Between 1910 and 1940, as new immigrants flowed through the immigration station on Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay, Chinese immigrants faced massive discrimination because of America’s earliest racist immigration legislations. This captivating one-act music-theatre performance tells their stories.
Building on the earlier Page Act of 1875 which banned Chinese women from immigrating to the United States, the Chinese Exclusion Act was the first, and remains the only law to have been implemented, to prevent all members of a specific ethnic or national group from immigrating to the United States. Being held for sometimes up to years in brutal conditions at the detention centre on Angel Island, many of these immigrants looked for solace by inscribing poetry onto the walls that confined them.
Composed by Huang Ruo, the music of Angel Island is inspired by the Chinese poems carved on the wooden walls of the detention centre, and the events and stories emerging from California, North Atlantic Ocean, NYC and Hong Kong from the era in which the legislations were passed. Tackling perennial and global issues of xenophobia, sexism, and systematic racial and gender discrimination, Angel Island weaves a story of immigration, discrimination, and confinement - bringing history into the reality of our current lives.
For SIFA, Huang Ruo has developed the work as a music theatre performance together in a dynamic collaboration with Singaporean performance director and multimedia artist Brian Gothong Tan, who will lend inventiveness and visual layering to deepen the dramaturgy and dramatic potential of the work. This iteration of Angel Island features San Francisco-based Del Sol Quartet performing in collaboration with award-winning modern choral ensemble Taipei Chamber Singers.