Various Artists

Vietnam: Court Theater Music

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The Vietnamese Court Theater called Hat Bôi was codified at the beginning of the 14th century. During the 19th century, it became a popular theater, especially in the south of Vietnam. Although there might be some similarities with Chinese theater (i.e., the topics of the plays, falsetto voices, and bright-colored costumes and makeup), the similarities are only on the surface. The music, the instruments, the songs, the declamatory styles, and many other aspects of that particular theater are totally different from Chinese theater. This very particular theater may be disconcerting for an untrained Western ear, but it admirably shows the great artistic originality of Vietnamese people.

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