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Zaha Hadid

Chinese opera 'Dream of the Red Chamber' opens in San Francisco with much ambition, too little nerve

Chinese opera 'Dream of the Red Chamber' opens in San Francisco with much ambition, too little nerve

The world needs more Chinese opera. China needs it too.

China has some 29 opera houses. Only Italy, Germany, the U.S. and Russia have more. China has more architecturally notable new ones, such as the late architect Zaha Hadid’s spectacular Guangzhou Opera House, than any other country. But China does not yet have enough of its own notable opera to fill them.

America can help. In the 1980s, a number of promising young Chinese composers immigrated to the U.S. in the wake of China’s Cultural Revolution. Now prominent, they swim in a musical ocean that, to paraphrase Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, has no East or West. A new operatic genre that merges...

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