To Westernize the opera, Xiao Bai worked with famed librettist Wang Jian. Together, the two artists developed a new production distinct from traditional "Beijing-style" opera (incorporating instrumental music, vocal performance, pantomime, dance and acrobatics). The Western version of "Farewell My Concubine" captures the framework of a classic Italian opera, but is sung entirely in Mandarin. The performances will include English subtitles.
Will the opera be better than a certain genre of Mandarin songs from the Mainland (such as the propaganda songs for the Communist party, but other non-patriotic songs as well)? Someone should deal with the question whether Chinese vocal music is more limited due to Chinese being a tonal language.
Hm. It's in SF this weekend.
January 11, 12 and 13 -- War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, CA