Born from an artistic vision to showcase the cultural highlights of northern Vietnam, The Quintessence of Tonkin blends skillful performers, a mermerising set, delightful water puppetry, a stunning light show, an evocative soundtrack and the Thay Mountain into a breathtaking open air spectacle that is both emotive and uplifting.
"real life performance"
With the celebration of the history of northern Vietnam and the preservation of traditional water puppetry at its heart, The Quintessence of Tonkin is also an emotive expression of the ancient union between religion and monarchy. The show is romantic, poetic and emotional, and brings a breath of fresh air and stirring excitement to Vietnamese entertainment.
The entire show is performed on water, and local farmers and their families from the Sai Son Commune in the Quoc Oai area — just outside Hanoi — were trained for two years to bring the extravaganza to life. A replica of the famous Thuy Dinh pavilion from the Thay Pagoda complex, complete with lake and bamboo forest, is the setting for this lavish production. Even the Thay Mountain half a kilometre away is an integral part of the set. With its inspired use of modern entertainment technology, no expense has been spared to bring this creative vision to life.
The Quintessence of Tonkin performers comprise two troupes: the farmers and their families from the local village who have trained for two years, and junior and senior dance students from Vietnam Dance College.
The farmers are passionate performers and have an inherent artistic ability that translates into an authentic artistic expression. The dancers from Vietnam Dance College have been professionally trained and bring youth, vitality and vibrance to the show — the perfect vehicle to hone their skill as performers. Together, the farmers and dance students bring the show to life in a compelling visual performance.
The Quintessence of Tonkin is located away from the hustle and bustle of central Hanoi in the Quoc Oai district, just over 20 kilometres west of the city. In tranquil countryside, with the Thay Mountain as the backdrop, the spectacle draws inspiration from the Thay Pagoda in nearby Sai Son village — one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Vietnam — and which you are encouraged to visit.
The stage is large enough to accommodate all 250 performers at once and is permanently submerged under 10 centimetres water. This allows for a unique theatrical displays and provides an unusual canvas for Vietnam’s more striking cultural treasures, such as water puppetry and dragon boat racing, to be creatively portrayed.