"The Floating Box is an original story inspired by the oral histories of Chinese-Americans living in Chinatown. The story of Eva/Yee-Wa, a young Chinese-American woman living with her mother, is the story of many diasporic peoples who have sought a better life in new, often harsh surroundings. The poetry of Filloux's libretto fuses perfectly with Hwang's eclectic score, beautifully capturing the complex, intimate relationships among these three characters. The opera employs both Chinese and Western instruments in an ensemble of eight players: piccolo/flute/alto flute; Bb clarinet/bass clarinet; vibraphone; pipa (Chinese lute); accordion; percussion, including Tibetan chimes and singing bowls, whirling air tubes, Chinese tom toms, and a Buddhist fan drum; erhu/gaohu/zhonghu (a family of two-stringed Chinese violins categorized as huqin); and cello. In Hwang's skilled hands, these instruments together forge a rich amalgam of sound-in the composer's words, "complex suspensions rather than homogenous solutions.""-New World
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