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Hat Boi: Vietnamese Classical Opera

Hat Boi: Vietnamese Classical Opera

A lecture/demonstration by Mrs. Ngoc Bay, the only Hat Boi performer in the United States

Friday, February 25, 2005
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
The Green Room
1230 Schoenberg Hall
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Hat boi, the Vietnamese classical opera, (called Tuong in the northern part of Vietnam), has 500 years of history.  Its stories are taken from the history and mythology of Vietnam and China.  Originally a court art, hat boi has been performed for popular audiences as well.  Because of the popularity of more modern theatrical genres such as cai luong, hat boi, which involves esoteric conventions and symbolic expressions, has declined in recent years.  In Vietnam it is now primarily performed for tourists.  In the United States, it is not performed at all.

Hat boi is extremely difficult to perform and requires special training in the art form.  It involves singing with distinctive vocal production techniques, symbolic gestures, and the use of props, and requires coordination with instrumental musicians.  Mrs. Bay will discuss and demonstrate her experiences as a hat boi performer and teacher for nearly three decades.  The demonstration will include different vocal techniques to express various emotions, symbolic actions, gestures, the use of props, and the makeup required for different characters.  It will also touch on changes that have occurred in pedagogical training of hat boi performers over the decades.

Mrs. Bay studied hat boi at the Saigon National Conservatory of Music between 1960 and 1964, and joined the faculty in 1967.  During twenty-five years of teaching until 1992, when she moved to the United States, she not only trained innumerable numbers of hat boi actors and actresses, but also performed herself on stage of the general public and at schools for educational purposes.  Today she is the only professional hat boi performer living in the United States.  UCLA appreciates her willingness to share her art form.

Co-sponsored by the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology

Parking in UCLA's Lot 2 costs $7.

Cost : Free and open to the public.


Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Ethnomusicology