The Met announces free simulcast of the Opening Night performance of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones in Marcus Garvey Park
For the first time, the company’s season-launching transmission will expand from Times Square to Harlem
New York, NY (September 15, 2021; Revised September 27, 2021)—The Metropolitan Opera announced today that it will present a free, live simulcast of the Opening Night performance of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones—the first opera by a Black composer ever performed by the Met—on Monday, September 27 at 6:30pm ET in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park. The performance will also be seen on multiple screens in Times Square, a tradition that returns for its 15th season. Approximately 1,700 seats will be available in Marcus Garvey Park, and 2,000 seats will be available in Times Square, all on a first-come, first-served basis. These audiences will be joining the 3,600 audience members who will be attending inside the opera house.
All guests at Marcus Garvey Park must provide proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 or a negative Covid-19 PCR test administered within 72 hours prior to entry. Masks are recommended. Free seating is available on Duffy Square and the Broadway Plazas between 43rd and 44th Streets and 46th and 47th Streets in Times Square. The participating screens in Times Square include ABC SuperSign; American Eagle Times Square; Branded Cities’ Broadway Plaza Digital; Clear Channel Spectacolor HD 126, 127, and 128; EXPRESS Times Square; Jamestown, L.P. and New Tradition. Masks are also recommended in Times Square, but neither vaccinations nor tests are required there.
“We are very pleased to welcome audiences for the Met in Marcus Garvey Park for the very first time,” said Met General Manager Peter Gelb. “Our Opening Night will be historic for the Met both in the opera house and in Harlem.”
The Marcus Garvey Park presentation is supported by The Ford Foundation.
This program is also presented in partnership with NYC Parks and Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage.
The live transmission to Times Square is made possible with the cooperation of the City of New York, with leadership support provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and additional support from Bank of America.
The simulcast is presented in partnership with the Times Square Alliance.
About Fire Shut Up in My Bones
Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones is the first work by a Black composer to be presented at the Met. Based on Charles M. Blow’s moving memoir of the same name and featuring a libretto by Kasi Lemmons, the new staging is co-directed by James Robinson and Camille A. Brown. Brown, who is also the production’s choreographer, becomes the first Black director to create a mainstage Met production. Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a stellar cast, led by Will Liverman as Charles, Angel Blue as Destiny/Loneliness/Greta, and Latonia Moore as Billie.
Fire Shut Up in My Bones tells a poignant and profound story about a young man’s journey to overcome a lifetime of trauma and hardship. The opera follows Charles through his adolescence and ultimately leads to a fateful moment: when he must decide whether to break free from his trauma and begin to rebuild his life.
Fire Shut Up in My Bones is a co-production of the Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. The production is commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. The opera premiered to great acclaim and was originally commissioned by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, co-commissioned by Jazz St. Louis. The creative team includes set designer Allen Moyer, costume designer Paul Tazewell, lighting designer Christopher Akerlind, and projection designer Greg Emetaz.
Following opening night on September 27, seven additional performances run through October 23. The performance on October 8 will be conducted by Kazem Abdullah.
Fire Shut Up in My Bones Special Events
The Met is presenting a series of talks and events surrounding the premiere of Fire Shut Up in My Bones, providing context for the opera and its important place in Met history.
Works & Process: Fire Shut Up in My Bones
Monday, September 20 at 7:30pm ET
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Peter B. Lewis Theater, 1071 Fifth Avenue
An evening of conversation and performance at the Guggenheim Museum will be moderated by Met General Manager Peter Gelb with Terence Blanchard, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, James Robinson, Charles Blow, Kasi Lemmons, Will Liverman, Angel Blue, and Latonia Moore. Guests must provide proof of vaccination again Covid-19, and masks will be required. For more information and tickets, please click here.
Virtual Panel Discussion & Performance: Fire Shut Up in My Bones
Tuesday, September 28
Presented in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Following Opening Night, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture hosts a virtual discussion and performance with members of the Fire Shut Up in My Bones cast and creative team. Further details will be announced later.
Fire Shut Up in My Bones Broadcasts in Cinema, Radio, and Online
The performance of Fire Shut Up in My Bones on Saturday, October 23, will be transmitted live to movie theaters around the globe as part of the Met’s Live in HD series.
The September 27 and October 4, 13, and 19 performances of Fire Shut Up in My Bones will be broadcast live on Met Opera Radio on Sirius XM Channel 355. Audio from the September 27 and October 19 performances will also be streamed live on the Met’s website, metopera.org. The October 23 performance will be broadcast over the Toll Brothers—Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network on Saturday, January 8, 2022, marking the network broadcast premiere of the work.
