Asian Heritage Month-CFACI | Virtual Museum of Asian Canadian Cultural Heritage (VMACCH)


Chinatown | Alice Ho’s new opera and the Chinese Canadian Archive at Toronto Public Library

30 May 30 2022 | 6 p.m. | Toronto Reference Library | In Person

Event poster

This opera is significant, as it is the first-ever Hoisanese opera. Hoisanese is the dialect predominantly spoken by Chinese Railroad workers.

Co-presented with Toronto Public Library

Opening Remarks:
Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library
Justin Poy, Honorary Patron, Asian Heritage Month-CFACI

The Chinese Canadian Archive at Toronto Public Library
Arlene Chan, historian and curator

The new Chinatown Opera
This opera is significant, as it is the first-ever Hoisanese opera. Hoisanese is the dialect predominantly spoken by Chinese Railroad workers.

Presenters:

Performance of musical excerpts from the new opera:

“CHINATOWN is a story of family and neighbourhood, racism and resistance, history and tomorrow. In two acts and two hours it examines six characters, two families, and a chorus of male ghosts, from the building of the CPR through to our own times. It deals with violence and despair, the Head Tax, the Exclusion Act, paper sons, and paper promise. It is a Western opera, but incorporates Chinese themes, sounds and sensibilities. And it is a love story.

The inspiration for CHINATOWN lies in our history, a great neighbourhood and its people, and its resistance against racism – both historical, and resurgent today.
Please join us, and bring the people you love.” City Opera Vancouver

The opera will be premiered in September 2022 in Vancouver. Composer Alice Ho generously brings a preview of this opera to Toronto.

Event video

Scenes from the Chinatown Opera by the Chinese Canadian Photographic Society of Toronto: Peter Lau, Ken Pau, and Shelley Chin

Event co-organizers: Asian Heritage Month—Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc.; Toronto Public Library; York Centre for Asian Research, York University; Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto; York University; Richard Charles Lee Canada Hong Kong Library, University of Toronto; Chinese Canadian Photography Society of Toronto; WE Artists’ Group; Social Services Network; Cambridge Food and Wine Societo

Asian Heritage Month Festival is partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Asian Canadian Artists in Digital Age is funded by Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategy Fund 

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