Seattle JACL invites community members to attend the free upcoming panel “Asian American Arts Leaders respond to Madame Butterfly” at 2 p.m., July 9th at Cornish Playhouse (201 Mercer St., Seattle, WA 98109). Due to a large expected attendance, the venue may change; RSVP to the Facebook event page for updates.
EVENT DESCRIPTION (from Seattle Opera):
Most opera companies present the opera “Madame Butterfly” because of Puccini’s beautiful melodies. But not everyone can see themselves in this story. As a historically white and European art form, opera has a history of using cultural appropriation to tell stories, and placing more emphasis on the voice in casting. Thus, prior to its performance of “Madame Butterfly” this August, Seattle Opera will hold a panel discussion featuring API artists, community leaders, and activists that will be moderated by Frank Abe, co-founder of the Asian American Journalists Association in Seattle.
Seattle Opera knows it has work to do in to better reflect and welcome Seattle’s communities of color, including the Asian Pacific Islander community. The panel is not meant as a solution to aspects of “Butterfly” that are hurtful or problematic—instead, it’s meant to provide a listening and learning opportunity for Seattle Opera and members of our community. No topic will be off limits in this candid and honest discussion covering cultural appropriation, harmful portrayals of API people in art and entertainment, and a way forward for classical art forms such as opera. Opera is an art form often caught between long-standing traditions, such as mounting popular works by well-known composers, and the need to adapt to better serve diverse people. All are welcome to attend! (Please note: the event may be live-streamed).
Frank Abe (Moderator) is a film director and producer, and a co-founder of the Asian American Journalists Association in Seattle. He was also a founding member of the Asian American Theater Workshop in San Francisco. A former reporter for KIRO Newsradio, Abe currently serves as strategic communications advisor in the King County Dept. of Transportation.
Angel Alviar-Langley (a.k.a. “Moonyeka”) is a queer Filipina-American street-styles dancer who utilizes art creation and organizing to realize a more inclusive and intersectional world for the communities she comes from. Her current projects include “WHAT’S POPPIN’ LADIEZ?!” an ethnographic research project and community event series focused on the female popping experience. The 2nd Annual WPL?! convention will happen July 28th-30th. Moonyeka is also a choreographer and dancer of Au Collective – a dance collective that puts women, queer folks, and POC at the forefront.
Kathy Hsieh is an award-winning actor, writer, and director. As an actor she has worked in film, audio, and theatre including the Seattle Rep, Book-It, ACT, Intiman, Seattle Public Theatre, ReAct, Living Voices, Theater Schmeater, Freehold, Live Girls!, 14/48 Productions, ArtsWest, and more.
Matthew Ozawa has an international career spanning all artistic disciplines having worked for prestigious companies worldwide including Canadian Opera Company, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Siam, Macau International Festival, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Additionally, Ozawa is the Founder and Artistic Director of Mozawa, a Chicago-based incubator advancing collaborative art and artists.
Roger Tang is a veteran theatre producer of over four decades who began working with folks like Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang and Philip Kan Gotanda. As a playwright, he’s written The Jade Con, Shadowed Intent, Truth and Lies, Third Generation Heritage and Mac ‘n Dex. Called the “Godfather of Asian American theatre” by A. Magazine, he is a recipient of a 2016 Equity Award from the Equity In the Entertainment Industry Symposium at Stanford University, and is a member of the national board for the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA) where he chairs the membership committee. He is also is the Literary Manager for SIS Productions, the Executive Director of Pork Filled Productions and edits the Asian American Theatre Revue, the web’s foremost resource on Asian American theatre (www.aatrevue.com).