Terence Blanchard on Making Metropolitan Opera History With ‘Fire Shut Up in My Bones’

Terence Blanchard received a seven-minute standing ovation after the opening night performance of “Fire Shut Up In My Bones,” marking his becoming the first Black composer to step onto the stage of New York City’s Metropolitan Opera house.

Often known for his score work on Spike Lee films, or his solo endeavors as a jazz trumpeter and musician, Blanchard worked on the stage adaptation of a memoir by Charles M. Blow. Due to the COVID shutdown, the Met didn’t operate for 18 months, but returned with Blanchard’s opera front and center.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” Blanchard says after that historical event. “The rehearsal process was magical because everyone came prepared ready to go. There were all these great forces involved.” Among the artists involved were: Camille A. Brown who co-directed the Met production with James Robinson, set designer Allen Moyer and Yannick Nézet-Séguin who served as music director and conductor. Kasi Lemmons worked on the libretto.

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