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Curator's Note:

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.


Watch The Bonesetter's Daughter.

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Exhibition Playlist

The Acrobats

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Stage director Chen Shi-Zheng recruited an acrobatic troupe from Dalian, China, to perform in The Bonesetter’s Daughter. They first appeared behind a scrim at the beginning of the opera, flying through the air along with video projections and stage smoke to create a fantastical foggy scene, out of which Precious Auntie, LuLing and Ruth enter to sing the prologue. Filmmakers Monica Lam and David Petersen traveled to the Dalian Circus School to meet the acrobats and watch them rehearse for their American operatic debut.

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