Unexpected Destiny: Infamous Vietnamese Poem Meets Classic Western Choreography

“The Tale of Kieu” is an epic Vietnamese poem about the tragic life of Thuy Kieu, a talented, young woman who sacrificed herself to save her family by marrying a middle-aged man only to be sold into prostitution by him instead.

Based on this sorrowful story, Vietnamese-French composer Nguyen Thien Dao and the Vietnam Opera Ballet Theatre have created an 80-minute contemporary opera ballet entitled “Dinh Menh Bat Chot” (“Unexpected Destiny”). Kieu’s story will be presented in the form of dream sequences – Dream 1 and Dream 2 – and will feature opera (1 soprano, 2 baritones, 1 bass), ballet, poem recitation, choir, dramatic play, video art, symphony orchestra, and even rock music.

This will be the first time that composer Nguyen Thien Dao takes a traditional Vietnamese piece and modernizes it for the contemporary audience. Prior to this, he had composed over 80 musical works and won multiple awards, including the Olivier Messiaen Award for Music Composition from the Foundation Eramus de Holland and the Chevalier des Artist et de Lettres du Government Francais from the French government. His work have been performed extensively in Europe as well as internationally.

“Unexpected Destiny” is scheduled to hit stages starting April 2012.

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3 Comments

    1. Hi Olivia,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I remember watching the Red Lantern as a ballet at Zellerbach Theatre awhile back. Shortly thereafter, the Chinese story was made into a film, which received international attention. Perhaps, the Tale of Kieu, first as a ballet, may also result in an equally widespread audience and expose more people worldwide to the classic Vietnamese poem.

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