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.
Zheng Cao grew up in China, but moved to the United States for graduate school, and then went on to train and perform as an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera. She now appears with the world’s leading opera companies. Cast as Ruth, the granddaughter in The Bonesetter’s Daughter, she was in regular contact with composer Stewart Wallace as he wrote the opera, and describes the advantages of working with a living composer.