Fire Shut Up in My Bones Artist Biographies
Opening Night 2021 marks Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin third season as the Met’s Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer Music Director. Since his 2009 Met debut with Carmen, he has led more than 100 performances of 13 operas. He has served as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 2012 and artistic director and principal conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000. In 2018, he became honorary conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was music director for ten seasons, and in 2016, he was named an honorary member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Between 2008 and 2014, he was principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also led operatic performances in Baden-Baden and at the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, Covent Garden, and Salzburg Festival. Also this season at the Met, he conducts the company premieres of Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice and Verdi’s original five-act French version of Don Carlos, revivals of Tosca and Le Nozze di Figaro, and a pair of concerts with the Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
After competing in the Grand Finals concert of the Met’s National Council Auditions in 2012, American baritone Will Liverman made his company debut in 2018 as Malcom Fleet in Nico Muhly’s Marnie and returned during the 2019–20 season as Horemhab in Philip Glass’s Akhnaten and Papageno in The Magic Flute, roles that he will reprise this season. Recent performances elsewhere include Bob in Still’s Highway 1, USA at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Silvio in highlights from Pagliacci at Seattle Opera, Silvio at Opera Colorado; Pantalone in The Love for Three Oranges at Opera Philadelphia, the Pilot in Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince at Tulsa Opera, and Schaunard in La Bohème at the Santa Fe Opera, Dallas Opera, and Opera Philadelphia. Also this season, he reprises the role of Charles in Fire Shut Up in My Bones at Lyric Opera of Chicago, as well as performances with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Park Avenue Armory’s Recital Series, Florence Price’s Song to the Dark Virgin with Chicago Sinfonietta, Jonathan Dove’s Flight at the Dallas Opera, and Bernstein’s Mass as part of a 50th anniversary celebration at the Kennedy Center.
Most recently at the Met, American soprano Angel Blue starred as Bess in the company’s historic production of the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, which opened the 2019–20 season and will return this season. She made her debut with the company in 2017 as Mimì in La Bohème and returned a year later to appear as Musetta in that same opera. Elsewhere, she has also sung Mimì in Hamburg, Dresden, and at the Canadian Opera Company; the title role of Tosca in Aix-en-Provence; Violetta in La Traviata at Covent Garden, La Scala, and in Winnipeg; Bess at Seattle Opera; Liù in Turandot at San Diego Opera; and Myrtle Wilson in John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby in Dresden. Also this season, she sings Violetta in La Traviata at Covent Garden, Mimì at the Bavarian State Opera, Marguerite in Faust at the Paris Opera, and concerts with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra. Dedicated to the support of inner city youth, she is the founder of the non-profit organization Sylvia’s Kids Foundation, which offers scholarships to help American teenagers continue their studies once they have completed high school.
Houston-born soprano Latonia Moore has appeared in recent Met productions of Porgy and Bess, Aida, and Madama Butterfly. Most recently, she has sung the title role of Tosca in Rouen and at Washington National Opera and Opera Australia, Serena in Porgy and Bess at Dutch National Opera and English National Opera, the role of Aida in Buenos Aires and at the Polish National Opera and English National Opera, and Desdemona in Otello in Bergen, Norway. She has appeared at many of the United States’ leading opera companies, including Pittsburgh Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, San Diego Opera, the Dallas Opera, and New York City Opera, as well as at Covent Garden and in Dresden, Hamburg, and Bilbao. This season, she also reprises the role of Serena at the Met and sings Billie at Lyric Opera of Chicago.
With an expansive body of work, including the scores for numerous Spike Lee films and an extensive discography, 2018 USA Fellow and six-time Grammy-winning trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard has been a consistent artistic force for making powerful musical statements concerning painful American tragedies. He studied jazz at Rutgers University and was invited to play with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra in 1982. Following a string of collaborative recordings, he released his first self-titled solo album on Columbia Records in 1991. In 2015, he released his first album with his jazz quintet E-Collective, and most recently, the ensemble collaborated with the Turtle Island Quartet for a new album, Absence, that released in 2021 on the Blue Note label. He was nominated for Academy Awards for his original scores for the films BlacKkKlansman in 2019 and Da 5 Bloods in 2021. In 2013, his first opera, Champion, had its world premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and six years later, that same company premiered his Fire Shut Up in My Bones.
Kasi Lemmons began her film career as an actress, appearing in more than two dozen films and television shows, including The Silence of Lambs, Candyman, and School Days. She made her directorial debut with Eve’s Bayou in 1997, and her most recent film was 2019’s Harriet, a biopic about Harriet Tubman starring Cynthia Erivo. She received the 2008 NAACP Image Award for outstanding directing. She has worked extensively as a mentor and educator, serves on the board of Film Independent, and has contributed to the Film Independent Filmmaker Labs as a speaker and moderator. Her guest teaching and speaking credits include work with Yale University, Columbia Film School, MIT, UCLA, USC, the Los Angeles Film School, and the University of Pristina Film School in Kosovo. Currently, she is an associate arts professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She created the libretto for Terence Blanchard’s 2019 opera Fire Shut Up in My Bones, adapting a memoir by Charles M. Blow.
