White Snake Projects Announces Opera Performances and Community Events, Sep-Dec 2024


SING OUT STRONG: Emancipated Voices (Sep 15)

free musical showcase of citizens’ original songs – “What Does Voting Mean To You?”

IS THIS AMERICA? Fully-Staged Opera World Premiere (Sep 20-22)

composed by 85-year-old Black female composer Mary D. Watkins about civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer

TALKS WITH TUNES: Panel-Concert Series at Boston Public Library Branches (Sep-Oct)

as part of BPL’s “Revolutionary Music: Music for Social Change” program

LET’S CELEBRATE: Third Annual Holiday Series (Dec 13-15)

celebrating multicultural holidays told through three short operas


BOSTON, MA (For Release 05.13.24) — Celebrated for creating diverse, timely and relevant opera, activist performing arts company White Snake Projects (WSP) and its founder Cerise Lim Jacobs today announce the organization’s final events of 2024. The wide-ranging collection of performances and conversations centers on WE ARE AMERICA, its year-long theme inspired by the 2024 Election Year. Seeking to foster civic engagement through artistic work, much of it co-created with the local Massachusetts community, WSP provides several platforms for underrepresented voices to be heard.

“This past season, our WE ARE AMERICA thematic programming has explored the right to Vote through performances, commissions, and complementary public programs created in partnership with local arts organizations. Through WE ARE AMERICA, WSP continues to extend opera beyond the stage and into the community, and learn what role it can play during this pivotal moment in time. With 2024 being an Election Year, we are providing a necessary platform for everyone to express what voting and America means to them.”

– Cerise Lim Jacobs, WSP Founding Artistic Director


About White Snake Projects

White Snake Projects (WSP) is an activist opera company making mission-driven work that unites artmaking with civic practice. It envisions a world where the power of opera expands our collective understanding of community and transforms lives through creative storytelling. The company’s most recent efforts have been devoted to the live digital productions of the Pandemic Trilogy: Alice in the Pandemic addressed the disproportionate strain of COVID-19 on communities of color and essential workers; Death by Life explored long-term incarceration and institutionalized racism; and A Survivor’s Odyssey dealt with the ongoing crisis of sexual and intimate partner violence. A critical element in the exploration of these themes is the establishment of authentic connections with thought leaders in social justice to ensure that the company’s creative work lives in an ecosystem of activism. WSP sees opera not just as performance, but as performance with purpose, a vibrant and vital art form that is also a champion of change. WhiteSnakeProjects.org


White Snake Projects’ 2024-25 programming is supported by a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation. The National Endowment for the Arts, the Mass Cultural Council, the Boston Cultural Council, Reopen Creative Boston Fund, administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Ditson Fund.


White Snake Projects 2024 Season Continued (subject to change)

All tickets and reservations available at WhiteSnakeProjects.org.

TALKS WITH TUNES: Boston Public Library Panel-Concert Series

Wednesday, September 4, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. @ BPL Dorchester Branch, 690 Adams Street Saturday, September 14, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. @ BPL Roxbury Branch, 149 Dudley Street Thursday, October 17, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. @ BPL East Boston Branch, 365 Bremen Street Tix: FREE. First come, first served.


As part of Boston Public Library’s “Revolutionary Music: Music for Social Change” year-long overview of how music has spurred social change in the United States, WSP presents its inaugural TALKS WITH TUNES series. Featuring discussion panels with experts alongside musical performances, TALKS WITH TUNES takes place at multiple BPL branches around Greater Boston. Topics include: Voting as Freedom, A History of Protest Songs, Recreating Fannie Lou Hamer’s World, and more.

SING OUT STRONG: Emancipated Voices

Sunday, September 15, 2024, at 3:00 p.m.

First Parish of Milton, 535 Canton Avenue, Milton, MA Tix: FREE. Reservations strongly encouraged.

“What does voting mean to you?” Composers young and old submitted their musical responses to this poignant question in a Call for Entries in 2023. Composers were selected by a panel consisting of renowned composers Carlos Carrillo and Kitty Brazelton, as well as WSP Music Director, Tianhui Ng. Representing various socio-economic, age, gender, and racial backgrounds, the chosen range from young and emerging composers to established, award- winning ones. WSP then paired the composers with local Massachusetts-based residents of all ages both young and old, representing the melting pot of heritages in the United States. Four of the writers are students at Boston International Newcomers Academy (BINcA), a public high school devoted to recently arrived immigrants. This particular September 15th concert is co- presented with Milton Community Concerts.


IS THIS AMERICA? world premiere

Friday, September 20, 2024, at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 21, 2024, at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, September 22, 2024, at 2:00 p.m.

The Strand Theatre, 543 Columbia Road, Boston, MA Tix: Tickets go on sale June 12, 2024.


Composer: Mary D. Watkins

Librettist: Mary D. Watkins & Cerise Lim Jacobs Orchestra: The Victory Players

Cast: Deborah Nansteel (Fannie Lou Hamer) Carl Dupont (Pap, James Townsend)

Ensemble singers: Jessica Tasucu, Joel Clemens, Carina DiGianfilippo, Chris Remkus, Fred VanNess, Nina Evelyn, Naila Delgado (Child Fannie)

Is This America? (2024) is a new fully-staged opera celebrating the life and legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer. Is this America? tells the story of Ms. Hamer, the great Mississippi activist who galvanized the registration of Black voters in her home state despite overwhelming odds, including death threats, beatings, and rejections by her own constituency. The title of the work is taken from the iconic speech Ms. Hamer made before the Democratic National Convention, when she petitioned the Convention to give her newly formed political party, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), seats at the Convention and to recognize the MFDP as the legitimate representative of the people of Mississippi. The lead role of Ms. Hamer will be played by Deborah Nansteel. Haitian American queer woman Pascale Florestal will stage direct. Mary D. Watkins, the 85-year-old composer of the opera, has blazed the trail for other Black women composers in the field of opera.


LET’S CELEBRATE! world premieres

Friday-Sunday, December 13-15, 2024, at 7:30 p.m.

Maso Studio at The Huntington Theatre, 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA Tix: Tickets go on sale in November 2024.


This year’s Let’s Celebrate! is the third in WSP’s annual festive opera series drawing on diverse cultural traditions to supplement traditional holiday programming. Tailored to Boston’s beautiful and diverse community of artists and opera lovers, this season’s performances feature three 20- minute operas showcasing the holiday traditions of Uzbekistan, Mexico, and Spain, composed by emerging composers. Works and performers TBA this Fall 2024.