The Chinese Utopia
East Slope Publishing Ltd. (Muse, Hong Kong)
A trail-blazing political reformer and visionary thinker at the turn of the 20th century, Kang Youwei (1858–1927) envisioned a global utopia of human equality and solidarity. However, his advocacy of a constitutional monarchy, instead of a revolution, has caused him to become the bête noire of modern Chinese history. Datong: The Chinese Utopia focuses on this Guangdong native's years of exile in Europe, Asia and America, as he and his daughter Kang Tongbi campaigned for a better future for their compatriots at home and abroad—which culminated in an anti-American boycott (1905–1906) to beat back the Chinese Exclusion Act, and two meetings with a conciliatory Theodore Roosevelt. Writer/filmmaker Evans Chan, a descendant from Kang's hometown, used his award-winning film Datong: The Great Society (2011) to develop the libretto for this chamber opera.