Cerise Lim Jacobs
Creator and Librettist
Commissioned by Opera Boston and the Beijing Music Festival Foundation.
Madame White Snake is dedicated by Cerise to Charles, with whom everything is possible.
The 2019 Hong Kong Production is supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
She transforms into a woman, meets Xu Xian, a mortal man and marries him. But she is afraid to disclose her true identity. She encounters the Abbot of the Golden Mountain Monastery who recognizes her as his arch nemesis - the snake. The Abbot sows the seeds of doubt in Xu’s mind and gives him a “truth potion” which re-transforms her back into a snake. The Abbot spirits away Xu and the White Snake raises the waters to drown the Abbot to get him back. A great flood engulfs the world; she is defeated by the Abbot after giving birth to a son.
I know – music, beautiful voices – a song cycle! It was 2005. Charles was going to be seventy-five in 2008. I thought I was brilliant coming up with that idea for his 75th. I could surprise him with a performance of the song cycle in our living room on his birthday. The song cycle I planned to commission did not happen; instead, it morphed into a fully-fledged opera that won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for its composer, Zhou Long.
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