A New Chamber Opera


Mila is an original chamber opera that explores the plight of Hong Kong’s domestic foreign workers through the tensions and relationships within a Hong Kong family—an American husband, his Cantonese wife, their son, and their domestic helper Mila from the Philippines. This hour-long opera features composer Eli Marshall, playwright and librettist Candace Chong, director Chu Hei Chan, conductor Neal Goren leading the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, and a cast of performers from Hong Kong, Manila, and the United States.

The four-member cast includes Manila-based soprano Stefanie Quintin in the title role, Hong Kong-born soprano Amanda Li as Ma’am, New York-based bass-baritone Joseph Beutel as Sir and Hong Kong-born soprano Joanna Shao as both The Boy and The Girl.

Co-presented with Asia Society Hong Kong.

Presented by Hong Kong Arts Development Council in collaboration with Asia Society.


Eli Marshall, composer
Eli Marshall’s orchestral works have been performed in seven countries, with other works premiered at the German Parliament, South Korea’s Gak-won temple, and the Smithsonian Institution. He moved to China in 2003 on a Fulbright Fellowship and in 2011 relocated to Hong Kong, where he remains a permanent resident. After his Unde Pendet Aeternitas for voice and orchestra (written for tenor Warren Mok and the Macau Orchestra) won ASCAP’s 2007 Kaplan Prize, Marshall contributed to the score for Wong Karwai’s 2008 Ashes of Time—Redux featuring Yo-Yo Ma. His music for Ann Hui’s The Golden Era (2014), featuring the London Symphony Orchestra and vocalist and sheng virtuoso Wu Tong, was nominated for Best Original Film Score at the 35th Hong Kong Film Awards. A recipient of the Douglas Moore
Fellowship for American Opera, he was the founding artistic director of the Beijing New Music Ensemble and currently holds a visiting faculty position at Cornell University.

Candace Chong Mui Ngam, story and libretto
One of the South China Morning Post’s 25 most inspirational and influential women in Hong Kong, playwright Candace Chong is a recipient of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council’s Best Artist Award for Drama in 2010 and a five-time winner of the Hong Kong Drama Awards for Best Script. Following a12-month stay in the U.S. facilitated by an Asian Cultural Council grant, she became the translator for David Henry Hwang’s 2011 bilingual Broadway comedy Chinglish and was featured in the 2013 Contemporary Chinese Playwriting Series co-presented New York’s Signature Theatre and Lark Play Development Center. Her 2012 play Wild Boar had its English-language premiere in Chicago in 2017. Chong’s 2005 play French Kiss was filmed as
Heaven in the Dark (2016) starring Jacky Cheung, and she adapted her highly acclaimed 2009 play Murder in San José for the screen as Fatal Visit (2018) starring Sammi Cheng. Her first opera libretto, for Huang Ruo’s Dr. Sun Yat-sen (2011), premiered in Hong Kong and later made its North American premiere in 2014 in a new production by Santa Fe Opera.

Chu Hei Chan, stage director
Chu Hei Chan graduated from the School of Drama, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 1991 with a major in Acting and was awarded the Advanced Diploma (Honours) in Performing Arts. After graduation, he furthered his theater studies at London’s Ecole Philippe Gaulier. In 1993, he co-founded Theatre Ensemble, where he has been a director, playwright and actor. He founded Horizon Theatre Studio in 2004, Theatre Horizon in 2006, and the Hong Kong People's Fringe Association in 2012. Currently Artistic Director of Theatre Horizon and Chief Coordinator of Hong Kong People's Fringe Festival, he has performed in major theatrical productions for various professional troupes in Hong Kong. He has won Best Actor and Best Director
(twice) at the Hong Kong Drama Awards, as well as a two-time Best Director for the Hong Kong Theatre Libre. Recent works as director include The Black and the Blue of a Man (North-East Village Edition), Century-Old Dreams of a Fishing Harbour Trilogy, The Garden Party (North-East Village Version), The Blue Bird, The Lu-Tings, Skylight and The Massage King.

Neal Goren, music director
Neal Goren is the founding Artistic Director and Conductor of New York’s
Catapult Opera, which opens its inaugural season in 2020–21. Previously, he founded Gotham Chamber Opera, conducting all of the company’s 18 productions including critically acclaimed runs of Haydn’s Il Mondo della Luna, Mozart's Il sogno di Scipione, Milhaud's Les Malheurs d’Orphée, and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (with period instruments). Guest conducting appearances include Respighi’s La bella dormente nel bosco for the Lincoln Center Festival and Spoleto Festival USA, Mozart’s Magic Flute at New York City Opera, and Britten’s Turn of the Screw for France’s Opera de Nantes and Angers. As a recital accompanist, he has collaborated with many of opera’s leading vocalists, including Leontyne Price (as her exclusive musical collaborator), Kathleen Battle, Harolyn Blackwell, Thomas Hampson, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Hermann Prey. He has been a member of the faculty of the graduate opera department of New York’s Mannes College of
Music since 1992, the Accademia Rossiana in Pesaro, Italy and the Harlem School of the Arts.

Hong Kong New Music Ensemble
Founded in 2008, the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble (HKNME) has been cited by CNN as “one of Hong Kong’s most progressive groups of musicians.” Widely praised for its innovative programming, the Ensemble’s productions include concerts, educational outreach events, and interdisciplinary collaborations and research projects with artists from different artistic fields. With a core of 15 members, performing in a variety of combinations and settings, the HKNME has performed both modern repertory, contemporary masterworks, and numerous premières by composers from Hong Kong and overseas, including many
commissioned by the HKNME itself. In addition to collaborating with such
organizations such as Zuni Icosahedron, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, and Guangdong Modern Dance Company, the HKNME has also organized events in partnership with the Hong Kong Arts Centre, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, and the Goethe Institute Hongkong. 

Sponsored by Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office New York, Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office San Francisco, and United Airlines.

Event Details

Sat 07 Dec 2019
3 - 4:15 p.m.

Angel Orensanz Center
172 Norfolk St
New York, NY 10002

Buy Tickets
$30 Members; $40 Students/Seniors; $50 Nonmembers
Add to Calendar 20191207T200000 20191207T211500 UTC Asia Society: Mila Angel Orensanz Center 172 Norfolk St New York, NY 10002