Gaetano Donizetti’s Rita dates from between 1839 and 1841 at a time when the composer was in Paris. Still unperformed at the time of his death in 1848, Rita finally premiered in May 1860 at the Opéra-Comique.It remained relatively obscure, but has been rediscovered and is increasingly performed, with several new productions in 2020 alone, including this one in a new arrangement for chamber ensemble by music director Marco Iannelli.

Confucianism and Sacred Space: The Confucius Temple from Imperial China to Today, Chin-shing Huang, Jonathan Chin (trans), Chin-shing Huang (trans), (Columbia University Press, December 2020)
Confucianism and Sacred Space: The Confucius Temple from Imperial China to Today, Chin-shing Huang, Jonathan Chin (trans), Chin-shing Huang (trans), (Columbia University Press, December 2020)

Temples dedicated to Confucius are found throughout China and across East Asia, dating back over two thousand years. These sacred and magnificent sanctuaries hold deep cultural and political significance.

Mongolia is sometimes seen as one of the few examples of a successful youth-led revolution, where a 1990 movement forced the Soviet-appointed Politburo to resign. In Young Mongols: Forging Democracy in the Wild, Wild East, Aubrey Menard profiles many of today’s young activists in Mongolia, in a wide array of different areas like pollution, feminism, LGBT rights, and journalism.

Tonal Intelligence: The Aesthetics of Asian Inscrutability During the Long Cold War,  Sunny Xiang (Columbia University Press, December 2020)
Tonal Intelligence: The Aesthetics of Asian Inscrutability During the Long Cold War, Sunny Xiang (Columbia University Press, December 2020)

Why were US intelligence organizations so preoccupied with demystifying East and Southeast Asia during the mid-20th century? Sunny Xiang offers a new way of understanding the American cold war in Asia by tracing aesthetic manifestations of “Oriental inscrutability” across a wide range of texts. She examines how cold war regimes of suspicious thinking produced an ambiguity between “Oriental” enemies and Asian allies, contributing to the conflict’s status as both a “real war” and a “long peace.”

The Refugee Aesthetic: Reimagining Southeast Asian America, Timothy K August (Temple University Press, December 2020)
The Refugee Aesthetic: Reimagining Southeast Asian America, Timothy K August (Temple University Press, December 2020)

The refugee is conventionally considered a powerless figure, eagerly cast aside by both migrant and host communities. In his book, The Refugee Aesthetic, Timothy August investigates how and why a number of Southeast Asian American artists and writers have recently embraced the figure of the refugee as a particularly transformative position.

Sarah Mullins, an American woman, arrives at “The Kingdom”: a fading luxury apartment complex in Bangkok. She is there to lay low, after passing over forged collectors’ items in Hong Kong. She meets the other residents of the Kingdom, including the energetic, yet mysterious Mali. This starts an unfolding story set amidst the fictional backdrop of growing protests, as both the Kingdom’s expatriate tenants and the local Thai staff evaluate what will happen next.