The Ho Xuan Huong’s poetry recital was exquisite. John Balaban did a great job of reading the translations while Ngo Thanh Nhan provided his intricate finger-picking zither (dan tranh) playing to enhance the experience. Nguyen Boi Co lends a slightly dark and dramatic of her voice to Ho Xuan Huong’s poetry. Her northern accent combined with her emotional expression on the first line from “Lay Chong Chung” (“On Sharing a Husband”) – “Chem cha cai kiep lay chong chung” (“Screw the fate that makes you share a man”) – gave the audience a feel as if Ho Xuan Huong was reciting it herself.
I also had a great time at the dinner afterward and got a chance to meet all three of them as well as two young filmmakers from NYC who are working on the documentary of Vietnamese women. Sounds like an interesting project and I would love to see it.