People’s Artist Tran Bang, the grand old master of Cheo

(VOVWORLD) - People’s Artist Tran Bang is known for his great contribution to the development of Cheo (Vietnamese traditional opera). He is called the grand old master of Cheo and is a renowned Cheo director, composer, and researcher. Bang’s efforts have promoted Cheo inside and outside Vietnam. He passed away this month at the age of 97, from an illness.

People’s Artist Tran Bang, the grand old master of Cheo - ảnh 1People’s Artist Tran Bang. (Photo: VOV)

Born into a family with a literary tradition, People’s Artist Tran Bang was predestined to Cheo art. 

In the spring of 1953, at Tan Trao revolutionary base in the northern province of Tuyen Quang, Bang wrote his first Cheo script “Sister Tram” and set up a performance of the play. President Ho Chí Minh and other Party and State leaders were at the premiere, which was a source of great pride for him.

In his career of more than 50 years, Tran Bang made a great contribution to collecting and restoring old Cheo works, composing, and doing research on the art form. Quan Am Thi Kinh (Goddess of Mercy), directed by Bang in 1957, is considered a classic work of Vietnam’s Cheo stage.

Tran Bang achieved success with many other Cheo plays, including Suy Van (Ms. Suy Van), Luu Binh-Duong Le (a story of selfless friendship), Tong Tran-Cuc Hoa (a love story between husband and wife), and To Hien Thanh (a high-ranking mandarin in the royal court). 

In addition to restoring old Cheo plays, Bang composed many contemporary Cheo scripts. Thanks to Bang’s talent and dedication, Cheo began to flourish.

Bang’s son, Director Tran Luc, said, “My father dedicated his whole life to the Cheo art form. During his career he directed and produced many Cheo plays, including ‘Quan Am Thi Kinh’ (Goddess of Mercy) and ‘Suy Van’ (Ms. Suy Van), which are considered timeless works of the Cheo stage.”

People’s Artist Tran Bang, the grand old master of Cheo - ảnh 2People’s Artist Tran Bang, and his son, Director Tran Luc. (Photo: VOV) 

People’s Artist Tien Tho, former Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and former Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Stage Artists, said, “Thanks to Tran Bang’s contribution, Cheo developed from an amateur art form into a professional one. At first, Cheo was performed at communal houses. Bang brought it to the mainstream stage.”

At the age of 80, Tran Bang wrote a book titled “Tran Bang – a Cheo director” which accumulated his knowledge, experience, and critical theories of the Cheo art form. It has become a reference book for Cheo artists.

“Tran Bang is a dedicated Cheo artist, mentor, and director. He helped spread the popularity of the Cheo art form,” said playwright Chu Thom.

People’s Artist Tran Bang received a Ho Chi Minh Award for Literature and Arts for his great contribution to the Cheo art form.