Possibly the oldest sung form of Northern Vietnam, cheo, is still performed regularly in Hanoi. The Cheo theatre opened in 2002 and ever since has staged two performances a week, on Fridays and Saturdays.
But in September, the theatre will be open five nights a week including Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There are also plans to put on displays of traditional ceramic, lacquers, embroidery and bronze products from local craft villages.
Some of Vietnam’s top cheo artists, such as luminaries as Xuan Hinh, Xuan Hanh, Thuy Mui, Mai Huong and Thu Huyen – most of whom have won prizes at national contests – appear here regularly.
Each performance includes six or seven extracts from well-known cheo dramas, many of them celebrating old-time heroes. The evening usually starts with offerings of the mildly narcotic betel leaf and tea.
Seats on the upper level cost VND40,000 while the others are VND50,000; buy them at the theatre. Unfortunately, no English translations are available. (see Cai luong)
Cheo Theatre15 NGuyen Dinh Chieu St., Hanoi