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In September 2021, The Metropolitan Opera reopened after being closed for over a year and kicked off its season with Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones—the first work written by an African American composer in the institution’s 138 years. Based on the best-selling 2014 memoir of Charles M. Blow, a journalist for The New York Times, with a libretto by Kasi Lemmons, the opera explores Blow’s struggles to transcend and overcome a cycle of violence.  

Fire Shut Up In My Bones, Blanchard’s second “opera in jazz,” is a cultural flashpoint that affirms opera and classical music as inclusive spaces. This concert production, a collaboration between Blanchard and the E-Collective, David Balakrishnan and his two-time Grammy-winning Turtle Island Quartet, and visual artist Andrew F. Scott, features excerpts from the opera performed by the composer, an ensemble, and two guest singers. Together, the music and video projections provide audiences with a deeper understanding of Blanchard’s artistic vision and the gravitational pull of the moment that he has created.

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