Haydn masterpiece to be sung in HCM City
The oratorio The Creation, written by Joseph Haydn, a prominent Austrian composer of the 18th and early 19th century, will be performed at the HCM City Opera House on May 8 and 9.
Considered to be one of the composer’s masterpieces, the oratorio tells the story of God’s creation of the world in six days as it is related in the Book of Genesis of the Old Testament.
The classical orchestral work is structured in three parts and is scored for soprano, tenor and baritone soloists as well as a chorus.
The performance, to be directed by well-known Norwegian conductor Lars Notto Birkeland, will feature international opera singers, including soprano Cho Hae Ryong, tenor Erlend Tvinnereim, baritone Halvor F. Melien, and the HCM City symphony orchestra and choir.
Birkeland will play the harpsichord during the singers’ recitatives.
The performance is a part of the Transposition Programme, a diverse and multi-faceted project that involves leading music institutions in Norway and Vietnam.
French artist keen on Vietnamese culture
Sébastien Laval has traveled the length and breadth of Vietnam for the past 20 years creating a memorable photo collection that illustrates the daily lives of the country’s 54 ethnic groups.
Laval, from Poitou Charentes region, introduced the unique photo collection to visitors at Truong Tien bridge during the Hue Festival 2014 from April 12-20.
The installation art exhibition, featuring 62 1x1m black-and-white photos, provides viewers a fascinating glimpse into the daily lives and traditional dress of ethnic minorities of Vietnam, capturing the interesting mix of their modern lifestyles against the backdrop of a more traditional culture.
Laval said that since coming to Vietnam in 1995 he has always felt a mysterious attraction to the country’s land and people in his heart.
“This is the sixth time I have attended the biennial Hue Festival, but I have never seen such wonderful photos before,” said Le Tran Ana, a foreign visitor. “It helped me to get better understanding of Vietnamese ethnic minorities in the central highlands where I have yet been to.”
Over the years, the French artist has organised a number of photo exhibitions on the lives and people of Vietnam.
“If not for my love of the people and land of Vietnam, I would never have traveled to every part of your country and collected such amazing photos as these”, shared Laval.
Hungarian folk dances in Hanoi
Hanoians were deeply impressed with Hungarian folkloric dances presented by Hungary’s Duna art troupe at a performance in the capital city on April 21.
The dancers displayed an absolutely fascinating stylistic spectacle of special and highly individualised improvisation, with dances from the Kalotaszeg, Transylvania, Mehkerek, Somogy, Kalocsa, Sarkoz, Szatmar and Nyirseg regions set to the enthralling rhythm of music and lyrics from Carpat valley.
They also performed a number of more contemporary dances, adaptations from the more traditional Hungarian heritage.
With an exceptional mix of artists and dancers, the traditional Hungarian dances inspired the audience, making them feel a bit more familiar with Hungarian folklore.
Duna art troupe has taken part in the recent Hue Festival.
Exhibitions assert sovereignty over Hoang Sa, Truong Sa
An exhibition themed “Hoang Sa Archipelago – Vietnam’s sovereignty” opened on April 21 in the central city of Danang, attracting more than 1,000 local students on the first day.
On display are 70 photos, documents and items with high historical value, helping confirm Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) Archipelago.
Among the items are an ancient sovereignty stele made by French people in 1938 and a radio found in the archipelago in 1939.
The exhibits, which originate not only from Vietnam but other countries as well, including China, were collected by both Vietnamese and foreign scholars, researchers and agencies.
Visitors to the event, which runs until April 26, can see many pieces of evidence proving that Vietnamese people have lived in Hoang Sa for generations. These include a certificate of birth, dated December 7, 1939, belonging to Mai Kim Quy, the daughter of a weatherman in the archipelago.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Dang Cong Ngu, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Hoang Sa district, the exhibition helps educate the younger generations about the important national sovereignty over Hoang Sa Archipelago.
The event is also considered a chance to pay tribute to soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa, he added.
On the occasion, representatives from the Danang University of Technology presented VND50 million supporting the “Hoang Sa, Truong Sa Fund.”
