Charles Blow | St. Louis Public Radio

Charles Blow

Julia Bullock and Davóne Tines in "Fire Shut Up in My Bones." [6/14/19]
Eric Woolsey

Terence Blanchard knows from experience that an opera that sounds and looks different from the classic repertory can bring new audiences to an old art form.

“An elderly African American man came up to me” after a performance of Blanchard’s jazz-infused opera "Champion" in 2013, the trumpeter/bandleader recalled, “and he said: Man, if this is opera, I will come.”

With his latest magnum opus, Blanchard wants to continue changing popular perceptions about opera — particularly, what stories it can tell, and who does the telling.

“Fire Shut Up In My Bones,” based on the memoir of New York Times columnist Charles Blow, makes its world premiere Saturday at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.