The opera's story spans three generations. The narrative begins in 1997 with the story of Ruth (sung by Zheng Cao), a native Californian, and traces back through the years the story of her immigrant Chinese mother LuLing (sung by Ning Liang), and LuLing's mother, Precious Auntie (Qian Yi). Other characters introduced in the story include Chang the Coffin Maker (Hao Jiang Tian), Ruth's husband Art (James Maddalena) and a Taoist priest (Wu Tong). In the process, ghosts and skeletons of all kinds are uncovered, and the importance of story in preserving memory is affirmed.
Here are links to reviews, generally in the order of detail offered:
- Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Gate
- Marc Swed, Los Angeles Times
- Philip Campbell, Bay Area Reporter
- Janos Gereben, San Francisco Classical Voice
- Seán Martinfield, San Francisco Sentinel
- Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
- Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal
- Alan Rich, Bloomberg
- Scott Cantrell, Dallas News
- Suzanne Weiss, Culture Vulture
- Richard Scheinin, Mercury News
- Michael J Vaughn, The Opera Critic
- Robert Hilferty, Gramophone (UK)
More links to related stories may be found at The Opera Critic.