Birthday Gift Turns Into Fully Staged Opera
Cerise Lim Jacobs, former Goodwin trial lawyer (1981-2002), has found herself a bit of a celebrity lately. The opera she has written, Madame White Snake, made its world premiere in Boston, February 26 through March 2, at the Cutler Majestic Theatre. After the debut in Boston, Madame White Snake is headed to China where it will be performed at the Beijing Music Festival in October.
The opera, a cross cultural drama of passion and transformation, was inspired by an ancient Chinese myth. It tells the story of a powerful white snake demon that desires to experience human love, so it transforms into a beautiful woman in order to marry. The snake's deception is eventually discovered and, as can be imagined, trouble ensues.
Cerise, who has no background in writing for the operatic stage, began writing a single aria for her opera-loving husband, Charles, as a birthday gift. Cerise says that the aria quickly began to take on a life of its own once she had the concept of using the myth of the white snake.
After conceiving and writing Madame White Snake, Cerise collaborated with Opera Boston music director Gil Rose, and composer Zhou Long, a native of China who is known for his work in combining Chinese idioms and instrumentation with western-style compositions. Madame White Snake stars soprano Ying Huang and male soprano Michael Maniaci. The production is staged by the internationally renowned director, Robert Woodruff, former artistic director of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge.
As a retired trial lawyer, Cerise has no background in writing operas, but as she told the Brookline TAB, she has always had a preoccupation with words. She elaborated by saying, "[I]n many ways being a lawyer is just a different kind of art, writing about complex things in a concise way in order to communicate them."
We congratulate Cerise and wish her tremendous success with her opera.