The Sunday Opera: Bright Sheng's "The Dream of the Red Chamber" from the San Francisco Opera

Nov 15, 2018

An illustration featuring Lin Daiyu, the protagonist of "The Dream of the Red Chamber"

An opera based on an 18th century Chinese work called the “pinnacle of Chinese fiction” by Bright Sheng and David Henry Hwang is this week’s Sunday Opera (11/18 3:00 p.m.).  “The Dream of the Red Chamber” is a huge work that features some forty main characters and over four-hundred secondary characters.  In this San Francisco Opera version, the focus has been fine-tuned by librettist David Henry Hwang.  

The Asian cast includes Pureum Jo, Yijie Shi, Hyona Kim, Irene Roberts, Qiulin Zhang, and Karen Chia-Ling Ho.  George Manahan conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.  The afternoon will feature more music of Bright Sheng when Michael Kownacky brings you the Song of Majnun, a one-act opera based on the doomed love of Majnun and Layla and has been referred to as “a Persian ‘Romeo and Juliet.’”  That will be followed by “The Blazing Mirage,” a piece for cello and orchestra that was inspired by the wonders of Dunhuang Caves where over four-hundred hand-carved temples contain the greatest examples of Buddhist religious art.