What makes a beautiful voice? How does spoken and sung language relate across cultural spaces? How are musical and bodily gestures codified differently across music theatrical traditions? This course takes a deep dive into these questions through a comparative exploration of two global manifestations of opera: Italian opera and Sinitic (Chinese-language) xiqu. We will consider such topics as gender and sexuality; nationalism and identity; scenic design, gesture and choreography; transmission and global circulation. Students will have the opportunity to attend at least one performance at the Metropolitan Opera or other venues in the area.