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Taiwan's Stan Lai adapts 'Dream of the Red Chamber' for US stage

The director's opera will be performed in San Francisco and can be viewed online

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Stan Lai's opera of the Chinese classic “Dream of the Red Chamber.” (San Francisco Opera screenshot)

Stan Lai's opera of the Chinese classic “Dream of the Red Chamber.” (San Francisco Opera screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan director Stan Lai's (賴聲川) English opera, adapted from the Chinese classic novel “Dream of the Red Chamber,” will be performed at the San Francisco Opera until July 3.

One of the four great books of Chinese literature, “Dream of the Red Chamber” was written by Cao Xueqin (曹雪芹) in the 18th century and has been adapted into traditional opera and TV series, among other formats. Lai, American pianist Bright Sheng (盛宗亮), and Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang (黃哲倫), adapted the novel into English.

The plot centers on Jia Baoyu’s love triangle and explores lust and political intrigue in imperial China. South Korean tenor Kim Konu takes the role of Jia and Chinese soprano Zhang Meigui (張玫瑰) shows up as his lover, Lin Daiyu.

Lai noted that it is the second time the show has been performed at the San Francisco Opera after debuting in 2016. He said the story introduces Asian culture to the West.

The two-hour stage play keeps just seven main characters from the original book and adds a monk, CNA reported. It is sung in English and there are English and Chinese subtitles.

The run of shows opened June 14 and overseas audiences can watch it online from Sunday (June 19). For more information or to purchase a ticket, visit the website.