As the Metropolitan Opera kicks off its 2021–2022 season following the 18-month coronavirus shutdown, an annual—and, as it turns out, relatively COVID-safe—tradition will return: live, outdoor broadcasts of the opening night performance.
The September 27 opening night performance of Fire Shut Up in My Bones—which marks both the Met’s first mainstage production since the coronavirus pandemic and the Met’s first opera by a Black composer—will stream live on screens in Times Square and, as another first, in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park. Seating across the two spaces, available on a first-come, first-served basis for the 6:30 PM ET performance, will more than double the actual house’s 3,600-seat capacity.
Proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of entry will be required in Harlem (though not in Times Square). Masks are recommended in both locations.
Featuring a libretto by Kasi Lemmons and based on the memoir by Charles M. Blow, Fire Shut Up in My Bones follows a young Black man navigating childhood trauma and hardship as he comes to understand his own identity.
Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the opening night production, which is co-directed by James Tobinson and Tony nominee Camille A. Brown; the latter, who also choreographed, is the first Black director to stage a mainstage production at the house. The cast is led by Will Liverman as Charles, Angel Blue as Destiny/Loneliness/Greta, and Latonia Moore as Billie.
Following the opening, seven additional performances will play through October 23—that final show will be broadcast worldwide as part of the Met’s Live in HD series.
Audiences have already been welcomed back to the hall earlier this month, as Nézet-Séguin led the orchestra, chorus, and a quartet of soloists in a performance of Verdi’s Requiem in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. That event was broadcast live on PBS, while an audio stream played live out on the Lincoln Center Plaza.