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19 April 2011
Composer Zhou Long was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Music yesterday for his first opera, Madame White Snake.
The opera, published by Oxford University Press, is based on an ancient Chinese transformation myth, similar to a fairy tale, which tells the tale of a mythical snake that transforms into a woman.
Zhou drew on influences from his native China, and the US, where he is now a resident, to produce the work, which the Pulitzer jury described as: "a deeply expressive opera that draws on a Chinese folk tale to blend the musical traditions of the East and the West."
The opera is a four-act work, which tells the story of a powerful white snake demon that surrenders her immortality in order to take on human form and experience love.
It was commissioned by Opera Boston and premiered in February 2010 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, USA, and an expanded version was premiered on 27 October 2010 at the Century Theatre in Beijing, China, at the Beijing International Festival.
Zhou said of the opera: “I feel this is my dream as a composer. This opera, I feel, is the summation of all my works in the past – chamber music, vocal pieces, orchestral, and choral.”
Madame White Snake is published on hire by Oxford University Press.
Photo credit - Clive Grainger
Notes for Editors:
Zhou Long, 57, was born into an artistic family in Beijing but exiled to a rural farm during the Cultural Revolution, He moved to the US in 1985 and has been a citizen since 1999. He has since received acclaim for bringing together Eastern and Western influences in his work, blending Chinese folk, philosophical, and spiritual ideals with modern Western instruments and ensembles.
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