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Japan-Việt Nam opera project select main performers

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HÀ NỘI — Organisers of the “Princess Anio” joint-opera project between Japan and Việt Nam have announced the main actors and actresses.

The project celebrates the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Việt Nam.

The main actors and actresses who will take part in the project are singers Đào Tố Loan and Bùi Thị Trang (female soprano) for the role of princess Anio, while two male tenors, Kobori Yusuke and Yamamito Kohei will take the role of Japanese businessman Araki Sotaro.

According to Yamada Takio, Japanese ambassador to Việt Nam, the opera is based on a real story of the love of Japanese merchant Araki Sotaro and Princess Ngọc Hoa [called Princess Anio by Japanese] in Hội An, Việt Nam, during the trading era of the Shuinsen in the early 17th century.

During the Nguyễn Dynasty in Việt Nam, Princess Ngọc Hoa was the daughter of Lord Nguyễn Phúc Nguyên who reigned from 1613 to 1635.

Singer Đào Tố Loan (left) and Bùi Thị Trang sing at the press conference to introduce the main artists. —  Photo Lê Hương

Since ancient times, Japan and Việt Nam have had a strong relationship as reliable and equal partners. By making an opera based on this, the project aims to create a work that will become a symbol of the deepening relationship between the two countries.

In the story, Araki goes to Hội An to trade and meets the princess. They fall in love and get married. In 1620, he takes her to Nagasaki, where locals like her due to her beautiful appearance and gentle character.

She calls him “anh ơi, anh ơi” in Vietnamese, so locals nickname her Princess Anio.

Today, locals still stage a palanquin procession ceremony to welcome Princess Anio at Nagasaki Kunchi Festival in Nagasaki.

Conductor Honna Tetsuji is the general director for the project, while Trần Mạnh Hùng is the composer.

Oyama Daisuke was the playwright for the Japanese, while Hà Quang Minh wrote the Vietnamese.

Artist Ando Saeko is the image director, artist Oyama Daisuke, the director, and there will also be artists from the Việt Nam National Symphony Orchestra, Việt Nam National Opera and Ballet Theatre and Art Creation JDC.

Researcher Phan Hải Linh serves as historical consultant.

The ambassador hopes the opera will become a cultural work signalling the importance of the 50th anniversary and help people understand the age-old close ties between the two countries.

“Four hundred years ago, there existed a good relationship of the two equal partners with mutual trust,” he said. “Through this opera based on a real story, we want to create an artwork, which is like a bridge to enhance two countries’ relations in 50, 100 and many more years.”

Playwright Oyama Daisuke said the opera had four parts. The first two parts are in Vietnamese, while the remaining two parts are 70 per cent in Japanese and 30 per cent in Vietnamese. The opera will have subtitles in Vietnamese, Japanese and English.

The production team will continue to cast artists for other roles.

The opera will be performed officially in September 2023 and then will be performed in Hồ Chí Minh City, Đà Nẵng and Hội An.

Main actors

Singer Đào Tố Loan graduated from VIệt Nam National Academy of Music in 2014. She got a master’s degree in performing in 2016. She sings opera, traditional semi-classical, folk and pop. She has received various domestic and international prizes.

Bùi Thị Trang (Trang Bùi) works as a singer at the Việt Nam Opera & Ballet Theatre. In 2018, she took a master’s degree in vocal performing at the Việt Nam National Academy of Music. She has acted in the main roles in various opera projects such as The Magic Flute (Mozart), Carmen (Bizet), Người Tạc Tượng (Statue Carver) (Đỗ Nhuận) and Les Miserable (Victor Hugo).

Conductor Honna Tetsuji at the press conference. —  Photo Lê Hương

Artist Kobori Yusuke graduated with the highest scores in the vocal field and opera vocal training course at the Japan National Academy of Music. He has joined various training programmes in Italy and Canada.

Artist Yamamoto Kohei graduated with an MA and the highest scores from the Tokyo Arts University. He has won various national and international prizes. 

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/life-style/1208958/japan-viet-nam-opera-project-select-main-performers.html

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Dong Nai beauty crowned Miss World Vietnam 2022

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Huynh Nguyen Mai Phuong, a 23-year-old beauty from southern province of Dong Nai, was crowned Miss World Vietnam 2022 during the pageant’s finale held in Quy Nhon City on Friday evening.

Phuong surpassed 36 other candidates from across the country to win the title in the final round of Miss World Vietnam 2022, which took place at the MerryLand Quy Nhon, Quy Nhon City, Binh Dinh Province, south-central Vietnam.

