House of Flying Daggers director Zhang Yimou is to stage a production at New York's Metropolitan Opera.
Zhang Yimou was nominated for a Bafta award last year
Tenor Placido Domingo will star in The First Emperor - based on the story of the China's legendary first ruler - when it opens on 21 December.
The libretto will be set to music by Chinese composer Tan Dun, who won an Oscar in 2000 for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon score.
Zhang made his opera debut in Beijing in 1998, directing Puccini's Turandot.
He said: "My understanding of opera is like how foreigners look at Peking opera. Love it but have no deep understanding."
The opera will depict the life of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, who unified the nation in the 3rd Century BC and started building the Great Wall, only to lose the land and its people because of his tyrannical ways.
The opera is based on Historical Records by Sima Qian and on the screenplay by Wei Lu, The Legend of the Bloody Zheng.
Tan Dun, who will also conduct the opera, co-wrote the libretto with novelist Ha Jin.