Mila Chamber Opera Debuts in San Francisco at the Wilsey Center for Opera

SAN FRANCISCO, December 12, 2019 — Mila, an original chamber opera commissioned by Asia Society Hong Kong, 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 featured 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.

Sung in English, Cantonese, and Tagalog, the four-member cast included 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.

Musical America called the San Francisco performance "an engaging work of art, one that also represents an act of inspired advocacy. According to current estimates, there are now more than 300,000 women working as domestics in Hong Kong...With Mila, they have been given a voice" (Rowe, Georgia, “New Opera Gives Voice to Ill-Treated Domestics in Asia,” Musical America, 18 December 2019).

The 60-minute opera was followed by a post-performance Q&A with the cast, creative team, and Alice Mong, Executive Director of Asia Society Hong Kong.  This discussion was moderated by Matthew Shilvock, General Director of San Francisco Opera.  

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

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