Friday, 27/08/2021 07:08

Classical drama artist, culinary artisan both die of COVID-19

Tuồng (classical drama) actress, scriptwriter, and director Bạch Mai. (Photo courtesy of HCM City Theatre Association)

HCM CITY — Tuồng (classical drama) artist Bạch Mai and culinary artisan Triệu Thị Chơi died after days of COVID-19 treatment in hospitals in HCM City on Thursday. 

Actress Bạch Mai, whose real name is Nguyễn Ngọc Mai, was 74.  Meritorious Teacher and culinary artisan Chơi was 76. She had worked as a chef and food writer since 1967.

Bạch Mai played a role in the development of tuồng or hát bội, a Vietnamese traditional theatre genre that originated in the 17th century, for 50 years. 

She was famous in the 1960s, starring in 60 plays in tuồng and cải lương (reformed opera), a 100-year-old traditional genre of Vietnamese theatre in the South. 

She wrote and directed dozens of tuồng plays, many of which won top prizes for best plays at national theatre contests and festivals. 

She worked with theatres and art schools in the region to offer training for artists, including cải lương stars Kim Tử Long and Ngọc Huyền. 

Cover of The Food of Vietnam, a book of Vietnamese recipes by culinary artisan Triệu Thị Chơi. It was released by Peripulus Editions in Singapore in 1986. (Photo courtesy of the publisher)

 In 2017, she opened her theatre, Huỳnh Long Troupe, one of the region’s leading private traditional theatres, which features 30 actors, mostly graduates of leading art schools in the city and neighbouring provinces.

The troupe offers shows aimed at young people. It is managed by actress Bình Tinh, Mai’s daughter, who has nearly 20 years of experience in cải lương.

Mai’s last production was Mặt Trời Đêm Thế Kỷ (Sun after the Long Night), a historical play highlighting patriotism and loyalty, which debuted in July in 2020. 

She wrote and directed the play in a new style of tuồng to meet the demands of young people. 

“My mom, Bạch Mai, wanted our troupe to become a place for people to enjoy the art in a unique way," said Tinh. 

Meritorious Kim Tử Long, a student of Mai, said: "Actress Mai devoted her life to Vietnamese theatre. She worked to help young talents improve their vocal and performance skills in the hopes that they would develop a professional career.” 

In 1981, she was among the founders of the HCM City Women’s Club, now the HCM City Women’s Culture House.  

Meritorious Teacher and culinary artisan Triệu Thị Chơi. She died after days of COVID-19 treatment in hospitals in HCM City on Thursday. Photo

Culinary artisan Triệu Thị Chơi wrote and released more than 100 books related to Vietnamese dishes and recipes, and restaurants. 

One of her popular books, The Food of Vietnam, was released by Peripulus Editions in Singapore in 1986. The book featured Vietnamese dishes and recipes, and was the first of its kind to be issued overseas. It has been reprinted many times.— VNS

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