The Kitchen in NYC will host a two-week residency and first performances on April 15 and 16, 2005 of the full score and staging of Shangri-La. Director Mariah Maloney will set staging for these performances. Chien-Nien Chen will musically direct the rehearsals and conductor Tania Leon will conduct the full ensemble rehearsals and performances. The music for Shangri-La is composed for a 21 piece ensemble: 9 vocalists, Khen mouthreed, flute, trombone, string quartet, contrabass, 3 percussionists and electronics.

History, Development, and Goals of Project
The opera was initially inspired by Komunyakaa's reading of a 1998 newspaper article describing how Western travelers often view Bangkok as a kind of illicit paradise. Bangkok, like Shangri-La, is regarded as a mythical and exotic place where travelers are seduced, often finding it difficult to extract themselves from the place and time and re-enter their normal, sometimes mundane lives. But Bangkok, like the mythical Shangri-La, is also a paradoxical site that can similarly be viewed as merely an illusion of Paradise, masking the reality of Hell just underneath its surface. Shangri-La presents this complex sociological statement, addressing the issues of seduction, power, colonialism, human rights, and exploitation, in an environment of lyrical beauty.

The notion of collaborating began in 1999 when Ibarra and Komunyakaa were introduced by their mutual friend, the poet and jazz writer Zoe Anglesey. Shangri-La has been in development since 2002. On June 14,