Sunday, 12/05/2024 09:20

Vĩnh Long promotes 'hát bội'

TRADITIONAL ART: 'Hát bội' (classical drama) performers of Vĩnh Long Province perform at a ceremony to celebrate the art being recognised as national intangible heritage. VNA/VNS Photo by Thuý Hằng

The Mekong Delta province of Vĩnh Long is working on promoting hát bội (classical drama) as the art has been recognised as a national intangible heritage.

“Vĩnh Long will continue to develop hát bội into the province’s signature tourism product, contributing to preserving the art and introducing traditional theatrical performances to domestic and international tourists,” Nguyễn Thị Quyên Thanh, deputy chairwoman of the provincial People’s Committee (government), said.

Hát bội developed from a folk art to a royal art in central and southern regions.

The genre consists of singing and dancing to music. Its themes include monarchist loyalty and patriotic duty. 

Hát bội plays feature archaic words, and the characters are often made up in black and red on their faces. 

Visitors admire costumes of 'hát bội' at a display in Vĩnh Long City, Vĩnh Long Province.   VNA/VNS Photo Thúy Hằng 

 The art became particularly popular in the 1990s and was often performed at ceremonies and festivals at temples and pagodas in central and southern provinces in the 1900s such as Bình Định, Phú Yên, Vĩnh Long, Cần Thơ, Tiền Giang, and Sóc Trăng.

In Vĩnh Long, hát bội has been associated with the belief in worshipping the God of the Land of local people for several years.

In 2016, the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism worked with the Đồng Thịnh Hát Bội Troupe, the province’s leading art troupe, to launch a hát bội show as its unique tourism product to attract more visitors.

Artists perform the 'hát bội' at the first ASEAN - Việt Nam cultural and culinary festival held last year in HCM City.  VNA/VNS Photo Mỹ Phương 

The Đồng Thịnh troupe was chosen by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to perform in the programme “Mekong River: Connecting Cultures” of the 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC.

It was also invited to perform in the programme “Autumn 2010: Colours of Việt Nam – China” at the Museum of Ethnology in Hà Nội on the occasion of the 1,000th anniversary of Thăng Long – Hà Nội.

The show was held at the An Thành Temple in Long Hồ District, featuring classic hát bội play Tiết Giao Đoạt Ngọc (Tiết Giao and Fox Spirit’s Gemstone) with the performances of Vũ Linh Tâm, Thanh Nhàn, and Kiều My of the troupe.

Hát bội has not been widely performed for a long time. If we don’t want the art to be neglected, it is necessary to preserve the art and bring it closer to the public.” Meritorious Artist Vũ Linh Tâm said.

FAN FAVOURITE: Vĩnh Long’s leading 'hát bội' troupe, Đồng Thịnh, attracts tourists.  Photo from vinhlongtourist.vn

In 2020, the province’s authorities asked the Trade and Tourism Centre to promote cultural tourism, including hát bội.

Since then, the centre has collaborated with the Đồng Thịnh Troupe to offer more classic plays to serve tourists.

They have worked with tourism agencies to create more tours to introduce the art to visitors.

They have also collected research and documents on hát bội and introduced them on social media platforms and at tourism events to help local people and domestic and international visitors understand more about the art.

“Turning hát bội into the province’s tourism product is an effort to preserve and revive the traditional genre of music in the south.” deputy chairwoman Thanh said.

She added, “The province will bring documents on hát bội to the schools to educate young generations on the art, and the province’s history and culture, contributing to building their love of the country.”  VNS

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