When a new opera is produced, dozens of artists and craftspeople from various disciplines come together around a shared dramatic and musical vision. This collaboration requires extraordinary skill, and cooperation on a grand scale.
San Francisco Opera’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter, composed by Stewart Wallace with a libretto by novelist Amy Tan, brought together singers, designers and musicians from three continents. Many were steeped in the Western operatic tradition, but for others, it was an introduction to American opera.
This collection focuses on the joys and challenges of collaboration, with reflections from several of the artists who brought The Bonesetter’s Daughter to life.
Qian Yi is one of China’s finest performers of classical Chinese opera, or Kunqu. The Kunju singing style practiced in Kunqu sounds very different from Western opera, and its physical movements are highly refined. The Bonesetter’s Daughter was Qian Yi’s first Western opera. Here she describes the challenges she faced as she rehearsed with conductor Steven Sloane and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.