One more time we enter the Saigon Opera House. Slowly it feels familiar, especially since it is not as huge as some other opera houses we visited around the globe.
There are no hidden catacombs harbouring phantoms or forgotten requisite chambers. It feels comparatively small and cosy, yet it reflects some of the grandeur every (119 year old) opera house in the world has embedded in its foundations.
The foyer offers lemongrass tea and candied ginger as a refreshment before the show starts. Take your time to walk around and take a look at the parts of the Opera House that are accessible and sip your tea, or if you booked the best seats, a complementary glass of wine.
Once you take a seat, the lights get dim and the story begins.
The Sound is massive.
Buffalo horns and percussion instruments, approved UNESCO cultural heritage, create a rhythm that touches the archaic, wild part in the hidden corners of your heart. The legends of the Highlands that have been handed down from generation to generation are brought to life once again in the vivid and colourful way only a live performance can achieve. Romance in a moonlit forest, a tribal animal hunt, a legend of death and rebirth - it all comes with the unique twist of the ethnic culture and their traditional ways.
The choreography is truly masterful and draws you into the scenery and ambience so deep you sometimes feel like floating in an ocean of colour, movement and sound, and the agile and precise moves of the artists create an outlandish flow to forget time and space. Unless a phone rings, so please turn it off.
The colourful culture of the ethnic minorities in Vietnam's Central Highlands finds its vivid representation in Teh Dar, the newest performance by the makers of the AO Show in Saigon. Dance, music and acrobatic storytelling come together in a wonderful vision that grabs your attention from the first minute on until the very end.
To explain what I have experienced is almost impossible, because the created images in my mind cannot be described without crossing the borders and enter the forbidden zone of poetry. So let's stay prosaic here and just say you should see Teh Dar if you want to experience Vietnamese culture in the best possible way.
For those among you who have seen the original AO Show: The wow-factor of Teh Dar is at the same level, while the storytelling is different. The AO Show is a succession of short stories from all over Vietnam. Teh Dar is more like an evening where almost forgotten legends are told by the campfire, like one flowing story that changes its setting from time to time, yet still follows a common principle.
I strongly recommend that you take an evening off and immerse yourself into the mysterious, to outsiders like us usually close to invisible culture of the ethnic minorities from the Central Highlands.
It will change your perception, promise.
You can book the ticket in many ways, either you get it at the opera house, your trusted tour agency or right here at FoxTravels, just send us an email and Mrs. Sang will take care of it.
Sorry that I could not provide you with genuine images, but first of all things, photography is prohibited during the show and second, it was a nice evening and I did not bring the camera along anyway.
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