I’m still thinking a lot about the theatrical treat that Germans, via Goethe, gave us last weekend at Nha Hat Lon. I watched Parcifal and Merlin walk through the valley twice, once down near the front, just behind the VIPS, and again perched up much higher so that I could get a bird’s eye view of all that excellent staging and choreography.
Apart from it being a great theatrical experience I hope that it becomes a template for a lot of local productions in future, whether they be opera, dance, drama or even those extravaganzas that accompany sport, political and cultural festivals.
It’s not often that the very talented Vietnamese theater writers, directors, dramaturges, composers, musicians, choreographers, singers, actors, dancers, stage designers and technicians have the opportunity to participate from go to whoa with world renowned colleagues….not just told what to do but to be actively and intellectually consulted and their considerable expertise utilized. It must have been a fascinating process to witness and the end result couldn’t have been better.
The seemingly unwieldy European Parzival legend was a lesson in adaptation and transformation that could be applied to so many of Vietnamese myths and legends as it was with last year’s French directed dance premiere of ‘Love in the Citadel’ where contemporary dance was stimulating, choreography stunning and stage sets and lighting simply gorgeous. In Parzival a new and higher peak was climbed and honored with singers who could not only sing well, but act more than convincingly; dancers who could dance sublimely and also act very well; and actors who fused local and European styles beautifully.
The set was winner with its minimal bareness that I hope becomes a trend in Vietnamese ballet and dance and opera and brings local stage setting and design into a non kitschy or overdone 21st century.
From the beginning, when the red cloth was pulled up to cover the stage like a flood of blood, I was captivated and entranced. Before it all ended with redemption and a sigh of relief from Merlin, I had tears in my eyes…..for excellent performances, for a wonderful libretto and score….and also for the possible future of theater in Hanoi.
Any reservations I have about the show pale into pettiness when I contemplate how replete I still feel a week later.
To single out anyone on stage for adulation would be silly because it was a superb ensemble performance and only congratulations can be handed out.
I can’t leave out bravos for those magnificent musicians so cunningly and effectively placed on stage behind a scrim curtain. What a great lesson for them and what a beautiful aural reward for any classical music lovers.
Thanks again you far sighted and creative Germans…….a brilliant end to a brilliant year of German involvement in the Vietnamese cultural scene.