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New opera looks at the plight of Philippine domestic helpers

Asia Society Hong Kong commissions work exploring racial and social issues

From left, Stefanie Quintin, Amanda Li and Joseph Beutel in the opera "Mila," a tragedy about a Filipina helper working for a demanding Hong Kong family (Courtesy of Asia Society Hong Kong Center)

HONG KONG -- The often difficult and isolated lives of Philippine domestic helpers working overseas have served as the inspiration for movies, documentaries, television shows, plays and books for years. Now comes an opera.

"Mila," a tragedy about a Filipina woman working for an excessively demanding family in Hong Kong, delves into the city's entangled cultural, social and racial issues. A mixed-race married couple -- a Chinese woman and a Western man -- hire Mila to tend to their luxury high-rise home and care for their young son, who harbors suicidal thoughts amid the constant tension and antagonism between his parents. Mila is caught in the middle.

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