A panel discussion on the cultural differences between Western and Chinese opera in conveying emotion, generation, and ethnicity.
Speakers include the three featured women in Stewart Wallace and Amy Tan's opera "The Bonesetter's Daughter," which has its world-premiere production at San Francisco Opera on September 13- Asia Society
Rachel Cooper has been at the Asia Society since 1993 and is the Director for Cultural Programs and Performing Arts. She has extensive experience in the presentation of traditional and contemporary Asian and Asian-American performing arts and the development of interdisciplinary programs.
Qian Yi makes her San Francisco Opera debut this season in her first role in a Western opera. Having entered the Shanghai Chinese Opera School at age 10, she was acknowledged as a rising star in kunju (an ancient traditional operatic form originating near Shanghai) before going on to great acclaim on four continents in the nineteen-hour Ming Dynasty drama The Peony Pavilion. Since her U.S. debut in that 1999 Lincoln Center production, she has appeared in several innovative theater pieces based on Chinese opera, including Ghost Lovers at Spoleto Festival USA, The Orphan of Zhao at Lincoln Center, and Snow in June at the American Repertory Theater. She has also worked in Western theater, appearing in Meredith Monkâ€™s Turtle Dream, Amy Trompetterâ€™s puppet-driven adaptation of Oscar Wildeâ€™s The Happy Prince, and the Hans Christian Andersen commemorative musical My Life as a Fairy Tale (alongside actress Fiona Shaw) for the Lincoln Center and Arhus Festivals. Last season she starred in Contemporary Legend Theatreâ€™s production of The Butterfly Dream, which had its premiere at the National Theatre of Taiwan and was revived at the Stanford Pan-Asian Music Festival. Her screen credits include Alexander Kuâ€™s independent short film Triple Eight Palace, an official selection at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival; Dark Matter, a full-length feature directed by Chen Shi-Zheng, which was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival; and Kevin Choiâ€™s The Years Flow Like Water, which had its premiere at the 2008 Asian American International Film Festival.
Qian Yi and Zheng Cao, two of the stars of the opera The Bonesetter’s Daughter, recall the very close working relationship they had with composer Stewart Wallace and librettist Amy Tan while rehearsing before the premiere.
Opera singer Qian Yi, who played Precious Auntie in The Bonesetter's Daughter, recalls how she studied Michael Jackson and Madonna to help her transition from traditional Chinese opera style to a western opera style.