New age opera is hailed as a revolutionary achievement of color and culture.
It’s about a young man’s struggle to overcome the angst and poverty of rural Louisiana and forge his own path.
“Fire Shut Up in My Bones” is based on the memoir of famed journalist Charles Blow.
Grammy-winning jazz artist and composer Terence Blanchard created the opera.
“When we put this production on for the Metropolitan Opera and found out it would also be presented at the Lyric, I was absolutely thrilled, it’s a dream come true for me,” said co-director James Robinson. . “I was just talking to Terence and he’s so blown away by the theater and the orchestra here.”
Blanchard mixes opera and gospel and there is even a jazz combo.
“We have to go back to our roots and bring the music of what we experienced in childhood, integrate it into music and integrate it into opera,” said conductor Daniela Candillari. “It’s incredibly exciting to be a composer, to be a conductor and a director and a singer because we can create so many new pieces that expand our musical language, that don’t replicate what happened in the past.”
The opera’s associate choreographer, Jay Staten, starred in the New York production.
“Being able to play someone I know inside out, being able to step into a culture that I know inside out, it made me feel strong,” Staten said.
“Fire Shut Up in My Bones” made history in the fall as the black composer’s first opera to open the Met Opera season.
“If you know the story of ‘Fire Shut Up in My Bones’ – it’s something that happened in 9 million black families, including mine,” Staten said. “Everything is black, all the singers are black, it was a problem at the Met because it had never been done, a place where years ago black people weren’t even allowed on stage.
It’s something Staten said he likes the most about opera.
“I love that it’s shamelessly noir. It’s beautiful opera, everyone should see it, everyone should hear it,” Staten said.
“Fire Shut Up in My Bones” opens next week on March 24 and plays at Lyric Opera until April 8.
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