Thursday, June 8, 2023

New Podcast: Vanessa Vo & the Vietnamese Instruments of Bound

© Sunny Martini

In June, Seattle Opera presents Bound, a one-act chamber opera (music by Huang Ruo, libretto by Bao-Long Chu). This opera features Vanessa Vo playing đàn bầu (monochord) and đàn tranh (Vietnamese zither). In this podcast, Vo demonstrates and discusses these instruments with Dramaturg Jonathan Dean.

"Through music I have learned about the differences [between] cultures [in] the most beautiful and meaningful way. So, having the Vietnamese traditional instruments in this opera, and having Seattle Opera present this...the refugee and immigrant communities [and I], we really appreciate it. [W]e can learn about the differences of other people, and once we understand the differences we can learn how to live with each other [and be] so much nicer, supportive.”

Plus, as a bonus: Vo’s performance, on the đàn bầu of “Summertime” from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, arranged by Nguyen Le, with Frank Martin at the piano. This performance was chosen as one of NPR’s Songs We Love in 2015.

Listen to the full episode, "Vanessa Vo and the Vietnamese instruments of Bound" wherever you listen to podcasts (You can also search for "Seattle Opera"). Learn more about the featured speaker Vanessa Vo on her personal website.

Bound opens June 9, 2023, at Tagney Jones Hall at the Opera Center. Tickets and info at

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