Operatic Myths, Legends, and More: What stories are attracting grant funding?
According to an ancient Chinese myth, there was a human giant, Kuafu, who was arrogant enough to chase the sun from east to west. As Kuafu runs, he grows thirsty and drinks all of the water from the Yellow and Wei Rivers. Still, he is unable to reach his goal and dies of dehydration, and the wooden staff he drops grows into a vast forest of peach trees. “This simple story tells me several things,” says Huang Ruo, composer and librettist of the opera Book of Mountains and Seas, a recent opera that compiles four Chinese stories dating back more than 2,000 years. “It tells me if we abuse and don’t take good care of nature, not only is nature destroyed, but humanity also dies,” he says.