Take my Otherness, A Jazz Opera in 3 Acts
The Delaware Valley Opera Company of Philadelphia is honored to present the U.S. premiere of Take My Otherness, a Jazz Opera in 3 Acts, written, composed, and performed by women. The piece highlights the struggles of women from many different cultures as they fight to stand firmly in their own identities, and search for a place to call home.
Five women – Chinese, German, Iranian, African, and Greek – are thrown together in a group therapy session, a setting immediately intimate and intimidating. They are foreigners in their new home, and to each other. They don’t speak the same languages and can’t understand each other’s words, body language or social cues, and yet they understand one another implicitly. They are all “Other” in this new place they call home; the thing that alienates them, unites them.
They introduce themselves through musical languages as varied as their spoken words: jazz, Wagner, rap and traditional folk music from around the world. As they share the music that gives insight into each culture, they begin to trust one another with the very personal humor, frustration, and loneliness of living in a culture that is not your own.
The opera is the brainchild of Hong Kong-born singer/composer/lyricist Vivien Lee and German flutist/composer Dorothea Mader. Lee has composed opera and film scores, is the head of the vocal department at the Ballet Centrum, Berlin, and is a permanent guest professor at the Peking University, Beijing. Mader is an internationally decorated composer of chamber music, orchestral works, songs and children’s literature, as well as co-founder of sheet music publishing house Maders Kleine Musikbibliothek.
Lee and Mader will be performing in the production. Lee will sing the role of the Chinese woman and Mader will play the flute in the ensemble.