Terence Blanchard Makes History at the Met; En Route to the Upper Valley
Fire Shut Up in My Bones
History was made on Monday at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City as it reopened for a new season with Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones. It was only the second time since 1966 that the Met had opened its season with an opera by a living composer. More significantly, this was the first opera by a Black composer staged by the Met’s in its 138 year history.
As far away as the glitz and glamor of New York City and the Met may seem, the Upper Valley has connections to this event. First and foremost, you can see the opera yourself when the Hopkins Center presents Fire Shut Up in My Bones on October 23 as part of its Met Opera in HD series. Tickets are available through the Hop Box Office.
Terence Blanchard is a composer, jazz musician, Grammy Award winner, and Academy Award nominee known in part for his scores to Spike Lee films. He will be in residence at the Hop on October 19-20. His residency will be anchored by ABSENCE: a live concert featuring his band, The E-Collective, and the Turtle Island String Quartet on October 20.
Finally, Angel Blue, soprano (photo, below) with multiple roles (including Destiny/Loneliness) in this production at the Met, was on stage this past July at Lebanon Opera House in Lebanon NH as part of Opera North’s summer season, conducting a master class with several Opera North Resident Artists. The public was invited to sit in.
Fire Shut Up in My Bones is based upon a memoir of the same name by Charles Blow, writer for The New York Times. In his recent op-ed column, he mused on what it was like to see his work and his life playing across the Metropolitan Opera stage on opening night.
Heidi Waleson, reviewing for the Wall Street Journal, set the scene by bookending audience responses to the opera’s opening and closing moments:
“Opening night of the Metropolitan Opera on Monday was a major event: The country’s largest opera company returned to the stage after 18 months. The vaccinated and masked capacity audience was thrilled just to be there, cheering when the lights went down for the orchestra to tune. And the standing ovation that erupted at the end of Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” was nearly earsplitting [and reported by the New York Times to have been 8 minutes long], a demonstration of appreciation for the Met’s first-ever opera by a Black composer.”
(Photo, top, Wikimedia Commons. Andreas Praefcke)
Welcome! You’re reading Artful, a blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley, and I hope you’ll subscribe and then share this with your friends and on your social media.
And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.