What Did Critics Think of Fire Shut Up in My Bones at The Metropolitan Opera?

The Verdict   What Did Critics Think of Fire Shut Up in My Bones at The Metropolitan Opera?
 
The September 27 opening night performance marked the first time an opera by a Black composer was presented at the New York house.
Will Liverman and the company of <i>Fire Shut Up in My Bones</i>
Will Liverman and the company of Fire Shut Up in My Bones Ken Howard/Met Opera

Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones opened September 27 at the Metropolitan Opera, marking the first time the New York company presented an opera by a Black composer in its 138-year history. The performance also marked the official start of the Met’s 2020–2021 season, after the venue remained (for the most part) dark during the 18-month coronavirus shutdown.

Featuring a libretto by Kasi Lemmons and based on the memoir by Charles M. Blow, Fire Shut Up in My Bones follows a young Black man navigating childhood trauma and hardship as he comes to understand his own identity.

Read what critics thought about the production in the reviews below.

Financial Times (John Rockwell)

The New York Times (Anthony Tommasini)

Observer (James Jorden)

OperaWire (David Salazar)

Parterre (Gabrielle Ferrari)

James Tobinson and Tony nominee Camille A. Brown co-direct the new production; the latter, who also choreographed, is the first Black director to stage a mainstage production at the house.

The cast is led by Will Liverman as Charles, Angel Blue as Destiny/Loneliness/Greta, and Latonia Moore as Billie. Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts six of the remaining seven performances running through October 23, with Kazem Abdullah taking the podium October 8.

READ: Robert O’Hara Will Direct Anthony Davis' Malcolm X Opera at The Met

The creative team includes set designer Allen Moyer, costume designer Paul Tazewell, lighting designer Christopher Akerlind, and projection designer Greg Emetaz.

The Met’s 2021–2022 roster also includes new productions of Verdi’s Don Carlos, Matthew Aucoin and Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, Brett Dean and Matthew Jocelyn’s Hamlet, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and Verdi’s Rigoletto (directed by Bartlett Sher).

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