Strathmore and Washington Performing Arts present

Terence Blanchard
Fire Shut Up in My Bones: Opera Suite in Concert

With The E-Collective, Turtle Island Quartet & Andrew F. Scott
Featuring Justin Austin and Adrienne Danrich
Friday, April 26, 2024, 8:00 PM

Strathmore and Washington Performing Arts present
With The E-Collective, Turtle Island Quartet & Andrew F. Scott
Featuring Justin Austin and Adrienne Danrich

In September 2021, The Metropolitan Opera reopened after being closed for over a year and kicked off its season with Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones—the first work by an African-American composer in the institution’s 138 years (the work was commissioned and premiered by the Opera Theatre of St. Louis). Based on the best-selling 2014 memoir of Charles M. Blow, a journalist for The New York Times, with a libretto by Kasi Lemmons, the opera explores Blow’s struggles to transcend and overcome a cycle of violence in his life and family.

Fire Shut Up In My Bones, Blanchard’s second “opera in jazz,” is a cultural flashpoint that affirms opera and classical music as inclusive spaces. This concert production, a collaboration between Blanchard and the E-Collective, David Balakrishnan and his two-time Grammy-winning Turtle Island Quartet, and visual artist Andrew F. Scott, features excerpts from the opera performed by the composer, an ensemble, and two guest singers. Together, the music and video projections provide audiences with a deeper understanding of Blanchard’s artistic vision and the gravitational pull of the moment that he has created.

This performance is 90 minutes, no intermission.

Fire Shut Up in My Bones contains mature themes and language, including content that references incidents of sexual assault and child abuse.

This performance is co-presented with Strathmore.

Fire Shut Up In My Bones Pre-Concert Panel

Pre-Concert Talk:

The Journey of Black Classical Musicians Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Panelists will share their own stories, and explore the impact of history and culture on their lives as opera singers, librettists, composers, historians, and social advocates. By sharing their own “Bones,” panelists will discuss whether inclusive spaces exist in the worlds of opera, jazz, and classical music. Co-Presented with Strathmore and Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA).

Our Partners

This performance is made possible through the generous support of the following sponsors: Susan S. Angell, Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts, Rudy Burwell and Mona Mohib/Encompass Supply, Thomas J. Kim and John F. Olson, Kerrien Suarez, and Jenny Bilfield and Joel Phillip Friedman.

Encompass Supply Logo

Washington Performing Arts’s classical music performances this season are made possible in part through the generous support of Betsy and Robert Feinberg.

Special thanks to the following lead supporters of Washington Performing Arts’s mission-driven work: Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated; D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities; the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; and The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.


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