New opera, “Mila,” about Hong Kong’s domestic workers

Posted on: December 12, 2019

“Anyone who has been watching the news lately is aware of the cultural and political complexity of Hong Kong, and in a way, the city itself is a character in the 70-minute chamber opera Mila,” writes Lisa Houston in Sunday’s (12/8) San Francisco Classical Voice. The opera, by Hong Kong playwright Candace Chong Mui Ngam and composer Eli Marshall, was performed December 7 in Manhattan and will be performed December 12 in San Francisco, with the Hong Kong New Music ensemble conducted by Neal Goren. “Mila tells the story of a Filipina woman named Mila … one of the thousands of so-called ‘domestic helpers.’…. ‘In Hong Kong, we don’t have daycare, so a lot of us will have a domestic helper, if we can afford it, otherwise the elderly take care of the kids,’ says Chong…. The story was [also] drawn from … the book Strangers at Home, which depicts some of the struggles of domestic workers…. The characters include Mila and the couple she works for, Sir and Ma’am, as well as the couple’s son. Ma’am is Chinese, Sir is an English speaker, and Mila, as are the majority of domestic workers in Hong Kong, is Filipina.”

Posted December 12, 2019