Opera Based On Blogs From Vietnam And Sweden

Vietnamese
and Swedish artists collaborate on the new opera being devised by bloggers from
the two countries. Scripts are
created from young people’s blog entries, which gives the art form its name. The ideas
are edited, compiled and developed into plays.
    In some
parts pop music, which is composed by the amateurish participants and refined
by professional writers, replaces opera singing.
    The
endeavor does not intend to simplify the elite art form but aims to maximize
audience participation, stimulating more interest in opera, Director of the
Vietnam Music, Dance and Drama Theater, Pham Anh Phuong, said.
    The theater
is working closely with Sweden’s
Norrlands Opera Theater to produce Vietnam’s first such play – Giac mo
va hien thuc (Dreams and Reality).
    The play,
which has a Vietnamese and Swedish cast, will be an exciting blend of different
art forms such as opera, music, dance, visual arts and video, he said.
    The
Vietnamese and Swedish theaters have collaborated to launch a writing contest
which has already attracted hundreds of blogs from youth in Vietnam and Sweden.
    In 100
words, youths are asked to express their thoughts, emotions and aspirations,
which they can rarely do in Vietnam,
Phuong added.
    The most
original pieces will be selected and adapted into the play and a short film to
promote it.
    The play
will make its debut in May 2009 at the Hanoi Theater.
    According
to Phuong, Norrlands Opera, founded in 1974 in Norrland, Sweden,
has performed several successful plays of this kind.
    One example
is Sjokor och stekare (Sea cows and Cool Guys), an opera created from 100 word
blog entries by 400 students.
    The story
line is one of teenage angst, love and snow mobile racing.
    “The idea
behind the opera is so inspiring. They let the youngsters tell the
professionals how it should be done,” he said.
    “There are
multiple layers of storytelling explored through singing, dance,
lighting-simple props and digital screens. All in all, it is a fantastic and
professional production,” Phuong remarked.
    Phuong,
however, is a bit concerned about how local audiences will respond.
    In Sweden and Europe
in general, contemporary operas are increasingly staged alongside their classic
counterparts,” he said.
    “The global
trend is staging opera plays, including classic ones, in a fresh style, which
is a good way to sustain interest in and develop the genre.
    “The
audience response can be enthusiastic or discouraging depending on different
tastes and audiences, but this is how opera develops”, he said.
Vietnam
certainly cannot go against this trend.We now
have contemporary dance and art, so why not contemporary opera?”
    However, it
will take some time before contemporary opera and blog opera is accepted and
gains a foothold in Vietnam.
    “There is
always a clash between the classic and contemporary art forms before they reach
a compromise”, Phuong noted.
    Another
problem is the lack of funding to stage contemporary operas, which cost around
VND1 billion (US$60,000) to produce.
    “Without
foreign assistance, local theaters would have difficulty producing such costly
plays.
    Not many
people in Vietnam
go to opera concerts as they find it hard to appreciate such a particular and
difficult kind of theater.
    But Phuong
hoped they will fall in love with blog opera, as the alternative genre is
enthralling and relatively easier to understand.
    He said he
planned to launch a PR campaign to arouse the audiences’ curiosity in the play
including a website, ads featuring cultural ambassadors such as local singers
Thanh Lam and My Linh, leaflets, and shirts and hats bearing the play’s logo.
    He said he
intends to make a short television documentary about the play and even hold a
street march.

 


 


 

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