Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Chinese American's opera wins Pulitzer Prize

Du Yun

A CHINESE/AMERICAN won this year's Pulitzer Prize for Music. Du Yun won the honor and $15,000 prize for her opera Angel's Bone.

Du, 39, won for her savage chamber opera, a collaboration with the librettist Royce Vavrek, which finds an allegory for human trafficking in the story of two angels who are brutally mistreated after they crash-land in a suburban backyard.

"When we look at human trafficking, we always think that it's far away from us," Yun told NPR. "We all have our own narrative of what human trafficking is supposed to be, but if you do a little research, human trafficking happens, in many different forms and shapes, right in our backyard."

The Pulitzer Prize is an annual award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States.

Du's creation is a new work of opera-theatre that follows the plight of two angels whose nostalgia for earthly delights has, mysteriously, brought them back to our world. They are found battered and bruised from their long journey by a man and his wife. Mr. and Mrs. X.E. set out to nurse the wounded angels back to health: they bathe them, wash the dirt from their nails…then lock them in a room and decide to exploit these magical beings for wealth and personal gains. 

An excerpt from the opera Angel's Bone by Du Yun and Royce Vavrek
as performed by Abigail Fischer

Angel’s Bone melds chamber music, theatre, punk rock, opera, cabaret, and electronics, exploring the dark effects and motivations behind modern-day slavery and the trafficking industry.

The award for breaking news photography went to freelancer Daniel Brehulak, whose work published in The New York Times showed the violence in the Philippines during a government crackdown on drug dealers and users.

This is the third time Brehulak was given the prestigious honor for his work He won Pulitzers in 2011 and 2015.