By AFRO Staff
Terence Blanchard will make history when the Metropolitan Opera premieres his composition Fire Shut Up in My Bones during its upcoming season.
“I wish my father was alive,” Blanchard told The New York Times of the honor. <https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/arts/music/metropolitan-opera-black-composers-terence-blanchard.html?auth=login-email&login=email> “He was an avid opera fanatic.”
The Grammy Award-winning jazz artist based his piece on a memoir written by New York Time columnist Charles Blow.
Terence Blanchard holds the improvised jazz solo award for “Dancin’ 4 Chicken,” backstage at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
“There is a level of you never really know yourself until you write about yourself,” Blow said to The St. Louis American <http://www.stlamerican.com/entertainment/living_it/charles-blow-discusses-book-that-inspired-upcoming-otsl-world-premiere/article_0446dca2-720b-11e9-873c-fb81b15f166e.html>. He added, “One thing I’ve learned as a journalist is that if you tell your own story, then it belongs to you.”
Blanchard’s theatrical take on Blow’s memoir debuted at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in June.
Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, said the company was excited about Blanchard’s work and the diversity it would bring to the 136-year Met.
“He’s a brilliant composer,” Gelb told the Times.
A Louisiana native, Blanchard has garnered acclaim for his work in film. He has worked on the soundtrack for Spike Lee films including Mo’ Better Blues, Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, BlacKkKlansman, Inside Man and When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.
Gelb said Blanchard’s work would likely grace the Met stage during the 2021-22 season, but he hopes it would be the first of many.
“Hopefully,” Mr. Gelb said, “there will be many more African-American composers whose work we feature.’’