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With Opera skips this season, 1st Black composer opens ’21 -22

ByReiss Bowler

Sep 23, 2020

NEW YORK (AP) – The Metropolitan Opera will skip an entire season for the first time in its nearly 140-year history and plans to return from the pandemic layoff in September with the company’s first presentation of a black composer, Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones. “

This season was set to begin this week, but the company announced on June 1 that it had rescheduled its opening night to December 31. A total of 218 performances from 23 operas were lost, bringing the total number of cancellations to 276 since the 2019-2020 season was cut. shortly through the new corona virus on March 12. The orchestra’s international tour in June was also wiped out.

General Manager Peter Gelb said additional losses estimated at $ 54 million will increase the total for the company to $ 154 million since the pandemic began. “I think all the performing arts in New York are in this together,” he said.

“Fire Shut Up in My Bones”, a jazz work that premiered at the Saint Louis Opera Theater in June 2019, will open on September 27, 2021 and will start a season that will run until June 11, 2022 and will include six new productions.

“In the middle of this hiatus, we’ve had tragedies, not just with the COVID deaths, but obviously with the police brutality and everything that’s going on, and it’s given us time to sit back and think,” the 62 -year-old- said old Blanchard Tuesday from his childhood home in New Orleans. “And a lot of people are really starting to come to terms with problems they avoid or problems they don’t have time for. A lot of people are really starting to open their eyes to some things.

“This is a telling moment in our country when we have all these institutions trying to raise awareness and try to move the needle, and of course it will really come down to legislation and see what happens there.”

The Met will also be showcasing three new contemporary works in a season for the first time since 1928-29, including “Eurydice” by Matthew Aucoin, which debuted at the LA Opera in February; and Brett Dean’s “Hamlet”, which premiered at the UK’s Glyndebourne Festival in June 2017.

“Fire Shut Up in My Bones” features a libretto by Kasi Lemmons based on a memoir by The New York Times columnist Charles Blow with themes such as molestation and sexual identity.

“Fire Shut Up in My Bones” will star Angel Blue, Latonia Moore and Will Liverman and will be led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who would begin his first fully planned season as Met music director in 2020-21. James Robinson and Camille A. Brown directly.

“The earliest we thought we could plan it was on the 23-24 season,” said Gelb. “Given the tremendous upheaval and social change currently taking place in America, it seemed perfectly appropriate that when we come back after missing an entire season, we open with this opera.”

The Met also added three black composers, Valerie Coleman, Jessie Montgomery and Joel Thompson, to its commissioning program with Lincoln Center Theater and hired Rashid Johnson, a black American visual artist, to create large-scale works of art that could be in the house by 2021. on display. -22 season.

Tickets for 2021-22 go on sale on October 12, and Gelb hopes that from 2020-21 people will roll over their tickets instead of seeking a refund. He also hopes for early negotiations to revise contracts that expire next summer with The American Guild of Musical Artists, representing the chorus, and Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, representing the orchestra.

The Met plans to shorten some of its presentations upon return and begin more gigs at 7pm

“We can’t act again until the pandemic is over with a widely available vaccine and herd immunity achieved, and even then the public is slowly coming back,” Gelb said. “One of the things we need to look out for in the future is some way with our union workers, new economic arrangements that the company can afford in the future.”

“Eurydice” plays Erin Morley in a Mary Zimmerman staging conducted by Nézet-Séguin that opens November 23, 2021. In “Hamlet”, Allan Clayton, Brenda Rae and Rod Gilfry play a staging of Neil Armfield that opens on May 13, 2022.

Nézet-Séguin will conduct five productions, including the Met premiere of the French version in five acts of Verdi’s “Don Carlos” in a David McVicar staging with Günther Groissböck and Sonya Yoncheva opening February 28, 2022.

Bart Sher’s staging of Verdi’s “Rigoletto”, which opened in Berlin in June 2019, begins December 31, 2021 with Quinn Kelsey. A Simon Stone staging of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” begins April 23, 2022, with Nadine Sierra and Javier Camarena. A Verdi Requiem marks the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

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