Community News & Events

Welcome to CHINATOWN

Preserving the legacy | Telling the story

A new opera by Madeleine Thien • Alice Ping Yee Ho • Paul Yee
starring Spencer Britten • Vania Chan • Erica Iris Huang
Derek Kwan • Starring Matthew Li • Emma Parkinson
Mary Chun, music director and conductor • Desdemona Chiang, stage director

City Opera Vancouver’s new opera 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. CHINATOWN will be presented in a staged concert format. Not a word or note is omitted. We offer an orchestra of ten, including the dizi, erhu, and guzheng. There are six leads, and a chorus of eighteen. Supertitles are projected in Traditional Chinese and English. The opera runs two hours, with one intermission.

The inspiration for CHINATOWN lies in our history, a great neighbourhood and its people, and its resistance against racism – both historical, and resurgent today.

Tickets are only $20, $40, and $60, and available at

CHINATOWN runs at the Vancouver Playhouse, Hamilton x Dunsmuir, at 7:30pm on 13, 14, 15, and 16 September, and at 2pm on Saturday 17 September.