The Metropolitan Opera is about to make history.
According to The New York Times, the Met will host its first opera by a Black composer in its 136-year history. The opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, is composed by jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard. The opera is based on New York Times opinion columnist Charles Blow’s memoir of the same name. The opera’s libretto was written by writer/director Kasi Lemmons.
Blanchard told The New York Times about his family connection to opera.
“I wish my father was alive,” he said. “He was an avid opera fanatic.”
This won’t be the Met’s only opera this year focusing on the African-American experience. The opera season will begin Monday with a new production of Porgy and Bess. What makes Porgy and Bess different than Fire Shut Up in My Bones is that the former was created by George and Ira Gershwin, based on the 1925 novel by DuBose Heyward, all white men. Coincidentally, the director of this new production of Porgy and Bess is James Robinson, the same person who directed the premiere of Fire Shut Up in My Bones at the Opera Theater of St. Louis in June.
The Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, called Blanchard “a brilliant composer” and hopes that “there will be many more African-American composers whose work we feature.”
Photo: PIERRE MICHEL JEAN/AFP/Getty Images
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