The poems and music filled every corner of the concert hall. Emeritus artist Kieu Oanh sang the poem “Lovesick” accompanied by a Hue folk chant.
This poem was translated into Vietnamese and set to Hue music by members of the Dong Kinh Co Nhac troupe, who are dedicated to Vietnamese traditional music.
Musician Dam Quang Minh said, “Most of the poems performed in this show are from Henrich Heine’s collection ‘Romance’. What we did was to match the romance of the lyrics and the music as much as possible so that the performance would touch the audience’s hearts”.
The show also used cheo (opera theatre), chau van (ceremonial singing), tuong (classical opera), and other traditional genres, to convey the satirical humor and poignant emotions of unrequited love expressed in Heine’s poems.
People’s artist Thanh Hoi talked about her feelings singing those poems on stage: “The emotions expressed in German poems suit the various genres of Vietnamese traditional music. Satirical verses can go well with humorous xẩm singing, while nostalgic verses match certain chèo songs. We are happy to see the audience show emotions with us through different performances”.
Musician Vu Nhat Tan, a member of the Dong Kinh Co Nhac troupe and the show’s poetry editor, said, “Personally, I consider this show a great success. The German poems, translated into Vietnamese, combined with Vietnamese music nicely. They sound authentically Vietnamese”.
Tran Ngoc Quyen, who loves traditional music and used to live in Germany, said, “The show today was very exciting. Combining poems with traditional music is a new idea. The audience was delighted by the performance of different folk genres. The artists’ great efforts made the concert a success”.
Henrich Heine, Germany’s renowned poet, wrote many romantic poems that have been set to music. This poetry night at the Goethe-Institute was a celebration of Heine’s 220th birthday.