1. Lang Toi (My Village) by Lune Production
Venues: Ha Noi Opera House (1 Trang Tien Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi)/ Tuong Theater (51A Duong Thanh St., Hoan Kiem Dist.,)
Duration: about 1 hour
The show features poetic beauty of Vietnamese village life, using iconic bamboo, breathtaking cirque and exotic live music. It is well-organized, and included everything from funny moments to acrobatics and dancing. Typical activities of the farmers like fishing, farming and gathering are performed gracefully by professional artists. Audience will enjoy an amazing contemporary circus performance with stunning acrobatics, graceful contortion and top-noted juggling, in combination with exotic live folk music of 20 different instruments.
Highlight of the show is the wondrous bamboo transformation. The bamboo tree has long been associated closely with Vietnamese people, and played a very important part in their life. Bamboo used to be materials to build houses, make furniture and other useful everyday items. During the war, villagers sharpened bamboo trees and used them as weapons to fight against foreign invaders and protect their hometown. In this show, performers gracefully use bamboo to reflect peaceful rivers, mountains or fierce battles, rendering memoirs of the ancient Viet Nam.
2. Viet Nam National Tuong Theatre
Address: 51 Duong Thanh Street, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi
“Tuong”, the classical drama, is the most classical, scholarly drama of Viet Nam, and the oldest traditional performance art in the country. Consisting of singing and dancing accompanied by music, the art has been developed for hundreds of years, and is highly stylized and filled with symbolism. The main folk music instruments for Tuong performance are drums, gongs, wooden bell, flute and many others stringed instruments.
The Viet Nam National Tuong Theatre offers a number of different types of drama from historical, classical dramas to modern dramas. A performance is divided in multiple scenes, which include acting, music and dancing. The artists wear their special costumes (sometimes weighing up to 10 kilos), and use their entire body, from the fingers, the elbows to the muscles to perform movements on stage. They must have a very strong voice to sing and dance at the same time and express rich and subtle emotions of the characters. The show a very interesting and cultural experience, and gives insight into historical Vietnamese culture, which is definitely worth going to especially since it’s in a decent price and that it is really good for getting a better insight into Vietnamese culture. There are subtitles on a screen, so you will still get a grip of the performance without understanding the Vietnamese language.
3. Ca Tru show in an ancient temple
Venue: Kim Ngan Communal Temple (42 Hang Bac Street, Dinh Kim Ngan Temple, Hoan Kiem District)
Estimated duration: about 1 hour
Ca Tru (ceremonial singing) is considered a folk music treasure of Viet Nam. This is complex form of sung poetry found in the north of Viet Nam using lyrics written in traditional Vietnamese poetic forms. A Ca Tru troupe comprises three performers: a female singer who sings and plays the clappers or striking a wooden box at the same time; two instrumentalists who produce the deep tone of a three-stringed lute and the strong sounds of a praise drum. In 2009, Ca Tru was officially recognized by UNESCO as the World's Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.
Live Ca Tru singing is performed 3 nights a week in Kim Ngan, a 400 years old temple in the Ha Noi Old Quarter. This is an unforgettable experience, as visitors enjoy the unsophisticated music in an old, historic temple with traditional instruments, skilled performers and accompanying dance, including the breath-taking finale (for several songs). You will be amazed how the instrumentalists play with little instruments, and how the female singer with their breathing techniques and vibrato create unique ornamented sound.
4. The Heritage Show Viet Nam
Venue: 19 Ngoc Ha, Gate 4 - Ho Chi Minh Museum, Ba Dinh District
Suggested duration: around 1 hour
The show uses traditional folk music to reflect the daily life of Vietnamese people in the Northern Delta countryside of the 90s decade. This is really a good choice to understand more about the Vietnamese culture, since it does represent for cultural beauty in tradition. The show combines three following art performances: 20 different kinds of bamboo instruments, singing in ancient musical styles (“Ca Tru” and “Quan Ho”) with contemporary elements, and dancing (both traditional and modern dancing).