The Bonesetter's Daughter, which opens this Saturday at the War Memorial Opera House, is a big deal in the opera world. Or so we're told. Why? Because it's only the ninth world premiere of the SF Opera in its 85 years of existence, even though the pace as significantly accelerated lately, with Dr Atomic in 2005 and Appomattox last season.

Based on the book by the ubiquitous Amy Tan, we made the mistake of reading all 400 pages of it, slogging through what Sue Gilmore nailed as "estrogen-drenched domestic angst that entangles mothers and daughters in so many of her books." Being short on estrogen, we dismissed the first part of the book as chick lit: the main protagonist, Ruth dealing with her aging mother who slows fades into dementia, and with her relationship with her boyfriend, Art, with San Francisco in the background. (Yep, Amy Tan lives here).

Going to the roots of one's past involves, of course, traversing a giant vagina. Photo credit for this Bonesetter's Daughter rehearsal picture: Terrence McCarthy/SF Opera