If the name Li Bai means little in the West, the Tang Dynasty poet stands as tall in the Chinese cultural consciousness as William Shakespeare does in the English- speaking world.Long a fan of his expressive, sometimes playful writings, Diana Liao conceived the idea of an opera based on his life in 2000 and set about writing a libretto in conjunction with playwright Xu Ying.Seven years later, the fruits of her labor and those of dozens of other Chinese and American participants in the cross-cultural project will be unveiled when Central City Opera's world premiere of Guo Wenjing's "Poet Li Bai" opens Saturday. [...]
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