As part of efforts to raise public awareness of the national sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelagoes, a mobile exhibition themed “Hoang Sa, Truong Sa of Vietnam – Historical Evidence” is underway from April 19-28 in Truong Sa Lon island.
The exhibition, which has travelled to eight provinces nationwide, is a joint effort between the Ministry of Information and Communications and other local agencies. More than 120 ancient maps and documents are being made available at the event.
Meanwhile, the two first post offices on Truong Sa and Sinh Ton islands will be officially inaugurated, providing post, internet and telecommunication services and free books and newspapers to residents.
Hanoi cultural exhibition focuses on General Giap
Hundreds of fine art works featuring late General Vo Nguyen Giap will be displayed in an exhibition in downtown Hanoi to mark the 60th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory on May 7, 1954.
It will include photos of the General by journalist Colonel Tran Hong and photographer Nguyen Dinh Toan; paintings by artists Mai Duy Linh, Dang Xuan Hung and Nguyen Van Tuan; and sculptures by artist Tran Van Thuc.
A set of six objects, including a gold-plated copper bust of the General; a badge with the General’s image; and a cannon bullet shell carved with the image of the Dien Bien Phu battle by major general and writer Nguyen Chu Phac are among the key exhibits.
A portrait of General Giap made from 60,000 matches by artist Ngo Thi Thuc will also be on display.
On the opening day of the exhibition, the visitors will have a chance to talk with the soldiers who had fought in the battle and the participating artists.
The exhibition is also part of a project to introduce Vietnam’s Great Figures by the Circle Group, the Vietnam History Science Association, the Vietnam Military History Museum and Hanoi UNESCO.
Uruguayan guitar duo perform in Hanoi
Uruguay’s guitar duo Umbral staged a special performance in Hanoi on April 21.
The event, hosted by the Uruguayan Embassy in Hanoi, drew the participation of representatives from the embassies of the Latin American and European countries such as Mexico, Cuba, Brazil and Spain.
In his opening remark, Uruguayan Ambassador to Vietnam Carlos Irigaray introduced Vietnamese guests to the land, people and diverse culture and art of his country.
He praised the Umbral band, which consists of Ignacio Correa and Sebatian Segarra, for its impressive performances at the freshly-ended Hue Festival 2014.
The duo enthralled Vietnamese audiences with famous works such as Mansito, De costa a costa, Papas calientes and Caraguata.
“This is the first time we have visited Vietnam and the people here are very hospitable,” Sebatian Segarra told a Vietnam News Agency reporter.
“Surprisingly, we performed at a special stage, watched by wonderful audiences,” he said.
During the Hue Festival, the Uruguayan guitarists devoted special and impressive performances to local audiences at the Duyet Thi Duong Theatre and the Hue Royal Palace on April 16 and 17.
The biennial festival was a big feast of art and music, with 2,600 artists and performers, including 595 foreign ones.
During the April 12-20 event, 66 art troupes from 37 countries staged 170 performances at 15 venues in Hue city and 10 other sites in the province.
TV show honours Dien Bien Phu victory
The Vietnam Television’s Channel 6 (VTV6) broadcast live a programme on April 21 to highlight the Dien Bien Phu Victory on May 7, 1954, which ended the French colonial rule in Vietnam.
The “Dien Bien Phu – symphony of peace” programme featured the Vietnamese people’s aspiration for peace and their determination to fight for independence as well as international friends’ support and assistance for the struggle.
The victory also helped fuel the desire for freedom in Indochina, comprising Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
Movies and reportages plus special symphonies about the sound and creative people-based war strategy designed by the Party, President Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap became the spotlights of the event.
Audiences also had a chance to talk with war veterans who shared a lot of stories on the battle that had never been told before.
Dien Bien Phu was a complex of strong fortresses with 16,200 French troops, the most seasoned in Indochina , stationed in 14 fortifications of three sub-divisions.
At 3:00 pm on May 7, 1954, the Vietnamese army launched a massive attack on the headquarters of General Christian De Castries. The French commander at Dien Bien Phu was captured. The “Quyet chien, quyet thang” (Determined to fight and to win) flag handed over by President Ho Chi Minh proudly flew above the De Castries’ bunker. The Dien Bien Phu Campaign came to a complete victory.