With the height of 1.7 meters and body measurements of 82-63-92 centimeters, the Dong Nai contestant is a billingual anchorwoman at the Vietnam Television who used to be in the top 5 of Miss Vietnam 2020 and the winner of Miss Dong Nai University in 2018.

A bird’s-eye view of the finale stage of Miss World Vietnam 2022. Photo: Kieng Can / Tuoi Tre
A bird’s-eye view of the finale stage of Miss World Vietnam 2022. Photo: Kieng Can / Tuoi Tre

Phuong scored 8.0 out of 9.0 on the coveted IELTS test.

Aside from winning the grand title of Miss World Vietnam 2022, the beauty also received the Beauty Talent award.

Throughout the finale, Phuong was constantly hailed for her impressive runway skills and was singled out for Top 9 Sport Beauties, Top 5 Fashion Beauties and Top 6 Brave Beauties.

The new beauty queen impressed the audience with her beautiful posture, fluent English, outstanding academic results, and confident answer during the highly-anticipated Q&A session.

The top five of Benevolent Beauties. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre
The top five of Benevolent Beauties. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre

In the pageant’s finale, Le Nguyen Bao Ngoc, a representative from Can Tho City, was named the first runner-up, while Nguyen Phuong Nhi, from Thanh Hoa Province, was the second runner-up.

Judges of the beauty contest included journalist Tran Huu Viet, who acted as the main judge, Miss Vietnam 1992 Ha Kieu Anh, Miss Vietnam 2018 Tran Tieu Vy, Miss World Vietnam 2019 Luong Thuy Linh, famed singers Le Quyen and Minh Hang.

In particular, Miss World 2021 Karolina Bielawska participated in the finale of Miss World Vietnam 2022 as an honored guest.

She was also the one who asked questions for the behavior test of the top 2.

Huynh Nguyen Mai Phuong in her swimsuit during the swimsuit performance of Miss World Vietnam 2022. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre
Huynh Nguyen Mai Phuong in her swimsuit during the swimsuit performance of Miss World Vietnam 2022. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Thirty-seven contestants’ first competition was an Vietnamese traditional dress ao dai performance. These collections are influenced by the province of Binh Dinh’s traditional art forms, culture, and landscapes.

Le Nguyen Bao Ngoc answers the question during the Q&A round. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre
Le Nguyen Bao Ngoc answers the question during the Q&A round. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre
Contestants of Miss World Vietnam 2022 during the Vietnamese traditional 'ao dai' performance. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre
Contestants of Miss World Vietnam 2022 during the Vietnamese traditional ‘ao dai’ performance. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/ttnewsstyle/20220813/dong-nai-beauty-crowned-miss-world-vietnam-2022/68570.html

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South Korean singer releases music video promoting Vietnam’s tourism

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South Korean singer Joseph Kwon on Wednesday released his latest music video – an ode to popular tourist attractions across Vietnam in commemoration of 30 years of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and South Korea.

Ta Quang Dong, deputy minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and Ha Van Sieu, deputy director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, were among those present at the music video premiere, which was held in Hanoi.

During the ceremony, Joseph Kwon officially released two songs, Butterfly Flakes and Waiting For You, 5000 Years, both of which he composed and performed.

The music video for Waiting For You, 5000 Years was shot between May 17 and July 12 at landmarks in several Vietnamese provinces including Hanoi; Cuc Phuong National Park and Trang An Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh Province; Ba Be Lake in Bac Kan Province; Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province; Ho Chi Minh City; Mui Ne Ward, Phan Thiet City, Binh Thuan Province; Sa Pa Town, Lao Cai Province; Da Nang City and Hoi An Ancient Town in Quang Nam Province.

“I hope after watching my intricately produced music videos filmed in 19 provinces in Vietnam, many Koreans and friends from around the world will recognize the beauty and charm of Vietnam,” Kwon said during the ceremony.

“Therefore, they will travel to Vietnam to experience the culture and the people’s warmth.”

Kwon has been a fan of Vietnam since childhood and has lived and worked in the country for more than three years.

A conductor at the Korean Cultural Center in Hanoi, Joseph Kwon has composed several songs praising Vietnam, including Go Vietnam Go Go in 2020; You Are in My Heart, which were released in Vietnamese, Korean, and English; and Peace – a song written to honor Vietnamese cuisine. 

