*“It’s groundbreaking…like Porky & Bess was,” said Soprano opera singer Cheryl Warfield about her role in the Terence Blanchard opera based on the life of New York journalist Charles M. Blow titled “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” to premiere at the Lyric Opera House of Chicago March 25 – April 8, 2022. “Being specifically about Black people like ‘Porky & Bess’ which was by a New York Jewish composer.”
Five-time Grammy-winning and two-time Academy Award nominee Terence Blanchard, a Jazz trumpeter, pianist/keyboardist and composer, stars in the opera along with Kasi Lemmons (Director of Harriet and Eve’s Bayou). The musical takes the audience on a journey through the life of Charles Blow, his life as a youth in Louisiana dealing with a traumatic experience. Daniela Candillari is the conductor.
“This is my first venture back to doing Union work since the pandemic,” Cheryl said about her role in the ensemble. “It (the opera) has so many different elements of the Black experience. It presents Jazz, Classical….music. It’s an honor to be in an opera composed by a Black person. Black composers are starting to get recognized. We’ve had them for over 125 years.”
MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: WE REMEMBER: ‘Good Times’ Actor Johnny Brown Dies at 84 | VIDEO
The Terence Blanchard opera first premiered in St. Louis two years ago and a representative from both the Metropolitan Opera House and the Lyric Opera House of Chicago was in attendance. They liked the Opera and decided to present it at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago.
“The production has 70 people that are high-level performers. They are all union artists in this production,” Warfield informed me. “It has a positive ending. The message is that once he is able to come to terms (with what happened to him as a youth) and write about it, it’s cathartic.”
“Fire Shut Up in My Bones” also stars Will Livermen (baritone) as Charles Blow; Latonia Moore (soprano); Jacqueline Echols (soprano); Chauncey Packer (tenor), and Chris Kenney (baritone).
Cheryl Warfield’s excitement about the opera is heard in her voice, “It’s a glorious operatic piece of work…a powerful story. I was not a part of the production at the Met, though the Met and the Lyric Opera House of Chicago are co-producers of this opera. It will be live-streamed at 42nd Street so people can watch the opening night. They did that so Black people can see it for free. It will be also streamed live at the Marcus Garvey Park. Opera has never been opened up to the Black community before.”
She said though her role is in the ensemble (chorus) performing in any of the major opera houses, such as the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the Lyric Opera House in Chicago, or the San Francisco Opera House, “you’ve reach the epitome of opera in the United States.”
Terence Blanchard, who also has 14 Grammy nominations, has collaboration with Spike Lee in Blackkklansman (2018) and Da 5 blood (2020) which put more spotlight on his skills, which he first showcased as a member of Lionel Hampton Orchestra in 1982. He has composed over 40 film scores and performed as a musician on over 50 scores. He also served as artistic director for Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and the Henry Mancini Institute at the University of Miami. www.LyricOpera.org www.TerenceBlanchard.com www.MetOpera.org
SYNDICATED COLUMN: Dr. Eunice Moseley has an estimated weekly readership of over one million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations and Business Management Strategist & Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 23rd year. Next events are coming to Baltimore Saturday April 16, 2022 via Zoom Conferencing and Los Angeles Saturday, November 5, 2022 via Zoom Video Conferencing. The ULMII event is a free entertainment conference offering a Professional Panel Q&A Session, a Professional Talent Showcase and a National Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $17,000 valued in prizes/product/services. Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email info@ThePulseofEntertainment.com.