The Metropolitan Opera's Return to Stage Marks First Time the Performance Featured a Black Composer
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The Metropolitan Opera’s Return to Stage Marks First Time the Performance Featured a Black Composer

Fire Shut Up in My Bones (Image MET Opera)

Earlier this week, history was made at The Metropolitan Opera.

The opera returned after a nearly two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, featuring Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” which made it the first work by a Black composer in the history of The Metropolitan Opera.

According to The Associated Press, the audience of about 4,000 in the Metropolitan Opera witnessed the first stage work in the famed venue, located at Lincoln Center in New York City, since March 2020. The performance also marked the first by a Black composer in the history of the Metropolitan Opera that started back in 1883.

Another first for the presentation was the live simulcast that took place in Harlem at the Marcus Garvey Park located between 120-124th street and Fifth Avenue.

The Metropolitan Opera previously announced that a free, live simulcast of the Opening Night performance of Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” would take place at the historic Harlem park on Monday, September 27 at 6:30 pm ET.

It was also announced that the same performance would also be seen on multiple screens located in the heart of Manhattan at Times Square, which follows a tradition that has taken place for 15 seasons. There were approximately 1,700 seats that were available for the showing at Marcus Garvey Park, while 2,000 seats were available in Times Square.

For Blanchard, the 59-year-old jazz trumpeter and composer from Louisiana, this story of child molestation in segregated northern Louisiana of the 1970s premiered in 2019 at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

It was then brought to the Met as part of a co-production that will go on the road to the Lyric Opera of Chicago in March and Los Angeles Opera in a future season. There is a planned Oct. 23 matinee from the Met, which will be the last of eight performances that will be broadcast to movie theaters around the world.

This is Blanchard’s second opera after 2013′s “Champion,” about boxer Emile Griffith.


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