Kwon’s songs have been featured on Vietnamese national television over 50 times.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/ttnewsstyle/20220813/south-korean-singer-releases-music-video-promoting-vietnams-tourism/68556.html

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Vietnam’s LGBTI+ campaign to support same-sex marriage reboots after nearly a decade

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The Institute for Studies of Society, Economy, and Environment (iSEE), in collaboration with Vietnam-based LGBT+ rights group ICS Center, re-launched the LGBTI+ campaign Toi Dong Y (I Do) 2022 in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday in the hope of garnering social support for same-sex marriage in Vietnam.

Under the theme Hon nhan khong khuon mau (Marriage without model), the campaign will host activities from August to September with the aim of boosting public support for same-sex marriage in Vietnam.

The first iteration of the campaign was held in 2013 and was considered a resounding success, culminating in the abolishment of Vietnam’s ban on same-sex marriage in 2014 – a landmark event owed, in part, to a 12,000-signature petition submitted by Toi Dong Y to Vietnam’s National Assembly. 

Vietnam neither prohibits nor recognizes same-sex marriage now.

In addition to hosting discussions at ten universities across the country about gender equality, publishing the first book about same-sex marriage in Vietnam, and publishing research on the positive economic and societal effects of legalizing same-sex marriage, this year’s campaign aims to gather 250,000 signatures in support of same-sex marriage through the toidongy.vn website.

Though same-sex marriages generally receive a great deal of attention and support from the community, homosexual couples continue to face many barriers given that their matrimony is not awarded the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual wedlock. 

A representative of Toi Dong Y 2022 signs the event banner at the campaign’s opening event in Ho Chi Minh City on August 10, 2022. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News

A representative of ‘Toi Dong Y’ 2022 signs the event banner at the campaign’s opening in Ho Chi Minh City on August 10, 2022. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News

Longstanding cultural norms and assumptions of what constitutes a ‘legitimate family’ do give way to prejudice and discrimination.

Speaking at an event hosted by Toi Dong Y, Nguyen Lang Mong, team leader of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), addressed the pressure placed on parents of homosexual children to ensure their happiness.

“The process of parents recognizing their child as a member of the LGBTI+ community is arduous and stressful,” Mong said.

“There are families that take as long as ten years to embrace their child’s [sexual orientation], and some never accept their child’s sexuality.

“When an LGBTI+ child brings a partner home to meet their parents, the pressure on the parents increases due to concerns about the child’s happiness and the acceptance of their sexual orientation by other relatives.”

Luong The Huy (left), director of iSEE Institute, and Ngo Le Phuong Linh (right), director of ICS Center, deliver a speech at the opening event of Toi Dong Y 2022 in Ho Chi Minh City on August 10, 2022. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News

Luong The Huy (left), director of iSEE Institute, and Ngo Le Phuong Linh (right), director of ICS Center, deliver a speech at the opening of ‘Toi Dong Y’ 2022 in Ho Chi Minh City on August 10, 2022. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News

Mong also pointed out that fully legalizing same-sex marriage will likely lead to a more tolerant view of LGBTI+ individuals and, therefore, more widespread acceptance by their families.

Minh and Hoang, a same-sex married couple who have been living together for over ten years, shared that being unable to make an important life decision for each other due to legal restrictions is a constant source of anxiety.  

“If my spouse needs surgery and the doctor asks a relative to sign a medical power of attorney, then I have no rights,” Minh said.

According to Ngo Le Phuong Linh, a representative of Toi Dong Y, homosexual spouses will continue to face numerous obstacles as long as their rights differ from those awarded to heterosexual spouses.

Linh stated that these obstacles relate to legal procedures, civil status documents, real estate ownership, shared property, and legal representation for lovers and spouses.

Vietnamese celebrities representing Toi Dong Y 2022 deliver a speech at the campaign’s opening event in Ho Chi Minh City, on August 10, 2022. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News

Vietnamese celebrities representing ‘Toi Dong Y’ 2022 deliver a speech at the campaign’s opening in Ho Chi Minh City, on August 10, 2022. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News

For many members of the LGBTI+ community, the opportunity to marry their lifelong partner was once an inconceivable fantasy.

The 2014 Marriage and Family Law was a significant milestone when, for the first time, positive signals were sent to the LGBTI+ community in Vietnam.

However, to reach the true goal of equality, the LGBTI+ community needs the backing of the entire society.

“There is no foundation for declaring that the model family must consist of one man, one woman, and children,” said Nguyen Thi Minh, a participant in the ‘Toi Dong Y’ 2022 campaign.

“This model is oppressive.

“Numerous nations, including France and the United States, have already accepted same-sex marriage.”

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/ttnewsstyle/20220811/vietnams-lgbti-campaign-to-support-samesex-marriage-reboots-nearly-a-decade/68544.html

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