Thursday, 09/05/2019 17:09

Cải lương veteran died at 67

Meritorious Artist and cải lương (reformed opera) star Giang Châu passed away at 67 in HCM City on May 8. Photo from
HCM CITY — Meritorious Artist and cải lương (reformed opera) star Giang Châu died of a long-time illness on Wednesday at his home in HCM City. He was 67.

Châu, whose real name is Trần Ngọc Châu, became a bright star in the 1970s and 1980s with his role playing Trùm Sò in the cải lương comedy Nghêu Sò Ốc Hến (The Stories of the Clam, Oyster, Snail, and Mussel).

The play was staged by Sài Gòn 1 Cải Lương Troupe in 1982 and directed by Ba Vân.

It is about four characters named Bói Nghêu, a fortune teller, Trùm Sò, a village major, Trộm Ốc, a thief and Thị Hến, a beautiful widow.

Their stories depict a rural Vietnamese area under feudalism on the decline.

The play featured famous cải lương stars like Thanh Điền, Thanh Kim Huệ, and Trường Xuân. Up to a thousand shows in three years were performed.

Nghêu Sò Ốc Hến, one of the masterpieces of Vietnamese folk theatre, has been staged in different forms such as tuồng (classical opera), chèo (popular opera), cải lương and drama.

It is said to originate from the central province of Quảng Nam.

Châu was born into a poor family in 1952 in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Bến Tre.

With his powerful voice, he began his singing career in 1968, and later was invited to work for Phước Châu, Hương Mùa Thu, and Trâm Hoa Mai cải lương troupes.

After 1975, he worked for Sài Gòn 2 and Sài Gòn 1 troupes, and quickly became a star.

He performed in numerous plays such as Tìm Lại Cuộc Đời (Finding Life Again), Tiếng Hò Sông Hậu (Singing in Hậu River), Khách Sạn Hào Hoa (Caravelle Hotel) and Tô Ánh Nguyệt (Miss Tô Ánh Nguyệt).

In 2007, Châu was granted the title of Meritorious Artist for his great contribution to cải lương art.

The funeral will be held at the Ministry of National Defence’s funeral house on Phạm Ngũ Lão Street in District 1 until May 11. — VNS

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