Cerise Lim Jacobs is the founder of White Snake Projects, a company which commissions, develops and produces original opera of the highest production values. She creates new American opera from her chequered past in multicultural Singapore and her sojourns around the world. Her original libretti are inspired by the myths that live in our imaginations and the excitement of current events and people she encounters.
Cerise was born in colonial Singapore under British rule into a traditional Chinese family. She grew up absorbing the disparate influences of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western cultures, and the world religions of Christianity (indeed, she was educated by American Methodist missionaries), Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. During the turbulence following Singapore’s independence from Great Britain and its secession from Malaysia, when fear of the “yellow peril” was rampant in Southeast Asia, her family managed to emigrate to Australia, despite its “White Australia” Policy. She dropped out of school at the age of nineteen to follow her heart, and began a sojourn that took her from Melbourne to Oxford, England; East Lansing, Michigan; Vancouver; and Pittsburgh, until she finally settled in Boston, Massachusetts.
Cerise graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, summa cum laude and from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude. She spent 20 years practicing law, including serving as a trial partner at Goodwin Procter LLP, one of the largest law firms in New England, where she specialized in criminal defense and patent litigation. She also served for five years as a federal prosecutor at the US Attorney’s Office in Boston as part of her commitment to public service. She was sworn in as a citizen simultaneously with being sworn in as an Assistant United States Attorney, one of the proudest moments of her life. Cerise is a lifelong student of living creatively as a means of achieving success across many disciplines.
Since retiring from law, she has returned to her creative voice in opera, music, art, and food. She is the President of the Charles and Cerise Jacobs Charitable Foundation and has endowed the Charles M. Jacobs Fund for Equal Rights and Social Engagement at the University of Chicago Law School and College. Cerise has been 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.
A recommended piece to check out is critically acclaimed opera "I Am A Dreamer Who No Longer Dreams." We recently conducted a forum called "Immigration: Dreaming of a Real Future" where we discuss of being immigrants, documented and undocumented, in America. Listen to the Immigration and Democracy where we discuss the power of opera in activism.