Since 2009, stage director James Robinson has served as artistic director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, where his productions have included Huang Ruo’s An American Soldier, Blitzstein’s Regina, the world premiere of Jack Perla’s Shalimar the Clown, the world premieres of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones and Champion, John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer, and Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath. He made his Met debut on Opening Night of the 2019–20 season with a new and acclaimed production of Porgy and Bess. His work has also appeared at the Canadian Opera Company, English National Opera, Dutch National Opera, Opera Australia, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, LA Opera, and with the London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others. Between 2000 and 2008, he was artistic director of Opera Colorado.
Celebrated choreographer Camille A. Brown made her Met debut with the 2019–20 season-opening production of Porgy and Bess. She made her Broadway debut in 2012 choreographing A Streetcar Named Desire and returned for productions of Once on this Island (for which she received Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Chita Rivera Award nominations) and Choir Boy (for which she received Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations). In 2019, she choreographed Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf at New York’s Public Theater, and next year, she will direct and choreograph a new production, making her the first Black woman to both choreograph and direct a play on Broadway. She is artistic director of Camille A. Brown and Dancers, choreographed the television special Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, and has been honored with a Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, five Princess Grace Awards, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, and Guggenheim and TED Fellowships, among other accolades.
Recipient of an OBIE Award for sustained excellence, a Distinguished Alumni Award from Pennsylvania State University, and an honorary doctorate degree from Albright College, set designer Allen Moyer has worked on numerous Broadway productions, including The Lyons, Lysistrata Jones, After Miss Julie, Grey Gardens (for which he received Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations, as well as a Henry Hewes Award), Thurgood, The Little Dog Laughed, The Constant Wife, and Twelve Angry Men. He made his Met debut with Mark Morris’s 2007 staging of Orfeo ed Euridice, and his designs for the operatic stage have also appeared at the Canadian Opera Company, English National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Washington National Opera, LA Opera, Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera, and New York City Opera, among many others. He has also designed for numerous productions Off Broadway and in regional theaters throughout the United States.
New York City–based costume designer Paul Tazewell has more than 25 Broadway productions to his credit, including Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award–winning musical Hamilton. He made his Met debut during the 2011–12 season as costume designer for Gounod’s Faust. His operatic credits include Porgy and Bess at Washington National Opera, a production that was also presented at LA Opera and San Francisco Opera, as well as Faust at English National Opera, Mark Adamo’s Little Women at the Glimmerglass Festival and New York City Opera, and Joplin’s Tremonisha at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Other Broadway credits include Ain’t Too Proud, The Color Purple, Dr. Zhivago, Memphis, Caroline, or Change, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam, Lombardi, and Magic/Bird. Revival work includes Side Show, A Streetcar Named Desire, Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls, A Raisin in the Sun, and On the Town. His feature film credits include Kasi Lemmons’s Harriet and the soon-to-be-released West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg.
Lighting designer Christopher Akerlind has nearly two dozen Broadway productions to his credit, earning Tony Awards for Indecent and The Light in the Piazza (both also winning him Drama Desk Awards) and Tony Award nominations for Rocky (for which he also received a Drama Desk Award), The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, 110 in the Shade, Awake and Sing!, and August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. For twelve years, he served as resident lighting designer at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. His operatic credits include Terence Blanchard’s Champion in Montreal, Káťa Kabanová at Scottish Opera, Roberto Devereux at LA Opera and San Francisco Opera, the world premieres of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones and Huang Ruo’s An American Soldier at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The House Without a Christmas Tree at Houston Grand Opera, Alcina at Washington National Opera, and the world premiere of Kevin Puts’s Elizabeth Cree at Opera Philadelphia.
New York City–based filmmaker Greg Emetaz has designed video and projections for the world premiere of Jimmy López’s Bel Canto at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Werther at Boston Lyric Opera, Terence Blanchard’s Champion at Washington National Opera, Il Trovatore at Minnesota Opera, and several productions for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, including the world premieres of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in my Bones, Huang Ruo’s An American Soldier, and Peter Ash’s The Golden Ticket. He has served as video director for the 2007–2010 New York City Opera VOX Showcases, the 2008–2010 NEA Opera Honors, and the 2011 NEA Jazz Masters. He is the writer and director of the horror-comedy feature Camp Wedding and the award-winning shorts Bowes Academy, Death by Omelette, and Spell Claire. He is also the director of the web series Do It Yourselfie: Songs for Millennials and numerous music videos and commercials.
For More Information
For more information about Fire Shut Up in My Bones, please click here.