Zheng Cao, a beloved opera singer, has died. Cao appeared regularly with the San Francisco Opera and stage all over the world. According to the San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 22, Cao died Thursday night at her home after a long batter with cancer.
Cao was very well known in the Bay Area cultural life. She was not just known for her musical gift but also for her forceful personality. Cao’s last appearance with the San Francisco Opera was in 2008 for the world premiere of Stewart Wallace’s opera “The Bonsetter’s Daughter.”
Cao’s biggest assignment was in “Bonsetter” in which she created the role of Ruth Young Kamen. Kamen was the American-born protagonist torn between her Chinese roots and the demands of her new life.
Shortly after the “Bonsetter” opera, Zheng Cao was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Cao had tumors that had spread to her liver, lung, neck and spine. Cao was only given six months to live but with treatments she survived for three more years. Cao was born in Shanghai. Cao is survived by her husband, Dr. David Larson, her parents and a sister. Cao will be greatly missed on the opera stage.