The victory was a vivid manifestation of the gigantic growth of the Vietnamese army. The ten-year-old force, led by General Vo Nguyen Giap, created an everlasting epic of Vietnamese brainpower and stuff.
Sixty years have passed but the lessons of the Dien Bien Phu Victory still keep their value, which have been applied to the resistance war against the US for national salvation and the cause of national construction and defence in peaceful time.
Dien Bien Phu feature lights up screens
The movie Song Cung Lich Su (Living with History) was released in Hanoi last weekend.
Produced by the Vietnam Film Studio, the film depicts a group of young people who travel to Dien Bien after getting a strong impression through documentaries and images about the historical battle of Dien Bien Phu.
During the journey, the group ends up traveling back in time to become soldiers and civilian workers, getting a firsthand look at the hardships of battle and the determined spirit of the whole nation.
“We’ve tried our best to offer the most truthful angle on the historical battle of Dien Bien Phu. I don’t want to talk too much about my creation. Let the audience judge it,” said director and People’s Artist Nguyen Thanh Van.
Among tens of films made to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu historical victory, the 21 billion VND (1 million USD) movie is the only full-length narrative feature.
The crew spent two months filming the movie in the northern mountainous provinces of Yen Bai, Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien and Thanh Hoa. They had to cope with many difficulties, such as finding suitable crops.
To replicate the battlefield where Vietnamese soldiers exchanged fire with French military forces, Van and his crew needed a tank that could move.
“We didn’t expect to find a functioning tank, just a movable one. But we didn’t have any other option than a tank that was featured in the movie Hoa Ban Do (Red Ban Flower) 20 years ago and in Ky Uc Dien Bien (Dien Bien Memory) 10 years ago,” Van said. “Although it can’t run, its barrel can still move. To make the tank fire, the props team has their tricks.”
Nguyen Ba Hung, a Hanoi University of Business and Technology student who attended the debut screening, said he was fascinated by historical movies and this was no exception.
“I was impressed by the way the director depicted the historical event through a journey by young people. This may help the movie attract young viewers,” Hung said.
Nguyen Thi Phuong Anh, a student at the National Economics University, felt inspired by the ordinary women in the movie.
“A young woman who insists on joining the troupe of voluntary civilian workers, expecting to meet her husband on the frontlines, or a young girl willing to cut off her long hair to disguise herself as a man so she can join the military troupe – for me, they are also heroines,” she said.
The movie will be screened free of charge from April 26 to 30 at the National Cinema Centre.
Special events pay tribute to Dien Bien heroes
An array of cultural and art events will be held in Hanoi to mark the 60th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu victory and pay tribute to the Vietnamese heroes who laid down their lives in the battle.
The events aim to commemorate the contribution of armed forces and conscripted labourers and people serving the battle, especially General Vo Nguyen Giap, who was Commander of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign.
Since April 8, the organizing board has been receiving battlefield remembrances kept by the family and relatives of soldiers who were ever-present in the resistance wars against French and later American forces.
The remembrances will be presented to the Vietnam Women’s Museum on May 5. Before that date, photographs of the exhibits will be displayed at a touring exhibition called “Dien Bien Memory”, which will visit the the My Dinh National Convention Centre (NCC) in Hanoi (on April 26) and the Dien Bien Phu Victory Museum in the northwestern province of Dien Bien (April 28).
A special concert celebrating the Dien Bien triumph will take place at the NCC on April 26, featuring veteran revolutionary singers such as Tran Hieu, Trung Kien, Quang Tho and Thu Hien.
On the occasion, the organizing board will show documentary clips related to the Dien Bien Phu campaign in colour for the first time.
Israeli band to perform in Ha Noi tonight
The Israeli band Tararam will perform tonight in Ha Noi to celebrate the bilateral ties between Israel and Viet Nam.
Tararam will play original Israeli rhythms with a synchronised orchestra of recycled instruments. In its single-show performance at the Au Co Theatre, the Israeli artists will produce extraordinary sounds from everyday objects for the Vietnamese audience.
