Good news and bad news at the Metropolitan Opera.
First the bad news: they’ve cancelled the season right through May 2021. No opera. Nothing. Just the streaming old performances. The reason is the pandemic, and how to bring people into the Opera House and on stage without contaminating everyone.
Now, the good news: when they return in September 2021, the Met will stage its first opera by a black composer, Terence Blanchard with a libretto by famed black director Kasi Lemmons. It’s called “Fire Shut Up in My Bones.” Blanchard is such a beloved, respected, and popular composer, this is really great news. The directors are James Robinson and Camille A. Brown. Brown, the Met’s first black director, is also the choreographer.
The Met is really getting into diversity in a big way. (Yes, it’s the year 2020, can you believe this just happening now?) They’ve named three black composers—Valerie Coleman, Jessie Montgomery, and Joel Thompson—to the Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater New Works commissioning program, and also announced the commission of the noted African American visual artist Rashid Johnson to create large-scale artworks that will be on display inside the opera house during the 2021–22 season.
Now that the Met has done this, what about Broadway? I’d say this is a bad sign for Broadway shows hoping to re-open next spring.