Fire Shut Up in My Bones | Opera Theater St. Louis
June 15, 2019
St. Louis, Missouri
Loretto-Hilton Center
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Fire Shut Up in My Bones
June 15, 19, 21, 23, 27, and 29

As announced earlier in 2018, Fire Shut Up in My Bones will continue OTSL’s critically acclaimed New Works, Bold Voices series of new American opera, commissioned by OTSL to broaden the operatic canon. Co-commissioned with Jazz St. Louis, this opera-in-jazz by Grammy Award-winning composer Terence Blanchard (Champion, A Tale of Gods Will – A Requiem for Katrina) and screenwriter and librettist Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou, Black Nativity) is adapted from the memoir of celebrated writer and New York Times columnist Charles Blow.

A powerfully redemptive memory story, Fire Shut Up in My Bones traces the tale of young “Charles-Baby” growing up in the tiny town of Gibsland, Louisiana – where the legacy of his elders is closely felt alongside a near-constant wash of violence. The young Charles’ attachment to his mother – a fiercely driven woman – cannot protect him from secret abuse at the hands of an older cousin. Years follow of anger and searing self-questioning, until Charles faces a life-changing decision: continue the cycle of violence or chose forgiveness instead.

The cast features debuts of three of prominent American singers. Bass-baritone Davóne Tinessings the role of Charles Blow, having previously originated roles in major world premieres including Girls of the Golden West at San Francisco Opera, and has appeared at the Teatro Real de Madrid and Opéra National de Paris, among other prestigious international venues. Soprano Julia Bullock, whose operatic career began in OTSL’s Monsanto Artists-in-Trainingprogram, has enjoyed an international career at the English National Opera, the San Francisco Opera, and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Soprano Karen Slack, whose recent credits include performances at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Washington National Opera sings the role of Charles’ mother. OTSL Artistic Director James Robinson directs, and William Long makes his OTSL debut conducting.