Terence Blanchard's Fire Shut Up In My Bones

Elliott Hall of Music
Purdue University, 712 3rd Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907
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Rewind to September 2021 when the Metropolitan Opera (NYC) had been shuttered for over a year, the storied institution opened its season with the first work in its 138 year history written by an African American composer— Terence Blanchard’s new masterpiece, Fire Shut Up In My Bones. The production, remounted from the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis premiere in 2019, was experienced by 30,000 people, not to mention hundreds of thousands more around the world who watched The MET: LIVE in HD rebroadcasts. Notably, The Met restaged “Fire” again in the 2023-2024 season as a testament to its unparalleled success and achievement. 

Blanchard is already a celebrated artist with seven Grammy® Awards, two Oscar® nominations, numerous acclaimed film scores and albums, and his recent appointment as Executive Artistic Director for SFJazz, but with this work, he created a new cultural paradigm, breaking barriers along the way. Based on the 2014 memoir of the same name by The New York Times columnist, Charles M. Blow, the story is an excavation of a painful past and the desire to move beyond it. 

This “concert excerpt” version, adapted for Terence Blanchard and his band, the E-Collective, features the intrepid Turtle Island String Quartet and guest soloists, plus visuals by Andrew F. Scott. This work reveals the depths of Blanchard’s capacity to create a new musical world filled with pathos, humanity, and resilience.

Performed by Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective

Featuring Turtle Island Quartet and Special Guests Vocalists

Libretto by Kasi Lemmons

Based on the book by Charles M. Blow

Visuals by Andrew F. Scott