Sunday, 23/02/2020 21:34

Reformed opera director dies at 88

People’s Artist and cải lương (reformed opera) director Huỳnh Nga (middle) on February 21 passed away at the age of 88. Photo from

HCM City — People’s Artist and cải lương (reformed opera) director Huỳnh Nga died of a long-time illness on February 21 at his home in HCM City. He was 88.

Nga, whose real name is Huỳnh Văn Thạch, was director of about 300 cải lương and drama plays, which were famous in the 1980s and 1990s and have been restaged several times.

Among them are Khách Sạn Hào Hoa (Caravelle Hotel), a historical play about the victories of revolutionary agents in Sài Gòn before 1975, and Đời Cô Lựu (The Life of Lưu) featuring challenges and sufferings of a Vietnamese woman under the feudal society in the south.

Thanks to these plays, many actors like Minh Vương, Bạch Tuyết and Lệ Thủy became cải lương stars.

People’s Artist Minh Vương, who worked with Nga in Đời Cô Lựu play, said: “Works by Huỳnh Nga are charming and emotional. They are of a high quality and are very appealing with fresh details.”

Nga was born in 1932 in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Long An. He joined the army at the age of 15 years old, and then was sent to the north in 1954. 

He began working as an actor for the Southern Cải Lương Troupe in 1956 and then was sent to study directing in Romania in 1968.  

In 1972, he returned Việt Nam and became artistic director of the Hà Nội Drama Troupe. After 1975, he came back to the South and worked at the HCM City Department of Culture and Information.

He then directed numerous plays for cải lương troupes in the city and regional provinces, such as Tìm Lại Cuộc Đời (Finding Life Again), Tiếng Sáo Trong Vườn (Flute in the Garden), and Hoa Độc Trong Vườn (Poisonous Flower in the Garden).

He offered training for younger generations of theatrical artists.

He was an administrative member of the Việt Nam Theatrical Artists’ Association and the HCM City Theatre Association. In 1997, Nga was granted the title of People’s Artist for his great contribution to cải lương art.

The funeral will be held at the city funeral house on Lê Quý Đôn Street in District 1 until February 24. He will be buried in his hometown in Long An Province. VNS

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