was adapted to be the first opera of Italy. — Photo courtesy of the artist

Over the years, the singer has realised that not everyone knows about the origin of opera, especially in Việt Nam where it is very difficult to find books about opera.

“Luckily for me, when I shared this thought with Prof Kriscak, he expressed the ambition to write a book about opera to publish in Asia. So, we have joined hands, resulting in this book,” Hiền said.

The singer started her book project in the beginning of 2022. In December 2022, Italian opera singing was recognised by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

“This recognition is a huge motivation urging me to complete the book. For five months, every day, after coming home from classes or performance, I was awake until 4am to work on the book,” Hiền Nguyễn said.

Talking about the book, Prof Kriscak, who was a guest lecturer at the Việt Nam National Academy of Music in 2016, said: “It was written for opera singers and anyone who wants to learn about opera and its history.”

The cover of the book features the painting of Orpheus and Eurydice, two famous characters in Greek mythology, whose love story was adapted to be the first opera of Italy. 

Hiền Nguyễn signs a copy of the book for her fan. — Photo courtesy of artist

To celebrate the book launch, Hiền Nguyễn will have a concert entitled La Passione (The Passion) at the National Academy of Music tonight. Nearly 20 timeless classic and semi-classic tunes of both Italy and Việt Nam will be presented during the concert.

Especially, Hiền’s beloved teacher, Prof Kriscak, will accompany her on piano, while Vietnamese bass-baritone Quốc Đạt will perform a duet with her on some tunes. — VNS

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