Mr. Ky said his play was inspired by the legend of To Thi who carried her child to the border to wait for her husband’s return and eventually turned to stone. The legend extols the faithfulness and dignity of Vietnamese women.
“To Thi was the name given to a stone situated at the farthest end of the country which suggested a faithful wife waiting for her husband to return from a foreign battlefield,” Mr. Ky said.
The drama draws in the audience at the very beginning with a sentimental lullaby.
The lullaby evokes the sadness of the wife’s missing her soldier husband. When she is informed that her husband has died on the battlefield, she continues to believe that he is still alive somewhere deep in the forest or on a faraway mountain and decides to take her child and look for him. On her journey through forests and over mountains to find her husband she meets the play’s other characters.
“According to the legend, after she learned of her husband’s death, To Thi brought her child to the border and waited for him. But in this drama, the author created a space for the story to continue by showing that the wife does not believe her husband is dead and sets out on a journey to find him," said Tran Thi Thu Hoai, an audience of Hanoi.
"During the journey, she meets people of other regions and other cultures. She asks each person she meets for information about her husband and the reply takes different forms - reformed opera, cheo theater, Xam singing, and Hue chanting” she added.
The opera’s directors - People’s Artist Thanh Ngoan and Emeritus Artist Trieu Trung Kien - creatively used four folk genres to suggest the cultural contrasts between the places she came to.
Director Kien, who is Deputy Director of the Vietnam Reformed Opera Theater, said: “We had to arrange every detail very carefully to make the drama go smoothly. Within just 90 minutes, the audience can admire the beauty of the story’s four genres. I think it is this factor that makes the drama so attractive.”
Le Thi Bich Hong, who also has seen the opera, said: “The drama is moving. Four folk genres arts are merged to heighten the drama. This is the first time I’ve seen such an effective combination of folk genres. The story honors the dignity and beauty of women and their faithfulness.”
The 90-minute drama has a cast of 60 artists of the Vietnam Reformed Opera Theater, the Vietnam Cheo Traditional Opera Theater, and the Voice of Vietnam Theater.