Westerners are familiar with the pageantry, melodrama, and glass-shattering sopranos that mark the magnum opuses of Verdi or Puccini. Yet the pantomime, combat acrobatics, and warbly, percussion-backed arias of the Peking primadonna seem a world apart from the opera most of us know. But Western and Beijing-style opera have more than a few things in common; for one, the drama is usually more symbolic and gestural than literal, and major leitmotifs like star-crossed lovers and beefing between social classes tend to dominate the plots. A marriage between the two styles might be a bit tricky, but not... More >>>