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Bright Sheng

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Madame Mao (2003),
Text Writer
Libretto by Colin Graham
G Schirmer Inc
Opera and Music Theatre
Year Composed
2 Hours 0 Minutes
SATB chorus
Solo Instrument(s)
High lyric Soprano, Mezzo soprano, 3 Baritones, 2 Sopranos, 2 Tenors, 2 Basses
Programme Note
Bright Sheng Madame Mao (2003),
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downloadable brochure
Acrobat format
Cast List:

   JIANG CHING I, Madame Mao: Dramatic Mezzo-Soprano

   JIANG CHINA II, Madame Mao in her 20s,: High Soprano
      also plays
   NORA (in Act 1)
      also sings
   In Chinese Opera scenes: MU GUIYING (in Act II)

   ZHI ZHEN, Mao's previous wife: Full Lyric Soprano
      also sings
   AN ACTRESS (in Act 1)
      also sings
   In Chinese Opera scenes: YANG PAIFENG (in Act II)

   MAO ZEDONG, Chairman of the Communist Party of China: Verdi Baritone

   THE ACTOR (see below): High Tenor
      also sings
   In Chinese Opera scenes: EMPEROR GAO (in Act II)

   ANOTHER MAN (see below)

The Accusers (8 soloists: 2 sopranos, 2 tenors, 2 baritones and 2 basses, double in many other parts, including The Committee and Victims in Act 11. They also include Another Man and The Actress) Sometimes these appear as Madame Mao's accusers as at the Trial, sometimes as bitter memories of her past.

   SATB Chorus (minimum 32)

   8 Dancers (4 men 4 women)


As the corpse of Jiang Qing, or Madame Mao, swings in the cell where she has hanged herself, we journey retrospectively through the events of a life that came to this undignified end. Rejected by her father when she was a child, Jiang Qing sees a chance to prove herself when Mao Zedong, leader of the Communist Revolutionaries, throws his wife into an asylum and takes a fancy to her. As Mao’s policies fail and he descends into a life of debauchery, Jiang Qing takes control, using the brutality of the Cultural Revolution to take revenge on those that she feels have betrayed her. In the end, Mao also rejects her and she is sent to prison where she takes her own life, in the belief that posterity will eventually vindicate her name.

View Full Score - Act II

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