Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Terence Blanchard writing new work to premiere at Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard is writing a new work to be premiered in 2019 at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

In a post Wednesday night on Facebook, Blanchard (pictured) announced that he's composing the music for a new opera based on the book Fire Shut Up In My Bones, the 2014 memoir by New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow.

The libretto for the operatic version of Blow's story will be written by Kasi Lemmons, the St. Louis native, director and actress who's known for films such as Eve's Bayou, The Caveman's Valentine, and Talk to Me.

In a Tweet on Wednesday, Blow said that the opera Fire Shut Up In My Bones is scheduled to premiere on June 15, 2019 at OTSL, and that the lead roles will be played by baritone Davone Tines (as the protagonist) and soprano Julia Bullock.

Described as "a pioneering journalist's indelible coming-of-age tale," Blow's book won considerable critical acclaim when released four years ago, with The AV Club calling it "the memoir of the year." It traces his life story from a troubled childhood in Louisiana to his current status as an internationally respected journalist.

This will be Blanchard's second collaboration with Opera Theatre St. Louis, which in 2013 premiered his first opera Champion, based on the story of professional boxer Emile Griffith.

The New Orleans native, also known for his film scoring work, has been a frequent visitor to St. Louis over the last decade. He was just here this past Saturday to play a benefit for Metro Theater Company, which this month at the Grandel Theatre is staging Bud, Not Buddy, a "concert play" for children with a score by Blanchard that's performed live on stage by a 13-piece band. The trumpeter also will play here with his band the E-Collective in May at the Grandel.

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