Ghost Opera: Saturday, Nov. 4 | 9pm

by Maggie Molloy
Carrie Wang performed Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera with Seattle Symphony musicians in November 2022.

Do you believe in ghosts? Not the Halloween kind of ghosts—but spirits of the past…and maybe, spirits of the future, too.

This Saturday on Second Inversion: Ghost Opera. The Chinese composer Tan Dun takes us back in time, to the shamanistic ceremonies of his native Hunan, where musical rituals launched the spirit into new life. In ghost opera, the performer is in dialogue with past and future, spirit and nature.

In Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera, he calls on the spirits of Bach, Shakespeare, ancient Chinese folk traditions—and the sounds of the earth, too. He combines a string quartet with the sounds of water, metal, stones, paper, and one instrument that you might not be quite as familiar with: the pipa, a kind of Chinese lute.

Seattle Symphony musicians performing Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera at Octave 9. Photo by Brandon Patoc.

Last year, the Seattle Symphony presented two sold-out performances of Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera in their immersive Octave 9 space. The string quartet included violinists Andy Liang and Mae Lin, violist Olivia Chew, and cellist Nathan Chan. The pipa player was Carrie Wang. She joins host Maggie Molloy in studio this week to introduce us to the sounds of the pipa and to take us behind the curtain of this special performance.

To listen, tune in to KING FM on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 9pm PT.

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