The Tale of Lady Thị Kính Production Countdown

How many people can you count? © Anvi Hoàng

—– Đọc bài tiếng Việt —– 

When the curtains are really rolled up for the premiere of The Tale of Lady Thị Kính by composer and librettist P.Q. Phan on February 7, 8, 14, and 15 of  2014, I guarantee that you will gasp. Why? Because this is the million dollars value production by IU Opera Theater. As you enjoy the show, keep in mind these numbers and you will appreciate it all the more.

60 instrumentalists in the orchestra

36 singers in the chorus

24 performers for two casts. Cast 1 perform on February 7 and 15. Cast 2 perform on February 8 and 14.

30 gongs in the two octave pitch gongs set are used in the orchestra. There are only a few institutions in the world and a few opera companies in the country in possession of this impressive set of gongs.

Tuned gongs.
Tuned gongs. © Anvi Hoàng
Glockenspiel and tubular bells.
Glockenspiel and tubular bells. © Anvi Hoàng

40 colorful belts are made by hand.

60 plus sets of costumes for the two casts and the chorus are made in the costume shop at IU Opera Theater, consisting of

300 plus costume pieces, including 150 for the chorus, 16 for each Thị Kính, 5 for each Thị Mầu, 7 for each Sư Cụ, 7 for each Sùng Bà, 6 for each Sùng Ông, 6 for each Lý Trưởng, 4 for each Vợ Mõ, 4 for each Nô, 6 for each Mãng Ông.

60 plus colors are used for the costumes.

costume 4
Hats of all shapes and in all colors! © Anvi Hoàng
costume 1
Costume for Lý Trưởng. © Anvi Hoàng
costume 3
Costume for Phật Quan Âm Thị Kính/The Benevolent Buddha Thị Kính. © Anvi Hoàng
© Anvi Hoàng
© Anvi Hoàng
costume 2
© Anvi Hoàng

5,000 bamboo sticks = 400 feet of bamboo of different types are used.

40 sticks of fresh bamboo newly harvested in Bloomington on Friday, January 24, 2014.

Fresh bamboo. © Anvi Hoàng
bamboo (2)
Bamboo panels. © Anvi Hoàng

2,000 feet of steel = 100 bars each 20 feet (6m) long.

100 sheets of plywood, each sized 4ft x 8ft (1.2m x 2.4m).

80 sticks of poplar lumber, each 16ft (4.8m) long.

100 sticks of pine lumber, each 16ft (4.8m) long.

40 plus platforms sized 5ft x 7ft or larger are built to create the floor.

100 gallons (378.5 liters) of paint.

41 sheets of foam, each sized 4ft x 8ft (1.2m x 2.4m).

Hundreds of items and materials go into making 50 plus hand props.

props 1
Some props (properties) for the market scene. © Anvi Hoàng
props 2
Some of the props for the wedding scene. © Anvi Hoàng

9 colorful drops, 5 of them in the size of 40ft x 50ft (12m x 15m) or 50ft x 60ft (15m x 18m), are created in the Paint and Props Shop: 2 textured ones, 1 orange, 1 green, 1 gold, 1 yellow, 1 pink, 1 cloud, 1 sun finale.

Hundreds of threads are separated from 50 yards of jute nets.

700 yards (640m) of muslin are used to make the drops.

200 yards (182.8m) of gold lame fabric are used to create the gold drop.

drop gold 2
Gold lame fabric. © Anvi Hoàng
drop gold
The gigantic gold drop being made. See how tiny ‘we’ are! © Anvi Hoàng
drop orange
The Fall – orange drop. © Anvi Hoàng
drop green
Huge bamboo panels and green drop. © Anvi Hoàng
drop sun
A corner of the floor, the walls, the sun drop. © Anvi Hoàng

Countless hours of labor from all the artists.

And uncountable creativity, passion, and commitment.


 © 2014 Anvi Hoàng

The Vietnamese version of this article has been printed and published online by the Viễn Đông Daily News. Read my online Vietnamese version.

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