Review: Tacoma Symphony takes on Tan Dun’s “Water Passion”

Posted on: March 24, 2016

“Tacoma has proven that not only does it have the chops to do a major contemporary classical work, it’s got the audience to appreciate it,” writes Rosemary Ponnekanti in Monday’s (3/21) News Tribune (Tacoma, WA). “A host of forces, from conductor Sarah Ioannides to the Tacoma Symphony Chorus to soloists, stage crew and sponsors came together Sunday afternoon … to perform Tan Dun’s epic ‘Water Passion.’ The theatrical oratorio … takes the Tacoma Symphony to new levels of sophistication. Set out theatrically onstage, with the chorus on risers, soloists (soprano, bass, violin and cello) in front, and a cross-shape of water percussion bowls illuminated in the middle (with three percussionists at the extreme points), this Passion is more like static opera than any traditional piece…. TSO concertmaster Svend Rønning added an unexpected but brilliant touch as he swaggered around the stage playing demonic violin passages. The three percussionists (two from TSO, plus soloist David Cossin) held the piece together in a remarkable tour-de-force … captivating in their interpretation of the spectrum of sound from water bowls, waterphones and other instruments…. This is the kind of event that proves the Tacoma Symphony is an integral part of our city’s culture and communal spirit.”

Posted March 24, 2016

Pictured: Sarah Ioannides leads Tan Dun’s “Water Passion”