Prop Master’s Dream VCO
November 5, 2022 – 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm PDT
The Prop Master’s Dream brings to life a hidden piece of Vancouver Chinatown history by fusing Cantonese Opera, jazz, and Indigenous drumming into an exhilarating two-hour show inspired by the true-life story of Wah-Kwan Gwan, a legendary prop master born to a Chinese father and an Indigenous mother in B.C.
The opera, presented in Cantonese with English subtitles, follows Gwan’s journey from Vancouver to China and back again, to tell a tale of lost identity, migration, race relations, and the musical splendour of Vancouver’s mid-century Chinatown.
“The Prop Master’s Dream is a bold reinvention of the Cantonese Opera art form that shines a light on the long history of Chinese-Indigenous relations in B.C.,” explains Rosa Cheng, executive director of Vancouver Cantonese Opera and also director of The Prop Master’s Dream. “The story features themes of connection, adversity, friendship, and history – all that is still relevant today. I hope this opera will bring people together through art and further highlight Cantonese Opera to those who are familiar and those who may be new to it.”
Haisla Collins, a Vancouver based singer with Tsimshian, Nisga’a, Gitsan and Celtic ancestry, will play the role of Wah-Kwan’s birth mother. Composers Leo Lee from Hong Kong and Peter Tam from Vancouver have created something utterly unique in the musical score that features diverse instruments from the East and West. Lee and Cheng worked closely with a team of cultural advisors and Indigenous mentors to develop the Chinese language script that will be performed with English subtitles.