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White Snake Projects Presents Fractured Mosaics, an Online Operatic Response to Anti-Asian Racism (March 30; April 1 & 3)

(February 2023)— Cerise Jacobs and her activist opera company, White Snake Projects (WSP), present the world premiere of Fractured Mosaics, an operatic response to anti-Asian racism (March 30; April 1 & 3). Comprising four scenes – bound together by musical interludes – of Asian Americans establishing themselves in the United States, Fractured Mosaics features music by Nilo Alcala, Randall Eng, Benjamin Kono, and Liliya Ugay, and texts by their writing partners – Deepali Gupta, Monique Truong, Cerise Lim Jacobs, and Sokunthary Svay. Reflecting WSP’s continuing commitment to the live, socially distant streaming performance model it developed with such success in the early stages of the pandemic, Fractured Mosaics will be presented in three online performances, facilitated by WSP’s new invention, the software plug-in Tutti Remote, which allows live, synchronous performance from remote locations through the internet.

Underlying the theme of Fractured Mosaics is that even the term “Asian American” is a social and political construct that completely misses the kaleidoscope of cultures and politics of the 20 different ethnic groups that are encompassed under that umbrella and are geographically spread over more than half the land mass of the Earth. Inevitably, this large and dislocated mosaic of a population is often fractured; the production expresses the conviction that when it comes together it can nevertheless form something beautiful. A versatile four-member cast embodies the characters in all four scenes: soprano Angela Yam, mezzo-soprano Chihiro Asano, tenor Ziwen Xiang and baritone Junhan Choi. They are led by Music Director Tian Hui Ng and Stage Director Laine Rettmer, with projections designed by Pamela Hersch.

Composer/librettist team Nilo Alcala and Deepali Gupta have collaborated on a scene titled “Banana Ketchup.” The story concerns Simon, a young medical student of Filipino descent who meets his biological mother for the first time and bonds with her over a home-made bottle of banana ketchup, the quintessential Filipino condiment. Randall Eng and Monique Truong created “Norfolk,” in which a Chinese American physician muses on his younger self growing up in Norfolk, Virginia when it was rare to see Asian Americans except in restaurants and laundries. Ben Kono and Cerise Lim Jacobs contributed “Music Box Bird,” which tells the story of an Asian American woman discovering, through the metaphor of two songbirds, her inner power to overcome her restrictive upbringing and free herself. Finally, Liliya Ugay and Sokunthary Svay’s work, “We Meet by the Water,” concerns a daughter in New York City speaking with her mother in Cambodia through the water that separates them and will soon overcome the mother’s village; the piece additionally reflects on the impact of climate change on families around the world. Connecting the four scenes are Interludes written and performed by jason chu. A talkback with the singers and creatives follows each performance.

Tickets for Fractured Mosaics are pay what you can, starting at $0. Audience members should feel free to come as a guest of White Snake Projects, but for those able to pay, the suggested ticket prices reflect the work to deliver a fully produced, live opera experience online. Suggested ticket prices are $25, $55, $90, and $150, and tickets are available here.

About White Snake Projects

White Snake Projects (WSP) is an activist opera company making mission-driven work that unites artmaking with civic practice. It envisions a world where the power of opera expands the collective understanding of community and transforms lives through creative storytelling. The company’s most recent efforts have been devoted to the live digital productions of the Pandemic Trilogy: Alice in the Pandemic addressed the disproportionate strain of COVID-19 on communities of color and essential workers; Death by Life explored long-term incarceration and institutionalized racism; and A Survivor’s Odyssey dealt with the ongoing crisis of sexual and intimate partner violence. A critical element in the exploration of these themes is the establishment of authentic connections with thought leaders in social justice to ensure that the company’s creative work lives in an ecosystem of activism. WSP sees opera not just as performance, but as performance with purpose, a vibrant and vital art form that is also a champion of change.

White Snake Projects: Fractured Mosaics

March 30; April 1 & 3
Live Online
Fractured Mosaics
     Banana Ketchup (Nilo Alcala/Deepali Gupta)
     Norfolk (Randall Eng/Monique Truong)
     Music Box Bird (Benjamin Kono/Cerise Lim Jacobs)
     We Meet by the Water (Liliya Ugay/Sokunthary Svay)
     Interludes (jason chu)
Talkback with singers and creatives following the performances

Angela Yam, soprano
Chihiro Asano, mezzo-soprano
Ziwen Xiang, tenor
Junhan Choi, baritone

Cerise Lim Jacobs: OPERA MAKER

Milan Eldridge: STAGE MANAGER
Paola Almonte: ANIMATOR
Mengliu Lu: 3D MODELER
Senia Novak: 3D MODELER

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© 21C Media Group, February 2023


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