The opera is produced by the Rochefort-based Winterreise Theatre Company and its partners — the French Embassy in Vietnam, the French Institute in Vietnam, and the Centre for Arts and Culture Studies and Application — to mark the 50th anniversary of Vietnam-France diplomatic relations.
The production evokes a thousand years of history of Vietnam and its link with France, both countries from which the playwright Hữu originates.
The five-act work revolves around Antonin, a grandson of Rosaline, a Vietnamese woman who left Sài Gòn in 1958 with her children to join her husband in France.
Rosaline’s daughter, Louise, has little memory of her childhood in Sài Gòn [now Ho Chi Minh City] since she grew up in a new country and forgot her native country.
Louise’s son, Antonin, tries to rediscover the family memory through his grandmother’s stories, old photographs, and books.
The opera will feature baritone Guy Elliott as Antonin, soprano Anne-Marine Suire as Rosaline, mezzo-soprano Léa Bao Ngoc Badillo as Louise, and other French and Vietnamese artists.
The work will also have the participation of Vietnamese cải lương (reformed opera) artists Nguyễn Thị Tú Quyên and Lý Trung Tín.
The opera’s music is composed by Benjamin Attahir, focusing on Vietnamese traditional music performed by musicians such as Trần Trọng Trí with đàn bầu (monochord), Mai Thanh Sơn with đàn nguyệt (moon-shaped two-chord guitar), and Nguyễn Thị Hải Phượng with đàn tranh (16-chord zither).
Attahir began learning the violin at a very early age and then became passionate about composition.
His works are played by various ensembles and orchestras such as the Orchestre National de France, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Tokyo Sinfonietta.
He is frequently invited to festivals such as the Gaudeamus Festival in the Netherlands, the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.
Playwright Hữu is also a poet and director. Alongside studying literature at the University of Paris, he pursued musical training at the Amiens National Regional Conservatory, which led him to serve as artistic coordinator of the Théâtre du Châtelet from 2006 to 2008.
He then created his own theatre company Winterreise, where he directed plays such as Three Dramas for Marionettes by Maeterlinck, and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges (The Child and the Magic Spell) by Maurice Ravel.
In 2021, Hữu was a laureate of Villa Saigon, an artistic residency program initiated by the French Institute.
The performance of the opera Paysage Dans L’oubli, which is available with Vietnamese and French subtitles, will begin at 4 pm at 7 Lam Sơn Square in District 1.
The opera will be later staged at 7 pm at the Ho Guom Theatre in Hanoi on November 28.
Tickets for the show are available at ticketbox.vn.