Meritorious Artist Tran Ly Ly: Convincing audiences to enjoy academic arts

Friday, 2019-08-09 12:17:40
 Font Size:     |        Print
 

A scene in the concert 'Around the world' (Photo: thethaovanhoa.vn)
 Font Size:     |  

NDO – The tickets for the concert ‘Around the World’, held in March, were sold out, which recognised the efforts made by the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet (VNOB) to bring academic arts to the music market.

The organistion of programmes with more flexible structures has been the direction that Choreographer, Meritorious Artist Tran Ly Ly, the VNOB’s acting Director, chose to bring academic arts closer to audiences. She granted an interview with a Nhan Dan Monthly reporter on this.

Q: Vietnamese audiences used to enjoy ballet, in particular, and music – dance – drama plays, in general. Have these audiences disappeared over time?

A: Developed countries have paid much attention to academic art works, such as opera, ballet and symphony. Many major nations require a strict training process for these kinds of arts. They are also put into the general education programme, which can be considered as the first step to create future audiences and find the next talents.

In Vietnam, the academic arts also possessed loyal audiences a few dozen years ago. However, now people have too many choices for entertainment and they have gradually hesitated to come to the theatres to enjoy ballet and chamber music.

Q: "Around the world" is a mixture of ballet, opera and symphony. Did the creation attract the attention of audiences and intrigue professionals?

A: Audiences do not buy tickets to enjoy the content of a ballet that they have known, but rather to see how different the artists’ performance are. This is the unique feature turning ballet into a living art form.

However, in fact, in developing countries, not everyone has a deep knowledge of academic arts. During the process of arranging the ‘Around the World’ concert, I had to choose beautiful classical music pieces that are accessible to most people. Good feedback from audiences is the driving force for me and the theatre to continue our path.

However, ‘Around the World’ was only an effective way to access to the audiences. The VNOB has always kept the main mission and vision.

Q: How does the lack of human resources affect academic art programmes?

A: When enjoying famous classical ballets, audiences only see the sparkling, noble and romantic beauty of artists. However, behind the stage, they have to breathe tiredly and sweat profusely, while blood is oozing from their foot.

The dancing shoes, worth millions of Vietnamese dong, are used only a few times before the artists must buy new ones. Meanwhile, their incomes are quiet low. A main actor or actress earns only a few million Vietnamese dongs per month from working for the theatre, while enterprises operating in arts can pay them up to tens of millions of Vietnamese dongs. Therefore, many artists have left the theatre. I have been trained methodically since I was very young and had opportunities to learn in developed countries. I really hope that there will be human resources for this art form from education and training facilities in the country.

Q: In your opinion, how can we attract more audiences to this "fastidious" art form?

A: The first thing to do is to promote the need to enjoy academic arts right from the schools. In developed countries, students get to know and learn about arts early and specifically. For example, in an entrance exam to a university in Australia, contestants were asked to write an essay on the latest artwork that they saw.

However, it is a long-term solution. The immediate thing is to create special artworks that can attract audiences of different ages but keeping the classical features of the academic arts. We should actively provide access to the audiences. A classic work can be divided into small parts, enough for people to understand part of the art. A work that is too long can overload the audiences’ minds and they feel bored. Just like a very long book, we only read around ten pages every day. Through this approach, it will create habits and curiosity in enjoying art works.

When I first returned to the country after my time studying abroad, I only set the stage for original classic art works like what I had learned at university. I was shocked for two years because I could not find the right way. Now I see that everything is possible thanks to the flexibility in art activities. The “path” can be longer and more crooked, but reaching the final target is the most important thing. We need to find harmony instead of keeping the old methods. I hope the audiences will be interested in the VNOB’s programmes and willing to buy tickets for enjoyment rather than waiting for free ones.

Q: Recently, you have participated in many TV game shows. How do the experiences from these programmes help you in bringing academic arts closer to audiences?

A: Thanks to participation in game shows, I can get closer to the audiences and know more about their demands. Thereby, I can study new art works which are suitable for the majority of audiences. For example, in the context of strong international integration, it is essential to invite really talented names to create success for a programme. Conductor Dong Quang Vinh, Master in orchestra conduction from Shanghai Music Academy (China) accepted my invitation to return to the motherland and has significantly contributed to the country’s music. I have also promoted the VNOB’s image through developing the theatre’s website, facebook and links with television and newspapers.

I want to show my passion and confidence to convince my partners and fellow artists. When they believe and love their trade and respect their honour, they will create breakthroughs for theatre’s development.

Meritorious Artist Tran Ly Ly (right) at a training session with the theatre's artists

Choreographer, Meritorious Tran Ly Ly graduated from the Queensland University, Australia, in 2003. She also participated in many international contemporary dance festivals in Hong Kong (China), the Republic of Korea, Australia, France, Germany and Poland. She was voted by the Forbes Magazine as one of the 50 most influential women in Vietnam in 2018.