These days, opera remains political. By bringing classic Western productions to domestic Chinese audiences and exporting Chinese operas and talent like this year's American tour of "Chinese Orphan," performed by the Yu Opera of Henan Province, the Communist Party hopes to dramatically boost its soft power and cultural prestige. In fact, all I Sing Beijing singers have received a full scholarship partly funded by the Hanban/Confucius Institute, a government agency that teaches Mandarin abroad. Cultural collaborations are increasingly common for China, with foreign collaboration on film productions and art exhibitions seen as increasingly lucrative as China's economy soars.
Just as young Americans are flocking to China for corporate job opportunities, opera singers are also looking to the Middle Kingdom.