CD Makes a Splash

Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas
audio recording features hiking opera singers & water percussionists

“... exquisite darkness… whimsical lines… captivating experience.”
~The Stranger


One day, composer Byron Au Yong was overcome in the bottled water section of the supermarket. He heard voices from Poland Spring and Fiji cry out. Au Yong, a Seattle-based musician who composes songs of dislocation, realized that water was kidnapped and taken far from home.

In response, he created 64 musical miniatures for voice and percussion to be performed in, about, and around water. While composing, Au Yong was inspired by listening to water and studying the I Ching 易經 (Book of Changes). He invited eight librettists from around the world to create contemporary responses to the I Ching, one of the oldest Chinese texts.

Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas travels through warnings, prayers, fantasies, and whispers in a thematic review for future generations about an element older than man. Human voices and splashing water cry out harder than the silent wisdom of hair turned white.

The initiative was performed in 64 waterways throughout the Pacific Northwest in Summer 2008, as part of 4Culture’s Site-Specific Performance Network and the Bumbershoot Festival of the Arts. A Sound/Light Installation, created with media sculptor Randy Moss, was shown at the Jack Straw New Media Gallery in Fall 2008.

Audio Demo

available at AmazonCD Baby | iTunes

Creative Team
Byron Au Yong, composer
Randy Moss, media sculptor

Libretti by:
Eugenie Chan, Bret Fetzer, Aaron Jafferis, Archana Kumar, Carola Luther, Caroline Murphy, Vivian Umino, Edisa Weeks

Performed by...
Singers Josie Davis, Emily Greenleaf, Jeremiah Oliver, David Stutz
Percussionists Stuart McLeod, Dean Moore, Benjamin Morrow, James Whetzel

Tom Stiles, audio engineer
Wing Fong, CD designer

MAP Fund
4Culture Site-Specific Arts
Bumbershoot Festival of the Arts
Jack Straw New Media Gallery