Immortal Labia is an American Asian futurist jazz opera. It’s the year 5029, and two-headed androgynous humans of the future (who are now an asexual reproductive species) discover that the human race used to consist of more or less two sexes. Way more excited about female anatomy and reproductivity, and women’s ability to get pregnant, they decide to research the history of womanhood around the world and across time and give a report as they understand it. Starting from ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, they move on to New England in the 1800s, the U.S. in the 2030s (particularly focusing on three Asian American Weird Sisters), Iran, Afghanistan, India, and beyond. Through their research, we see ways in which the female experience has evolved (or not) and discover how humans metamorphosed into their present form in the year 5029.
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Composer, bandleader and pianist Alan Chan recently received the 2023 IDEA Grant from OPERA America, to develop his new opera Immortal Labia, in collaboration with New York City-based librettist Victoria Moy. He was the winner of the first ASCAP George Duke Commissioning Prize in 2015. His imaginative composition Denali World was premiered by the 67-piece Symphonic Jazz Orchestra in 2017. He is also a winner of the ArtEZ International Jazz Composition Contest (the Netherlands, 2011), Percussive Arts Society Composition Contests (2004, 2008), together with fellowships from Konstnärsnämnden (Sweden) and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. For more than a decade, he has been presenting original music with his 17-piece Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra (ACJO), which is comprised of top studio/jazz musicians in Los Angeles. Their debut Shrimp Talealbum (2014) received rave reviews and radio plays across the U.S. ACJO and his small band Alan Chan Moo-sic Group appear in Los Angeles venues such as the Baked Potato, Vibrato Grill Jazz, Brand Library and the Huntington, as well as New York City’s Stone NYC and ShapeShifter Lab. In recent years, Alan Chan began to collaborate with Chinese instrumentalists to explore the possibility of merging jazz, improvisation and traditional Chinese vibes into a dramatic and innovative form. The Moon Walk project with Min Xiao-Fen, a virtuoso of pipa (a Chinese lute), was premiered in Los Angeles in 2018, and subsequently in Brooklyn Central Library in New York City in 2019 and at the 2023 Jazz Education Network Annual Conference in Orlando. The four movements of Moon Walk…are full of small and large wonders. — Los Angeles Times, 2018 / Mark Swed The Camel Walk project, started in 2016 with the prominent performer of suona (a Chinese trumpet) Guo Yazhi (Boston), received its performances on the Marsee Auditorium stage in Torrance, CA in 2019 and on the virtual 2021 JENX conference. Professional groups that have presented his works have included Grammy-nominated Brussels Jazz Orchestra, Millennium Jazz Orchestra (the Netherlands), Hsinchu City Youth Chinese Orchestra, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Taipei Percussion, Taipei City Chinese Orchestra and La Jolla Symphony. Alan Chan’s music often takes inspiration from his life experiences around the world, with a take of surprising wittiness and humor. He was a guest artist and clinician at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA), Hong Kong Jazz Summer 2016, and a judge of international/national competitions such as Percussive Arts Society Composition Contests, SCI/ASCAP Student Composition Awards and ASMAC Bill Conti Big Band Arranging & Composing Competition.
Victoria Moy is a Los Angeles & New York City-based Asian American writer. She is a 2023 recipient of an OPERA America IDEA grant for her libretto Immortal Labia, with jazz composer Alan Chan. She is the Founder of a new media & theater club called Owl's March. Victoria Moy’s book "Fighting for the Dream: Voices of Chinese American Veterans from WWII to Afghanistan" was published in November 2014. Following its launch at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), the book has been featured on NPR, NBC News, KCET and was #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Asian Studies. Victoria’s plays have appeared at The Carrie Hamilton Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse, Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA, Willie Agee Playhouse, Villa Aurora, American Theatre of Actors, The Wild Project, Red Room, Access Theatre, University of Southern California, Dartmouth College. Victoria wrote the Arts Review column for Alhambra Source, which cross-published in Huffington Post. She was a 2016 Fellow of Creative Lab Hawaii’s Writers Immersive for Screenwriting, sponsored by The State of Hawaii partnered with WGA West. Victoria is one of three graduates of University of Southern California’s Class of 2015 in the Dramatic Writing M.F.A. program, a hybrid program that included study at the School of Theatre and School of Cinematic Arts. Born and raised in Manhattan’s Chinatown, in New York City, she attended Dartmouth College (where she was the only person of color, and one of ten people in a class of more than a thousand to major in theater). As a journalist, her works have appeared in Huffington Post, Brooklyn Rail, New York Press, Foreign Policy’s Tea Leaf Nation and many other publications. She speaks Cantonese and Mandarin, and is learning Spanish on Duolingo (on a 636 day streak as of 2/21/23.)
A TASTE OF ALAN'S MUSIC
Check out Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra's website to hear more!
At the beginning of the Pandemic, librettist Victoria Moy approached composer Alan Chan about working on several operas together. One of their operas, Immortal Labia, has received a grant from OPERA America's IDEA Grant for development! -which they will work on, among others, during their joint writing-composing residency in Visby, Sweden this summer.
How did they meet?
Victoria and Alan went to the same coffee shop in Little Ethiopia in Los Angeles, a wonderful place called Paradocs. Victoria came across Alan's postcards advertising his big band jazz concerts. She eventually went to one, which was spectacular. They kept in touch after.
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