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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

M. Butterfly, by Huang Ruo

Until Closing Soon
Santa Fe Opera / Santa Fe / Music

You remember the premise. French diplomat falls for Chinese diva, blissfully oblivious to the fact that his lover is: 1. a man, like every other singer of women’s roles in traditional Beijing Opera, and 2. a secret agent. As the title of David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-winning Broadway play suggests, there are also parallels to a certain tear-jerker of Puccini’s. Tantalizing as the subject remains, nonbinary sexuality has lost considerable shock value since 1988, when the material was new, which leaves open the possibility of more empathic understanding. Working with a libretto adapted by the playwright, the gifted Chinese-American composer Huang Ruo chalks up yet another eagerly awaited world premiere. The baritone Mark Stone appears as René Gallimard, the snookered Frenchman. The countertenor Kagmin Justin Kim takes on the gender-fluid Song Liling. The production is by James Robinson. Carolyn Kuan conducts. —M.G.

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