Art Talk: How Do You Revive an Ancient Story?

Why We Recommend it

Meet the creative team behind Madame White Snake, the modern, Western-influenced retelling of the Legend of White Snake, and discover the creative process behind the opera’s visual effects.




One of China’s Four Great Folktales, The Legend of the White Snake has been adapted into countless operas, films and television dramas.  Madame White Snake, which will be staged at the 47 edition of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, is one of these retellings.

In this special companion talk to the performance, Madam White Snake‘s composer Zhou Long, creator and librettist Cerise Jacobs and theatrical designer and stage director Michael Count, will shed light on the production’s poetic stage design, timeless costumes and combination of Chinese and Western musical elements.

Zhou won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for his first opera, Madame White Snake, and later received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award and the 2012-2013 Elise Stoeger Prize from Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society. He is currently is the Bonfils Distinguished Research Professor of Composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.

Jacobs is the founder of White Snake Projects, a company which commissions, develops and produces original operas with the great production and social activism values. She had written the libretti for The Ouroboros Trilogy and the 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning Madame White Snake by Zhou. Jacobs was named a 2017 Mover & Shaper by Musical America, an award given to music professionals for driving the performing arts towards a future shaped by their vision, and one of Boston’s 100 Most Influential People of Color in 2018.

Count is a theatrical designer and stage director, visual artist and media and entertainment entrepreneur who focuses on creating large-scale immersive installations, theatrical productions and innovative media and entertainment experiences. Dubbed a “mad genius” by The New York Times, he is “one of the most fertile imaginations working in New York City, today” by Time Out New York. Two of his recent productions (Moses in Egypt with New York City Opera and Philharmonic 360 with the New York Philharmonic) were listed on the New York Times Top 10 Lists for 2011 and 2013.

Please note that although this is a free event, registration is required on the day of the talk.


When: 4 Mar 2019 - 4 Mar 2019 Where: Asia Society Hong Kong Center – 9 Justice Drive – Admiralty