One Tough Mezzo-soprano from China

She describes herself as a girl from China who came to America with $45 and knowing two words of English, “Merry Christmas.”  Source: SFGate

When Zheng Cao burst onto the San Francisco Opera scene in 1995, she played Siebel in “Faust.” Since then, she’s performed in opera houses throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

Today, an inspiration, the Shanghai-born Mezzo-soprano has defied the odds of surviving stage four lung cancer and a diagnoses that said she had six months to live.

More than a year ago, she received a death sentence when cancer was discovered to have spread through her body. Months later, she would learn that the rigorous treatment plan had dramatically reduced the cancer threat.

“This is the most impressive response I’ve seen in my life,” Dr. Rosenbaum said.

Zheng Cao’s tumors either had decreased in size, were no longer visible or no longer considered active.

To learn more about Zhen Cao’s journey, visit her Blog at Caring

Zheng Cao holds degrees from the Shanghai Conservatory and the Curtis Institute of Music.

While studying, she worked as a singer on the Holland American cruise line where she met Troy Donahue in 1991.

Donahue said that “We were very serious, very committed to each other. It’s the greatest relationship I’ve ever had in my life.” Source: Troy Donahue at

Zheng Cao and Troy Donahue were engaged until his death in 2001. She turned 44 on June 9, 2010.

See China’s Got Talent Too


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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