Most of us think of opera as a traditionally Western art. Historically, the best composers wrote in French, Italian, German or English — until now. Over the past decade, the Chinese government has devoted millions to new opera houses, opera festivals and music education. The Chinese investment in opera has piqued the interest of classical music students here in the U.S., where budget-cutting has sapped funding for the arts.
We're speaking with Hao Jiang Tian, an experienced opera singer who was born in China and trained in the U.S. Tian is the director of "I Sing Beijing," a program that brings American and European opera students to China for training in Chinese language and opera. We're also talking with Kurt Kanazawa, an American opera student and participant in the "I Sing Beijing" program.