People’s Artist Bach Tuyet, a precious gem of Cai luong

Chia sẻ

(VOVWORLD) - Bach Tuyet, 78, an artist of the Vietnamese folk music genre - cai luong or reformed opera, has been honored on Forbes’ ‘50 Over 50: Asia 2024’ list of influential Asia-Pacific women. Bach Tuyet was introduced by Forbes as a ‘household staple’ in Vietnam, famous for iconic cai luong performances. Her name was associated with many classic cai luong works during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Tuyet has been called ‘a precious gem of Cai luong’.

People’s Artist Bach Tuyet, a precious gem of Cai luong - ảnh 1People’s Artist Bach Tuyet (Photo: Ha Phuong/

Bach Tuyet got to know Cai luong or reformed opera when she was 16. She has performed in more than 500 plays in her 60-year career. In the early 1960s Tuyet was well-known for playing the lead role in a number of plays, including “Dark leaves and pink threads”, and “The falling leaves season”. In the 70s and 80s, Tuyet played the roles of Queen Mother Duong Van Nga, Kieu Nguyet Nga, Miss Luu, and Thuy Kieu.

According to her colleagues, in each of Bach Tuyet’s performances she gave 100%. Artist Thanh Loc said: “Bach Tuyet is excellent in her roles as a modern girl. Her fashion style in hippy clothes identifies a person who wants to highlight herself. Tuyet made a deep impression with each role. In her time, there were many Cai luong artists, but Bach Tuyet distinguished herself with her style. Tuyet has continuously renewed her life as well as her career, which can be clearly seen in the roles she has played.”

Bach Tuyet wrote scripts under the pen name Nguyen Thi Khanh An and has directed hundreds of Vong co and Tan co giao duyen songs which are the two main genres of Cai Luong. In the 1990s she explored experimental theatre, performing solo in the plays “Queen with two kings”, and “Tran Nhan Tong”.

“Many Cai Luong artists didn’t distinguish themselves when they moved from cai luong to the cinema. But Bach Tuyet became a phenomenon performing plays on the theatre stage in Ho Chi Minh City. Her unique acting style made her a charismatic star of the stage,” said Thanh Loc.

Entering university at the age of 40, Bach Tuyet earned a bachelor's degree in literature. In the 1980s, at the peak of her art, she was sent by the State to Sofia, Bulgaria, to study, and graduated as a stage director in 1988. That year she was awarded the title Emeritus Artist. Seven years later, she earned a PhD degree from the British Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and became the first and only cai luong artist in Vietnam with a PhD degree. Tuyet said: “The cai luong artist bears a special responsibility to the nation. As a cai luong artist, I must enrich my knowledge to help later generations understand and appreciate the values of Vietnam’s traditional theatre art.”

Bach Tuyet was awarded the title People's Artist when she was 60. Now, at the age of 79, Tuyet is still working hard creating content for social media. She spends four hours a day studying online and learning foreign languages. She is interested in working with young people and sharing the latest trends of Vietnamese and world music. She has released several cai luong plays that adapt modern music to appeal to young people.

People’s Artist Bach Tuyet, a precious gem of Cai luong - ảnh 2People’s Artist Bach Tuyet and singer Hoang Dung in the MV “Listen to the mother’s lullaby” (Photo: 

In 2022, Bach Tuyet worked with singer Hoang Dung on the song “Listen to the mother’s lullaby”, which became a phenomenon on the Vietnamese musical stage. Last June she collaborated with rapper Wowy on the song “The last ray of light” which combines rap music and cai luong.

“I mixed Trinh Cong Son’s music and tan co – a new genre of Cai Luong  and received a positive response from the audience for delivering Trinh’s literary message against a background of reformed opera. I was moved when I covered the song “Rain sister” because the lyrics are lovely and condensed. The contemporary lyrics give a twist to cai luong, bringing it closer to contemporary life and reaching a wider audience,” said Tuyet.