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CultureThursday, 03/03/2005, 07:08

Cai luong

The harmonious combination of Vietnamese culture and the characteristics of the Oriental and Western cultures is the art of cai luong, a traditional form of opera of the south of Vietnam, especially Saigon. A study of this art form gives some understanding of the mix of these three cultures
Cai luong


Cai luong
 


Cai luong actors

The harmonious combination of Vietnamese culture and the characteristics of the Oriental and Western cultures is the art of cai luong, a traditional form of opera of the south of Vietnam, especially Saigon. A study of this art form gives some understanding of the mix of these three cultures.

Cai luong came into being less than 100 years ago. In its infancy, cai luong was under the decisive influence of two forms of stage performance: the Vietnamese traditional tuong, a form of opera, and French modern drama. The Vietnamese tuong bears the characteristics of the Asian stage with scenarios and plays for self-expression, French drama is typically European, with Aristotle-style works. Therefore, cai luong also has two different kinds of plays but both have the same source of music. The music styles for cai luong are densely national and can express all kinds of moods of the characters, enabling the artists to sing and gesticulate in the Vietnamese or French styles. 

During its process of development, music styles for cai luong have been supplemented with folk music. When it was in contact with China�s Guangdong opera and Western modern music, cai luong selectively absorbed and nationalized some to enrich the current sources of music. As well as adopting modern music styles, the cai luong band uses modern musical instruments. Vietnamese artists renovated the Western violin, mandolin and guitar by making concave frets to create new tones and melodies. To date, the concave-fret guitar is the main instrument for cai luong and it has become a national instrument of Vietnam.

In HCM City, you can enjoy the art of cai luong at theaters or in weekend musical programs on television.


 


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