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New Terence Blanchard Opera to Premiere in 2019

"Fire Shut Up in My Bones" is based on memoir by New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow

Terence Blanchard
Terence Blanchard

Four-time Grammy-winner Terence Blanchard will soon be able to add a second opera to his long list of compositional credits. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Jazz St. Louis recently announced that they have co-commissioned Blanchard and librettist Kasi Lemmons to write Fire Shut Up in My Bones, an opera based on outspoken New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow’s 2014 memoir of the same name. The piece’s world premiere will be in St. Louis on June 15, 2019; six performances are currently scheduled.

Although Blanchard and Lemmons haven’t collaborated on an opera before, they’re used to working together. Blanchard composed the scores for three movies directed by Lemmons, including 2007’s critically acclaimed Talk to Me.

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis also commissioned Blanchard’s first opera, Champion, which premiered in 2013. The Chicago Tribune described it as “a champ in its own right…a new work of quality and staying power, one that deserves to be taken up by other opera producers far and wide.”

Tickets for Fire Shut Up in My Bones go on sale in November. For more information, visit Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ website.


Terence Blanchard looks back on his prolific career so far in an exclusive JazzTimes interview.

Originally Published