Cheryl Warfield sings in Blanchard’s opera

Soprano opera singer Cheryl Warfield will perform in the set of Chicago’s Terence Blanchard Lyric Opera production of ‘Fire Shut Up in My Bones’.

* “It’s groundbreaking…as Porky & Bess was,” said opera singer Soprano Cheryl Warfield on his role in the Terence Blanchard opera based on the life of New York journalist Charles M. Blow titled “The fire locked in my bones” will premiere at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago from March 25 to April 8, 2022. “Being specifically about black people like ‘Porky & Bess’ which was by a New York Jewish composer.”

Five-time Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominee, jazz trumpeter, pianist/keyboardist and composer Terence Blanchard stars in the opera alongside Kasi Lemmons (director of Harriet and Eve’s Bayou). The musical takes audiences on a journey through the life of Charles Blow, his early life in Louisiana facing a traumatic experience. Daniela Candillari is the conductor.

“This is my first attempt at returning to union work since the pandemic,” Cheryl said of her role on the set. “It (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 beginning to be recognized. We’ve had them for over 125 years.

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Terence Blanchard’s opera premiered in St. Louis two years ago and a representative from the Metropolitan Opera House and Chicago’s Lyric Opera House was in attendance. They liked the opera and decided to present it at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago.

“The production has 70 people who are top artists. They’re all union artists in this production,” Warfield informed me. “It has a positive ending. The message is that once he’s able to come to terms with (what happened to him in his 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 enthusiasm for opera can be heard in her voice: “It’s a glorious work of opera…a powerful story. I did not participate in the production of the Met, although the Met and the Lyric Opera House of Chicago are co-producers of this opera. It will be broadcast live at 42n/a Street so people can attend the opening night. They did it so black people could see it for free. It will also be broadcast live at Marcus Garvey Park. The opera has never been open to the black community before.

She said that although her role is in the ensemble (chorus) performing at one of the great opera houses, such as the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the Lyric Opera House in Chicago or the San Francisco Opera House, ” you have reached the epitome of opera in the United States.

Terence Blanchard, who also has 14 Grammy nominations, collaborated with Spike Lee in Blackkklansman (2018) and Da 5 blood (2020) which further highlight his skills, which he first showcased as a member of Lionel Hampton Orchestra in 1982. He has composed more than 40 film scores and played as a musician on more than 50 scores. He was also artistic director of the 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 Mosley has an estimated weekly readership of over one million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a strategist and consultant in public relations and business management at Freelance Associates, and is director of promotions (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is in its 23rd year. The next events are coming Baltimore Saturday April 16, 2022 via Zoom conference and Los Angeles Saturday, November 5, 2022 via Zoom video conferencing. The ULMII event is a free entertainment conference featuring a Q&A with a professional panel, a professional talent showcase and a national talent competition (voice, songwriting, dance and acting) where budding artists have the chance to receive over $17,000 in prices/products/services. Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or RSVP for Zoom Access email [email protected]

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