Black Composer Makes History As The Metropolitan Opera Season Opener

Photo: Getty Images

For the first time in its 138-year history, the Metropolitan Opera in NYC will present a composition by a Black musician.

Fire Shut Up In My Bones, an opera based on the memoir of New York Times columnist Charles Blow composed by jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard, will open the Met's season on September 27.

"Of course you're filled with pride to be labeled with that," Blanchard said, per NBC News 4 New York. "But there's a certain sense of, not guilt, but sorrow, because I know I'm not the first who was qualified."

Fire will also be the first opera staged at the house in over 18 months following pandemic-related shutdowns.

In his memoir –– first published in 2014, Blow details growing up in poverty in rural Louisiana as a shy, sensitive child among four older brothers, a father who battled alcoholism and a hard-working mother who toted a gun in her purse.

"What drew me to this story was the notion of being isolated and different in your own community," Blanchard, who is a New Orleans native, said. "I knew a lot about that growing up, wanting to be a musician and walking to the bus stop on the weekends, carrying my horn and wearing glasses while the other boys were playing football in the street. That was not a popular look."

Photo: Getty Images

The Met production of Fire is being co-directed by artistic director James Robinson and Camille A. Brown, who is also the Met's first-ever Black director on the main stage.

There will be a total of 8 performances ending on October 23 before it premieres in Lyric Opera Chicago and then by the LA Opera.

To learn more about the show and purchase tickets, please click here.

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