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  • Writer Amy Tan's family secrets become the basis of a new opera.

    Writer Amy Tan's family secrets become the basis of a new opera.

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  • Meet members of the Dalian Acrobatic Troupe as they prepare for the premiere.

    Meet members of the Dalian Acrobatic Troupe as they prepare for the premiere.

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  • Amy Tan talks about the role Hong Kong played during the war when it became a port of exit for people fleeing China.

    Amy Tan talks about the role Hong Kong played during the war when it became a port of exit for people fleeing China.

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  • Young women in Dimen study traditional singing from older women in the village.

    Young women in Dimen study traditional singing from older women in the village.

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  • Bass Hao Jiang Tian sings the role of Chang the Coffinmaker, the opera’s villain.

    Bass Hao Jiang Tian sings the role of Chang the Coffinmaker, the opera’s villain.

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  • Li Zhonghua assembled a group of Chinese percussionists for Stewart Wallace’s score.

    Li Zhonghua assembled a group of Chinese percussionists for Stewart Wallace’s score.

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  • Mezzo-soprano Qian Yi prepares for the stage in her dressing room at the War Memorial Opera House.

    Mezzo-soprano Qian Yi prepares for the stage in her dressing room at the War Memorial Opera House.

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  • Stewart Wallace learned to play a lusheng from the master lusheng craftsman in the village of Paiya.

    Stewart Wallace learned to play a lusheng from the master lusheng craftsman in the village of Paiya.

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  • The opera’s creators, librettist Amy Tan, composer Stewart Wallace, and stage director Chen Shi-Zheng.

    The opera’s creators, librettist Amy Tan, composer Stewart Wallace, and stage director Chen Shi-Zheng.

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The Film

Journey of the Bonesetter's Daughter follows the creation of the San Francisco Opera's celebrated production of The Bonesetter's Daughter, based on Amy Tan's bestselling novel of the same name. An ambitious, cross-cultural tour de force that brings together artists from China and the U.S., the opera tells a deeply moving story about the difficult but unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters, inspired by Tan's own family history.

The film goes backstage to chronicle the challenges and triumphs of a collaboration with high emotional and artistic stakes. Composer Stewart Wallace's score integrates a Western orchestra with Chinese musicians performing on traditional instruments, while Chinese opera director Chen Shi-Zheng uses virtuoso acrobats and lush video to add visual drama. As the production is mounted, librettist Tan tries to capture and preserve the emotional truth of her family story in the drama unfolding on stage.

The Filmmakers

  1. Fawn RingProducer
  2. Monica LamProducer
  3. David PetersenDirector