Ten minutes into the opera performance, a man with long, dark hair and a face as pretty as a woman’s stepped onto the small wooden stage and opened his mouth to sing. His voice was delicate, but the tone and tempo betrayed a banked passion all the more powerful for its reserve. He was covered in large swaths of deep pink makeup outlined in black. The ill-fitting clothes revealed every sharp angle of his body, every firm muscle.
Zhao Yunlan strained to hear him over the raucous laughter of the other patrons as they munched on peanuts and swilled cheap beer.
This is an utterly captivating and unique AU, evoking a rural China that feels completely real and lived in.