Shangri La is a new chamber opera work-in-progress featuring voice, strings, percussion, and electronics. This first collaboration between the groundbreaking composer/percussionist, Susie Ibarra, and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Ysef Komunyakaa, who wrote the libretto, explores contemporary, socially relevant issues through music, poetry, visual art, and movement. Shangri La addresses the complex social phenomenon of the sex trade industry in Southeast Asia and the resultant AIDS epidemic.
Shangri La presents the tragic exploits of the character John Wong, "The Metaphysical Detective" who is hired to investigate an embezzlement scheme in modern-day Bangkok. There, he encounters three foreign businessmen who patronize the city's sex trade, and three Thai prostitues who become their lovers.