The various percussion instruments that will be used include tin cans, metal and plastic barrels, wooden chairs, spoons and drums, which will enthuse the viewers to respond by tapping their feet and clapping their hands.
Tararam has successfully made its way into the heart of Israeli culture by offering audiences an exciting and inspiring theatrical, musical and dance experience.
The band has performed in a number of International Music Festivals around the world and also at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and the 2000 World Expo in Germany.
Sketches reveal misery of war
Veteran artist Huynh Phuong Dong is celebrating his 90th birthday by displaying oil paintings, sketches, posters, and statues he created in the last several decades at an exhibition that opened in HCM City on Friday.
Most of works are about the American War, which ended in 1975. From his portrait sketches, he carefully selected 40 he did during the war and 60 he created later.
“During the war, doing a painting was difficult, but keeping it was much more challenging,” he told people who came to the exhibition.
“I buried at least two or three pieces in different places. I love to keep my works in metal boxes and bury them under termite nests so that no one can find them.”
Despite old age and sickness, Huynh Phuong Dong paints every day.
He has converted many of his 20,000 sketches into paintings.
“In the past sketches were not considered artworks, and so I had to slog to make them into paintings.
“But sketches are invaluable records of the war.
“Much material recorded during the war still remains, but I am not healthy enough to complete it all.
“I always ponder about the war and the misery of the people. But I could not record all of the misery and heroism of the Vietnamese people and soldiers.”
Besides, because of his age he regretted that he could not reflect upon all the developments taking place in Viet Nam after the war.
Nevertheless, the exhibition features paintings reflecting current developments and the Spratly Archipelago.
Huynh Phuong Dong, real name Huynh Cong Nhan, was born in Gia Dinh (now HCM City) in 1925.
He went to the Gia Dinh Painting College in 1940 before joining the revolution in 1945 in Soc Trang.
His first work was a portrait of President Ho Chi Minh.
Ma Thanh Cao, director of the HCM City Museum of Fine Arts, which is organising the week-long exhibition, said it took the museum and the artist’s family three months of preparations.
The museum is at 97 Pho Duc Chinh Street, District 1.
Festival dedicated to Bodhisattva opens in Bac Lieu
A festival dedicated to Quan Am (Bodhisattva) Nam Hai opened at the Statue of Bodhisattva area in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu on April 21.
As one of the four festivals recognised by the provincial People’s Committee in 2008, the festival annually takes place from the 22nd to 24th day of the third lunar month.
This year’s event is drawing a great number of visitors as it coincides with a national festival featuring the UNESCO-recognised performing art of Don ca tai tu (amateur singing).
The province has recently completed and put into use a number of works at the Statue of Bodhisattva area to serve Buddhist followers’ practices.
Can Tho celebrates Vietnam Book Day
Can Tho City Department of Culture, Sport, and Tourism hosted a contest “Book-Trustful Concomitant” at the Can Tho City Library on April 21.
The event had 33 speakers and 110 contestants. The speakers expressed the role of books to a community. They encouraged the development of reading as a tool for critical thinking.
The event held an exhibition displaying more than 1,200 books. This exhibition celebrates the 39th anniversary of the southern liberation, International Labor Day, the 60th anniversary of Dien Bien Phu Historical Victory, and the 124th birthday of President Ho Chi Minh.
Can Tho University of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Can Tho University, and Phuong Nam Cultural Joint Stock Corporation-Can Tho branch will work together to organize a book festival starting from April 21-May 1.
Books will be offered at a 10-30 percent discount during the exhibition.
Hanoi launches National Architecture Award 2014
The Vietnam Association of Architects held an opening ceremony for the National Architecture Award 2014 in Hanoi on April 21.
The event titled “Innovation and Development” will introduce new innovations of the year.
The board of examiners includes agencies of Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the experts and prestigious architect and the Chairman of Vietnam association of architects as chairman of board of examiners, reported by the organizers.
Vietnam association of architects announced eight projects recognized for Green Architecture Award.
On the same day, a photography exhibition highlighting architecture was held in Hanoi. The exhibition displays images of Dien Bien Phu Historical Victory celebrating the event’s 60th anniversary.
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