Art & Entertainment Headlines Dec. 4

Dang Chau Anh invited as a judge of Int’l Choir Competition

Dang Chau Anh will sit on the jury of the International Choir Competition in the Philippines from December 12-14.

Dang Chau Anh will sit on the jury of the International Choir Competition in the Philippines from December 12-14.

The invitation came from the Germany-based Interkultur Foundation which has regarded her as a successful art instructor for Vietnam’s SolArt Choir.

The only Vietnamese representative will work together with other jury members from Indonesia, Myanmar, the US, and the Philippines.

The coming event, entitled “Sing ‘n Joy Manila”, will see the participation of 45 choirs from many countries, including Vietnam, with the aim of healing the wounds caused by recent natural disasters in the host country and help local people improve their spiritual life.

As a teacher of the Vietnam National Academy of Music, Dang Chau Anh has won great applause from international experts. She has been invited to judge many prestigious music competitions, including the International Choir Competition in the ancient city of Hoi An in June 2013.

Dang Chau Anh recently visited Sweden in the framework of a cultural exchange project jointly conducted by the Malmö Academy of Music and the Vietnam National Academy of Music.

Interkultur plays in important role in promoting the cultural exchange, friendship and solidarity between people around the world through music festivals and contests organized in many countries.

Oldest stone stele found in Bac Ninh province

The northern province of Bac Ninh has discovered a stone stele dating back to 314 – 450 AD, which is considered the oldest of its kind in Vietnam.

Found in Thanh Khuong commune, Thuan Thanh district, the stele was broken into two parts, which experts say may be caused by the impacts of bombings during wartime.

According to Director of the provincial museum Le Viet Nga, the antiquity’s body is approximately two metres high, one metre wide and 15 centimetres thick. Its base is 30 centimetres high and 1.36 metres long.

The stele contains 300 readable characters written in different styles on each side. The two sides include characters indicating the years 314 and 450 AD.

In 2012, a stele dating back to 601 AD was also discovered in Bac Ninh and believed to be the oldest one at that time.

Photographic exhibition marks 40th anniversary of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic ties

A photographic exhibition opened in Tokyo in Japan on December 2 to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Japan and three decades of cooperation between the Vietnam News Agency and Kyodo News Agency.

On behalf of the Vietnamese embassy in Japan, minister-counselor Nguyen Phuong Hong highlighted the two news agencies’ efforts in organizing the important event. She said that the event aims to strengthen mutual understanding between the two peoples.

On display are 30 photos focusing on Vietnam’s economic, cultural, and social activities, which have been selected from the data storages of the two news agencies.

In his opening speech, Kyodo News Agency President, Masaki Fukuyama emphasized that Japan-Vietnam relations have developed strongly, particularly in the fields economic cooperation, cultural exchange and people-to-people diplomacy.

He expressed his hope that the event will contribute to consolidating the close friendship between the two nations and the two news agencies as some documentary photos bring into focus what happened during the anti-Vietnam war in Japan as early as in 1965, as well as former Prime Minister Phan Van Khai and former State President Nguyen Minh Triet’s visits to Japan in 2003 and 2007 respectively.

The exhibition is on public view in three months.

French Week in Da Lat

A French Week will take place in Da Lat city from December 9-15 as part of activities to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and France (1973-2013), announced Nguyen Tao, Director of the provincial Department of External Relations.

The French Week in Da Lat is co-organized by the French embassy in Vietnam and the central highland province of Lam Dong.

The event consists of a Da Lat through maps exhibition, the screening of four French films, the launch of a French-Vietnam bilingual book titled “Plagues and cholera” by French contemporary author Patrick Deville, a special show of Da Lat city at nights with photos taken by Sebastien Laval and a concert.

Hanoi showcases cultural space of village temples

An exhibition introducing the cultural significance of village temples in the northern delta region will be held in Hanoi from December 6-19.

The event will showcase interesting examples of local architectural and sculptural works as well as historical documents and photos of village temples in remote northern localities.

Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to experience the authentic atmosphere of rural temples and enjoy traditional ceremonial singing called Ca Tru, which has been recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage.

Leading experts in the fields of fine arts, history, culture and archaeology have been invited to give a seminar on the importance of preserving cultural heritage and provide constructive advice on how to uphold cultural values.

Every village in the countryside has its own temple that can be transformed into a venue for religious rituals and ceremonies during traditional festivals. For centuries, the village temple has functioned as both a communal house and a place of worship, dedicated to village founders and other notables perceived as the source of all wisdom.

More recently, the need to preserve the traditional values of village temples has become apparent, due to the increasing threat of rapid development and urbanisation processes.

HCM City hosts Bonjour Vietnam music festival

The French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam (CCIFV) will organise the biggest French street festival of the year on December 14-15 to mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The highlight of the event, to take place at HCM City’s September 23 Park , will be two live concerts, co-organised by District Music 360 and Dynamic Life and sponsored by, to promote French and Vietnamese music.

The concerts will include live performances from Vietnamese upcoming and famous artists and open to the public for free on December 14-15 from 8pm to 10pm.

Among the expected artists are Ho Ngoc Ha, Pham Anh Khoa, Phuong Vy, Trang Phap, Vmusic, Suboi, Dong Nhi, Thao Trang, Whitenoiz, Ha Okio, Andre Ngo Trio, and Ong Cao Thang.

Part of the festival will be market stalls erected to exhibit and sell French (imported or locally produced) and high quality Vietnamese products while offering some informative workshop, exhibition and games for all.

In the food corner, restaurateurs from Ho Chi Minh City will sell French or Vietnamese freshly made dishes and drinks.

