HCMC Ballet Symphony Orchestra & Opera calls for help
Conductor Tran Vuong Thach, director of the HCMC Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO), is seen at a meeting with local media to announce its Spring Summer 2017 season in HCMC on February 22 - PHOTO: KIEU GIANG
The HCMC Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO) on Wednesday voiced their complaints about the lack of facilities for its operations, saying they need support from authorities and the business circle to develop their art programs and to approach more audience.
Tran Vuong Thach, director of the HBSO, told reporters that starting from March, the theater will have a busy schedule to serve local and foreign art lovers. The first program to kick off the Spring-Summer 2017 season will be the “Requiem” concert by Anton Bruckner on March 9 at the HCMC Opera House. The concert is under the baton of renowned conductor Daniel Gazon from Belgium. This is the first time the Requiem by Austrian composer Anton Bruckner, one of the outstanding composers in the 19th century, is played in town.
The season will be followed by many programs in three fields of symphony orchestra, opera and ballet and especially the Autumn Melody 2017, a biennial art program featuring 11 programs of leading classic artists in Vietnam and around the world, from August 19-27.
Despite great efforts to build up its brandname and approach to audience, HBSO has had many difficulties and obstacles for its development. One issue of great concern is the lack of a private stage for art arrangement, practice and performance for some large-scale programs of the theater. Currently, three art troupes of orchestra, opera and ballet of HBSO have to rent different locations for practice and rehearsal. In some big concerts with the presence of two to three troupes at the same time, HBSO’s artists have to wait for their turns to prepare for the shows. Due to the lack of a private stage, artists are able to rehearse their performances in real settings only one or two times prior to the shows, and it’s a big challenge for the improvement of art quality of HBSO in general.
The old Thanh Van Theater in HCMC’s District 3 has been fixed to be a studio for the orchestra and opera for years. However, its poor conditions in every rainy season have made the storage of musical instruments of HBSO difficult and affected the facilities for practice of artists. In the meantime, the ballet has to rent a location at the Union of Literature and Arts Associations in HCMC’s District 3.
To maintain the quality for its programs, HBSO needs double staff compared to its current number of associates who receive salary from the city’s budget. Many artists are nearing retirement, and it’s urgent to prepare for future talent for the operation of the theater. However, HBSO has faced difficulties to attract more young talent due to the lack of budget.
Tran Vuong Thach said that the major income of HBSO comes from the ticket’s sales of its programs. Although the tickets have sold well, the theater doesn’t have enough budget to cover its operation. HBSO wants to cooperate with local companies and organizations to have more income to maintain its operations.
Thach also added that they wish to have more shows compared to three monthly performances at the HCMC Opera House. “It’s a pity as we wish to contribute more programs to local viewers but we are not able to do that. It’s urgent to have a theater for us to perform.”
During the meeting with local media, Thach and other leaders of HBSO also share their wish for the establishment of a new theater for HBSO to operate. It’s a paradox as a major art organization of the city like HBSO has no theater to perform.
During the past years, HBSO has received many offers from local and foreign investors for the project to build a new theater. However, the project is hard to carry out without the direction of local authorities.
Thach hoped to witness the groundbreaking ceremony of the new theater at the end of his working term in 2021, as the project is planned by the HCMC government to start in 2021 in HCMC’s District 2.