Terence Blanchard’s historic debut centers Blackness on the Met Opera stage
The highly anticipated opera received rave reviews from NPR, The New York Times, and more
Terence blanchard made history at the Met. Fire shut up in my bones, a new opera focused on Blackness, has finally made its debut on the Met Opera stage.
Fire shut up in my bones, Blanchard’s new opera, premiered in 2019 at the Théâtre de Saint-Louis. While The Met commissioned the opera after its well-received debut, the original plan was not for the opera to open the season after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Managing Director of the Met, Peter Gelb, revealed that the summer of 2020 and the Black Lives Matter movement certainly had an impact on them and the show they chose to open their comeback season, NPR reports.
Through Fire shut up in my bones, Blanchard made history as the first black composer to create a Met production on the main stage – after 138 years.
It seems that not only Fire shut up in my bones historic, but it is also a critical success for the Met. NPR gave the show a glowing review, qualifying it as a “singular achievement and shared success”.
Critical Nate chinen wrote of her experience, “The audience and company bathed in this breakthrough in a touching and memorable premiere at the Met on Monday night. And what was perhaps most remarkable about the performance was the clear and calm confidence with which Blanchard and his employees carried the weight of expectations. ”
The New York Times also gave the show a rave review, making it an official “Critics’ Pick”. “” Fire “remains a fresh and touching work. You believe in these characters by watching scenes from their daily life ”, critic Anthony Tommasini written comparing it to the 2019 production.
Writing on the changing demographics of audience and talent, he said: “Enthusiastic ovations at the end greeted Blanchard, a jazz trumpeter best known for his sheet music for Spike lee cinema, and Kasi lemons, the writer, director and actress who with “Fire” becomes the first black librettist of a work interpreted by the Met in its history. It was exhilarating to see them acclaimed by an almost all-black cast, choir and dance troupe, as well as an audience including more people of color than usual at a Met opening.
Blanchard recently spoke with leGrio‘s Christina M. Greer, and he talked about the trip Fire shut up in my bones has adopted, his approach to score writing and more. Speaking of bringing his jazz experience to classical music, he insisted when speaking with Greer that they are not as far apart as you might think.
“I was taught that jazz was a logical extension of the classical world of harmony and rhythm, so I never saw them as so separate,” he explained. “The separation came from the narrow-mindedness of people who only did jazz or classical, and didn’t look the other way. But not for me. “
He added: “Writing this opera allowed me to do something that I learned years ago. My mentor, Roger, said it’s good to write for an orchestra, but maybe there are bigger things in your way. He told me that even with my background in jazz and the world of cinema, I should also think about bringing this rhythmic and harmonic concept to the world, and that’s what I do with opera.
Read the entire interview with Blanchard for leGrio, here.
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Terence Blanchard’s historic debut after Blackness at Met Opera first appeared on TheGrio.