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Ouroboros Trilogy: Madame White Snake

Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre

219 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

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Choirs: Premier Choir
Status: Public

Ouroboros is a three-part exploration of life, death and rebirth, as symbolized by the ancient Greek icon of a serpent eating its own tail. The trilogy, produced by Beth Morrison Projects and The Friends of Madame White Snake, will be presented in Boston in the fall of 2016, both as individual operas and as seven hour full-day events. The production will bring together an acclaimed artistic team, including conductors Carolyn Kuan, Julian Wachner, and Lan Shui, and composers Zhou Long, Paola Prestini, and Scott Wheeler. Many extraordinary Boston music institutions such as The New England Conservatory of Music, The Boston Children’s Chorus, Arts Emerson, The Boston Children’s Museum and the Celebrity Series of Boston are participating in the project.

Madame White Snake, co-commissioned by Opera Boston and the Beijing Music Festival, premiered in 2010 at Opera Boston and was brought to Beijing by Beth Morrison Projects for its Asian premiere at the Beijing Music Festival. Madame White Snake went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2011. The story is about the white snake demon who longs to become human to experience love. 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 for who she is.  The Abbot sows the seeds of doubt in Xu Xian's mind and gives him a "truth potion" which re-transforms Madame White into a snake.  The abbot spirits Xu Xian away and the White Snake Raises the waters to drown the Abbot to get him back.  A great flood engulfs the world as she is defeated by the Abbot after giving birth to a son.

Conceived by Charles and Cerise Jacobs
Directed by Michael Counts
Composed by Zhou Long
Conducted by Lan Shui

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