The Lincoln Center Festival staged an opera called Paradise Interrupted. It belongs to a familiar category of music: the Chinese-Western hybrid. We have seen a pattern: A boy or girl is born in China. He (let’s say) trains there for a while. Then he comes to America, for further study. He stays here, fusing the two traditions he has absorbed, composing those hybrids.

In the past twenty years, I have often spoken of “the Sinification of music.” Not long ago, I wrote an essay called “The Twain, Meeting.” And I have frequently quoted Lorin Maazel, the late conductor. When I interviewed him in 2009, I asked him about the future of classical music, and the first words out of his mouth were, “Thank God for China.”

Over the centuries, opera has been very diverse, and the name...