cai luong,southern folk music
Cai luong artists performed during Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Talented Performers 2020, a national traditional music contest organised by the HCM City Television and HCM City Theatre Association. — Photo courtesy of the organiser  

Eight gold medals for best actors were presented at the event’s prize presentation ceremony before 500 guests at HCM City Television’s Theatre Hall.  

The winners were from leading art troupes in HCM City, Hanoi and the southern provinces of Bac Lieu, Ca Mau and Long An. 

Winners Le Thanh Thao and Vo Thanh Phe, both of whom work for Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre in HCM City, performed in a special cai luong (reformed opera) style during the two-month contest.

Actress Thao performed a famous extract from Bão Táp Nguyên Phong (Storm in Thăng Long Citadel), a historical play featuring patriotism and courage, in the final round. She played a female general who served at the Thang Long Citadel under the Tran dynasty (1225-1400). Her voice, dance and performance skills captured the character well. 

cai luong,southern folk music
Actress Le Thanh Thao of the Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre won a gold medal for Best Artist at the national traditional music contest Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Talented Performers 2020in HCM City on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of the organiser)  

Thao gained lessons from her mother, veteran actress Thanh Loan of Minh To Troupe, one of the region’s leading cai luong theatres in the 1950s-60s. 

“I have worked to create new styles in singing and dancing to lure young people back to cai luong, a 100-year-old traditional theatre of the South,” Thao said. “I will try my best to maintain my family’s artistic tradition.”

Thao’s main competitor, actor Phe, played a lead role in Con Cò Trắng (White Stork), a production about southern farmers and their challenges in modern society today. Phe, playing a poor farmer, captured the beauty of southern culture and lifestyle.

“I gained new experiences from my competitors during the contest,” said Phe, a son of Long An Province who faced challenges to develop his career.


Phe began his career in 2008 after winning first prize at the Chuông Vàng Vọng Cổ (Golden Bell) Contest, a national competition for amateur and young cai luong artists launched by Radio the Voice of HCM City People. 

He performed in small art troupes in southern provinces before working for Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Theatre. 

The Talented Performers 2020 contest, was organised by the HCM City Television and the HCM City Theatre Association. It attracted about 400 candidates who performed vong co (nostalgic tunes) songs and cai luong plays.  

cai luong,southern folk music
The contest Tran Huu Trang Cai Luong Talented Performers 2020 was organised by the HCM City Television and HCM City Theatre Association. (Photo courtesy of the organiser)

Its semi-final rounds took place in HCM City, Can Tho and Hanoi in September. Twenty finalists worked with skilled performers, such as People’s Artist Bach Tuyet and Meritorious Artist Vu Linh, who were invited to help them improve their art.

All performances aired live on the HTV9 channel, serving millions of viewers around the country. 

According to People’s Artist Tran Ngoc Giau, who was the head of the contest’s jury, the contest began in 2000 and has discovered new talents in theatre.

“This year, young and veteran artists were encouraged to introduce new performance styles to expand the art among audiences, particularly young people,” he said.  

Twelve silver medals were also presented to male and female artists, as well as titles for Favourite Performer and Youngest Talent.  VNS

By Thu Anh 

Cai luong contest begins final round in HCM City

Cai luong contest begins final round in HCM City

The national traditional music contest, Chuông Vàng Vọng Cổ (Golden Bell) 2020, has completed in HCM City to find young talents in this traditional music genre from all three regions the North, Centre and South of the country.