Hát tuồng

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Costumes as warlords for Tuồng in Hue in 1874
Theatre actors from Nam Dinh in 19th century Vietnam.
For the Vietnamese fermented soybean paste, see Tương.

Hát tuồng (also called hát bội, or simply tuồng) is a form of Vietnamese theatre. Hát tuồng is often referred to as classical "Vietnamese opera" influenced by Chinese opera.[1] In Southern dialect this is equivalent with hát bội.[2]

Tuồng is distinct from the older hát chèo genre of Vietnamese theatre which combines dance, song and poetry, and the more modern cải lương folk musical.


It is believed that tuồng was imported from China around the 13th century when Vietnam was warring against the Mongol Yuan Dynasty. A famous actor named Lý Nguyên Cát (李元吉) was imprisoned by the Vietnamese. The imperial court asked him to spread his knowledge of Chinese theatre to the children of the elite, thus explaining how tuồng had first had its beginnings in Vietnam in the royal court.[3] Later on, it was adapted to travelling troupes who entertained commoners and peasants. Along with Hát chèo, tuồng was one of the other highly popular art forms for commoners.

Storylines and makeup[edit]

Stories in the opera tend to be ostensibly historical and frequently focus on the rules of social decorum, and can include legends from either the history of China or Vietnam. Tuồng employs the use of stock characters who are recognizable from their make-up and costumes, which are typically very elaborate and extravagant.


  1. ^ Bobbie Kalman Vietnam: The Culture 2002 Page 8 "Hat tuong is classical Vietnamese opera."
  2. ^ Transnationalism and Society: An Introduction - Page 267 Michael C. Howard - 2011 "Vietnamese Opera The Vietnamese have a variant of Chinese opera known as hat tuong in northern dialect and hat boi in southern dialect.
  3. ^ Theater & Art - Hat boi- 100

See also[edit]