Ticket booking is available on the website

Modern art reflects on ruined world

Tiffany Chung, one of Viet Nam’s most prominent contemporary artists, will have her new and recent works presented at two locations of Galerie Quynh from December 4 to January 10, 2014.

A gallery press release says the shows are part of a larger, ongoing series of works entitled The Galapagos Project, which confronts the current wreckage of the world by examining the aftermath of colonisation and modernisation.

At the Main Gallery at 65 De Tham Street, District 1, Chung will present two new maps, one based on flood predictions for the city in 2050, the other on defunct coal mines in Yamaguchi.

Also showing will be a two-channel video installation “portraying an allegorical fantasy imagining the end of the human race, and her ‘floating town’ that premiered at the Singapore Biennate in 2011,” the release says.

At the Downtown Gallery (Level 2, 151/3 Dong Khoi Street, District 1), she will show an archaeology project for future remembrance that reflects on Thu Thiem, the 657ha master plan for a new urban area in HCM City on the banks of the Saigon River.

The project is based on research done in collaboration with Erik Harms, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Yale University.

Chung has participated in numerous museum exhibitions and biennials around the world, including Sharjah Biennial (2013), UAE; California-Pacific Triennial, Orange County Museum of Art (2013), US; Welcome to the Jungle, Museum of Contemporary Art Kumamoto, Japan (2013).

Her upcoming projects will be presented at Carre d’Art – Musee d’Art Contemporain, Nimes, France; Lieu-Commun Espace d’Art Contemporain, Toulouse, France; AD&A Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, US; Chao Center for Asian Studies, Rice University, Houston, Texas, US; and Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Texas, US (2014).

Famous opera screened in capital

Ha Noi Cinematheque will host a screening of the well-known opera The Nightingale and Other Short Fables today in the presence of Canadian director Robert Lepage.

Known as one of Canada’s most honoured theatre artists and brilliant theatre directors of his age, Lepage made a grand entrance in the opera world when he staged the successful double bill Bluebeard’s Castle and Erwartung (1993).

Among his recent achievements in opera are The Nightingale and Other Short Fables (2009), the staging of which takes some inspiration from Viet Nam water puppetry.

Accordingly, the central design concept may come as a surprise: a water basin is placed in the orchestra pit. Puppeteers, singers and soloists handle the characters, symbolised by the various puppets. The choir will be around the pool and the orchestra will play on stage, behind the pool, while the conductor will be located stage left between the performing area and musicians.

Written by Stravinsky based on a tale by Hans Christian Andersen, the opera won France’s Claude Rostand Award in 2011.

The screening, followed by a discussion with the director, takes place from 3.30pm to 7pm at 22A Hai Ba Trung, Ha Noi.

Ancient caves hide secrets of the past

Findings from two recent excavations in central Thanh Hoa Province show the development of stone tools by early cave dwellers and their adaptation to climate change, according to scientists.

The excavations were completed last month by scientists from the Viet Nam Archaeology Institute and the Russian Academy of Science at Con Moong and Diem caves in Thach Thanh District.

“We found many animal bones, [snail, crab] shells and quartz-stone working tools in a 14 square metre excavation pit at Con Moong Cave,” Professor Nguyen Khac Su, a member of the excavation team, told Viet Nam News. “The 10 different layers of soil down to 9.5 metres in depth contain traces of early humans who lived between 60,000 and 7,000 years ago. This is one of the most intact and thickest continuously settled soil structure found at any site in Southeast Asia.”

Su said that sandwiched in the layers, fragments of bones and shells indicated changes in global climate and the adaptation of techniques for shaping stone tools. In some layers there were remains of animals that lived in hot weather and in other layers, there were traces of animals that lived in cold weather. There were also shells and bones that had shown adaptation to changing weather patterns.

In layers reflecting the different climatical ages, the stone tools were found to also have changed, reflecting human adaptation. As time went by, they tended to be more well-polished, flatter and made of less common types of stone, such as quartz.

Su said archaeologists had found a human skeleton buried in a bent, sitting position with a hand covering the folded knees and a hand on cheek, one of the earliest ways of burying bodies. The posture is also that of a baby in its mother’s womb. It is also similar to the way that some ancient Aboriginal people were buried in Australia..

At nearby Diem Cave, archaeologists uncovered burial sites, animal bones, stone tools and even primitive pottery objects. The cave is believed to have been the home of people of a different culture, because the bodies were interred in different ways.

At Con Moong Cave, human habitation was discovered in 1974, but extensive excavations did not begin until 1976. Since 2008, Vietnamese scientists began serious research at the site.

Russian experts joined the excavations at Con Moong and neighbouring caves in 2010 to compile a dossier that would encourage UNESCO to recognise the area as a World Cultural Heritage site. The joint-project will end next year.

VN theatre workers visit Japan, observe Japanese colleagues

A delegation of Vietnamese theatrical workers are visiting Japan between November 21 and December 5 as part of a Japan-Viet Nam theatre exchange.

The Vietnamese workers are from Ha Noi-based Tuoi Tre (Youth) Theatre and the Theatre and Cinema College.

During the visit, the delegation met with Japan’s leading theatrical artists, such as Tamotsu Wanatabe and Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, to learn traditional Japanese theatrical arts and about developing trends in contemporary Japanese performing arts.

The delegation has also been visiting Japan’s leading theatres, such as Sainokuni Saitama Theatre, Shiki Theatre, Ryuzanji Theatre, Marebito Theatre, and the New National Theatre.

The trip is part of a cultural co-operation project implemented by the Japan Foundation to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Viet Nam – Japan relations.

The project includes organising visits and exchanges to Japan for Vietnamese theatrical workers, training courses for performing artists, visits for sound and light technicians from the Youth Theatre, and financial support to equip technical facilities for the Youth Theatre.