Gilgamesh, the tyrant king, wandering the world
Butchering and raping
Half man, half god
The more I got into the writing of Madame White Snake, the clearer it became that there was too much material to cram into one opera. I mean, what happened to the baby that was born to the White Snake during her epic battle with her arch nemesis, the Abbot? This was a question Charles asked over and over again until, with some exasperation, I began to write the story of Ming, the White Snake's son, in order to answer his question. I call the White Snake's son, Ming, but I don't know what his name really is because the Legend of the White Snake doesn’t go into any details about him. I chose “Ming” because that word means “light” and it seemed appropriate that this new being should light up the world. The question about Ming that fascinated me is the fact that he is half human and half demon, surely an abomination to many? (My son is half Chinese and half Caucasian and was considered a “pariah” by some who disapproved of interracial marriages.) How would the world view a half human half demon, I wondered? And perhaps more importantly, how would Ming view himself? One of the comparisons that came to mind was Gilgamesh, the Sumerian king, who was one third god and two thirds human. Unfortunately for Gilgamesh (and perhaps fortunately for the rest of humankind), Gilgamesh had not inherited any god-like powers. This infuriated him and sent him on a quest - which often degenerated into a rampage - to find immortality. I wondered if Ming would be another Gilgamesh? After all, he is the son of a vindictive, powerful and venomous snake demon. Would he have inherited his mother's fearsome traits? It was this fascination with Ming's psyche, his life choices and his ability (or inability) to deal with his demon heritage that led to Gilgamesh, another opera in the Trilogy. I view Gilgamesh, the Sumerian king, as Ming’s alter ego, his other self, waiting to spring into the world for better or for ill. It is up to Ming, as he gained knowledge and mastery over his super human powers to decide what path to walk. If he chooses his mother's path, the world would relive the devastating flood his mother had wreaked previously. Yet how does a man turn away from being a god? Can we, mere mortals, resist the seduction of power, wealth and majesty? These are some of the questions I ask myself and explore in Gilgamesh and the rest of Ouroboros Trilogy.
The world premiere of Gilgamesh was presented by ArtsEmerson as part of the Ouroboros Trilogy in the 2016-2017 season at the Cutler Majestic Theater:
September 10: Naga, Madame White Snake, Gilgamesh
September 13: Madame White Snake
September 14: Gilgamesh
September 15: Naga
September 17: Gilgamesh, Naga, Madame White Snake
The Ouroboros Trilogy operas and production were commissioned by Friends of Madame White Snake
Gilgamesh is dedicated by Cerise to Charles, with whom everything is possible.
Creator And Librettist
Director and production designer
OPERA AND PRODUCTION COMMISSIONER
Friends of Madame White Snake